Plastics are the way to go in fall.
No doubt fall is one of the best times to fish in Florida. Since Florida doesn't really have seasons, you can tell by the fishing when fall is here. Everything bites! The fishing goes off the charts in every aspect in the fall, whether you're fishing inshore, offshore or freshwater. This is prime-time to catch more fish on plastic baits, but this only works if you have the right plastic baits. Plastic baits are the most diverse of all artificial lures made. But why does fall become so great for fishing in Florida?
Fall snook caught on plastic.
For one, the daylight is shorter and the sweltering summer air temperatures start coming down. This means the water temperatures come down from the high 80's and 90's to the magical 70's. And that is the magic number for any fishing anywhere, for anything, at anyplace. Temperatures in the 70's means from about 70 degrees to 79 degrees. That range of numbers is perfect for the various species of fish that become super-active and hungry in this weather. What that temperature range brings is not just cooler water, but higher oxygenated water, clearer water and large migrating schools.
Top Plastic Baits for Saltwater in FallSnook hunt and track their prey better then most fish using their lateral line. Snook are also a superior feeding fish which means the majority of the time they are eating baits from the middle water column to the top of the water column. Snook at this time of the year will be hanging around many flats just outside river mouths, creeks and canals. They are mean and hungry. A soft plastic bait that puts out a sonic vibration, has some size to it and has an action that gets snooks attention is the Mr. Wifflelure. The 4-inch in Pearl White is the way to go. Work the bait in and around these flats at different speeds utilizing the Mr. Wifflelure sonic tail.
Redfish hunt and track their prey better than most fish using their nose to smell and root around on flats, oyster bars and mangroves. Redfish are an inferior feeding fish which means they spend the majority of their time eating down around the bottom and definitely in, on and around oyster bars. Oyster bars are a big key component at this time of the year.
A plastic bait that you can throw right on top of an oyster bar or into the mangrove roots without getting hung up and twitching it off into the deeper sand edges around it is a Bass Assassin 5-inch Saltwater Shad in the color called Drunk Monkey. The color is perfect for that type of environment because this bait can be worked really slow. Be sure you change the cadence of the bait until you start getting strikes. So twitch, twitch, twitch then pause. After seven minutes of this cadence change it to one twitch and pause even longer. Obviously if you catch a fish on one of the retrieves repeat it.
Fall Redfish are a blast on plastic.
Trout hunt and track their food by roaming the grass flats using their eyesight and slashing ability to eat. Trout are a terminal feeding fish, yet they possess some of the superior feeding fish qualities, such as taking a surface bait. One effective way to catch trout on the grass flats is using the DOA Deadly Combo. This lure has a 3-inch shrimp attached under a float or popping cork. I like to use the popping cork for trout. The popping of the cork gets the trout's attention, after which he sees the shrimp slowing down throughout the water column. You can even switch the shrimp to another plastic bait if you like. When I do switch, I like the DOA Paddle Tail for its slow figure-eight type falling action. As far as colors, in clear water I like light natural colors such as Holographic Glitter and in darker waters I like darker colors such as Root Beer Gold Glitter.
Trout ain't too bad either.
Freshwater Plastics for FallBass is the one fish that more plastic baits are made for then any other species of fish, whether freshwater or saltwater. Open any freshwater tackle box and you're sure to find a few bags of Senkos by Gary Yamamoto. If you don't, then that angler most be crazy - that's how good those baits are! It does not matter what lake or body of water you fish. The Yamamoto Senko works in all of them.
There are so many ways you can fish the Senko, and there is really no wrong way to hook it. It works wherever you place the hook, giving it all different kinds of action. Starting with a 4-inch or 5-inch Senko in Dirty Plum or Junebug Purple/Emerald Flake is a no brainer in Florida. They work in all seasons, whether the bass are on the beds in shallow water during the spring, or feeding on shad in the fall and deep water in summer and winter. You can Texas-rig the bait with no weight when fishing shallow in the spring, or add a small bullet weight to get it deep during summer and winter and wacky rig it during the fall shad feed. Use a 4-inch or a 5-inch Senko, or a 4/0 or 5/0 wide-gap worm hook that has enough length to put the hook point into the smooth section of the bait (called the egg sack). The Yamamoto baits have salt which enhance the flavor of the bait so fish hold onto, which makes for much easier hook sets.
And there's always bass…
Every angler should have an assortment of plastic baits with them in the fall. They should consist of a variety that covers the entire water column -- bottom, middle and top. The baits should have different actions like jerk baits, curly tails, shad or paddle tails, grub tails etc. They should have colors that are both light natural colors and dark natural colors and of course some totally off the wall colors. You just never know.