Beyond the Swimbait: How Jimmy Reese Approaches Clear Lake for Late Fall Bass

The fall of each year is a time of transition on any body of water in the country and Clear Lake is no exception. With the fish on the move, FLW Tour pro Jimmy Reese says fishing the lake this time of year requires an approach to target shallow, deep and suspended bass.

 Early Fall Can be Finicky at Clear Lake

 “The bite has been really good over the past few years, but traditionally early September is some of the toughest fishing of the year for Clear Lake. It gets better and better each week and the bite becomes really good as the water cools down,” says Reese who adds that the large shad population has produced excellent fishing this year on the lake.

READ RELATED: 19-Pound Largemouth Caught with a Yamamoto Hula Grub on a Jig Shatters Lake Record

Fall Turnover at Clear Lake

The fall turnover can last anywhere between seven to 10 days according to Reese and will often affect different sections of the lake at different times.

“Staying on top of it and being quick to adjust and make a move to other areas of the lake is crucial this time of year,” he says.

Fishing the Grass for Fall Bass

Fall fishing can be excellent in the grass if you can find it. Higher water, more shad and less light penetration makes the quality grass few and far between.

“There are several factors for the lack of grass, but if you can find the deeper grass that is six or eight-feet deep when the sun is high, you can punch with a 1-ounce weight, 5/0 flipping hook at a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog (rigging vid)  and catch them,” he shares.

Top Techniques For Clear Lake Bass in Fall

Reese says the fall transition has the bass on Clear Lake shallow, deep and suspended. He has a plan of attack for all three; a jig in the shallows, a Yamamoto D-Shad (rigging vid)  for suspended fish and a finesse approach for deeper water.

Clear Lake's Shallow Bite For Fall Bass

“This time of year there can be a really good shallow bite in the morning. You can do it all day long, but in my experience, the bite slows down as the day goes on,” Reese begins. To target these shallow fish a brown and purple jig with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog as a trailer is his go-to 

“I have noticed that with that trailer you do trigger more big bites. You may not catch the numbers you do with a 5" Yamamoto Double Tail trailer, but the quality is definitely better,” he says.

READ RELATED: Yamamoto Double Tail Produces Double-Digit at Eastman Lake (With VIDEO)

Targeting Clear Lake Suspended Fish 

Targeting suspended bass is another approach Reese takes during the fall on Clear Lake.

“I look for anything with shade. It could be cliffs, docks, or anything else that creates shade lines,” says Reese.

His pick for casting to these bass is a Yamamoto D-Shad soft jerkbait in one of the many white or shad colors they offer.

 “I like to make long casts and fish it quickly and just twitch it along. I fish it with a weighted EWG, but one with a lighter weight,” he says and adds that he fishes it much differently than he does early in the year.

“During the spring I like to fish it unweighted, but during the fall I want a little bit of weight.  It allows you to make longer casts and the bait will sink a little quicker,” he shares.  Reese pays close attention to his Lowrance units when fishing the D-Shad and looks for grass and baitfish, both prime places to find suspended bass.

Targeting Deep Bass at Clear Lake

Deep is a relative term on Clear Lake and depends on which end of the lake you are talking about. During the fall, Reese likes to target the 12- to 25-foot range and will use the same jig he uses up shallow but also mixes in a Yamamoto California Roll (Wacky Ball rigging vid) on two different finesse rigs.

A dropshot is a standard offering for most bass anglers and because of that, Reese will often switch up his tactics.

I think the fish become accustomed to a dropshot when everyone is throwing it. I like to fish a Frenzy Nail with a Yamamoto California Roll because the bait falls much different than a standard straight tail worm,” he says.

Another way Reese likes to rig this plastic is on a Frenzy Baits Wack-A-Sack. “When things get tough and there is a lot of pressure, throwing something a little different really helps. That rig just works.”

Having a plan for deep, shallow and suspended fish allows Reese to cover all water columns and maximize success on Clear Lake, and really any lake, during the fall. His approach allows him to target fish that are in transition from day to day and even by the hour.