Sling Swimbaits for Fall Fishing Success
Oct 18th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Oct 18th, 2022 at 3:22 PM
By: Dr. Jason A. Halfen
Mobile, horizontal presentations will put you in contact with the gamefish that prowl these shallow bays. Rather than adopting a species-specific approach – spinnerbaits for bass, bucktails for muskies, jerkbaits for walleyes – I recommend slinging baits with near-universal appeal: swimbaits. Outstanding imitations of the baitfish that predators and currently focused on, swimbaits can be fished fast or slow, with an exposed hook or weedless, on a straight retrieve or with a rhythmic jigging motion. Indeed, presenting ultra-versatile swimbaits will connect you with an abundance of success in shallow water.
The Slow-Roll Shiner from LIVETARGET is the fall angler’s ultimate swimbait weapon. Engineered with LIVETARGET’s exclusive Injected Core Technology, the Slow-Roll Shiner boasts an incredibly realistic inner core, perfectly matching the appearance of a thin-profiled shiner minnow. These artisan-level details are protected by a robust, transparent Exo-Skin, which generates a hard-thumping action that moves the entire body. The result is a dynamic, life-like lure whose profile, color, flash, and action is unmatched by any other soft plastic swimbait. The 4” Slow-Roll Shiner is an outstanding multi-predator choice. During extreme cold fronts, consider downsizing to the 3” size, and upsize to 5” when warm southerly winds drive fish into a feeding frenzy.
As leaves turn colors and fall from the trees and water temperatures cool, our favorite predator fish return from their deep summer haunts to relatively shallow water with one item on their agendas: to feed – and feed heavily. In anticipation of a long, cold, and in many places, ice-capped winter when prey may be scarce, game fish pack on the pounds in the fall as a critical survival behavior. As anglers, we can tap into this bounty and enjoy some of the best fishing of the year before wind-driven snow drives us from our favorite lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.
Whenever I visit a new lake in the fall, the first places I look for consistent action are shallow bays off the main lake. These areas are often heavily vegetated during the warm summer months, serving as something of a nursery for that lake’s baitfish and panfish population. As surface water temperatures trend inexorably downward during the fall, the summer’s lush weed growth stops growing and then begins to die back. Forage fish that found ample shelter in these bays during the summer now find themselves vulnerable and exposed. Once predator fish stumble upon this bountiful baitfish buffet, there is no reason to leave – until water temperatures become too cold to hold them.
In relatively clean water with little remnant weedgrowth, rig the Slow-Roll Shiner on a jighead with an exposed, wide-gap hook to enhance your hooking percentages. A ¼ oz jig is a good choice in water that is 5 to 6 feet deep, increasing to ⅜ oz for deeper portions of the bay down to 10 to 12 feet deep. If green weeds persist later into the fall, weedless rigging using a KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Hook and a ¼ oz, pegged bullet sinker. I present the Slow-Roll Shiner using spinning tackle, anchored by a 7’2” BLF Instinct spinning rod with Medium power and Fast action. Rig the rod with a 2500-series spinning reel loaded with 20-pound-test DOMIN8 braid from TUF-LINE. Add a 2-foot section of 12-pound-test TUF-LINE Fluorocarbon XS leader, and you’re ready to pursue fall predators with swimbaits.
Fall’s swimbait bounty is fleeting. Enjoy this incredible bite while it lasts; we’ll be drilling holes through the ice soon enough!