Arsenal for Fall Bass & Blues

By Capt. Joey Leggio

A must have arsenal for Bass and Blues this Fall

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As I look out my window and see the foliage begin to set in, I know the cool weather is approaching, and with the dropping water temperatures, I know it’s time to pack my tackle bag with my fall fishing arsenal for Bass and Bluefish.

The bait that is around this time of the year is primarily Bunker (both adults & juvilille “peanuts”),  Bay Anchiovies (aka “Bay Anchovies”) , Mullet (on the beaches) and Sand Eels. As the temperature drops colder, you will see Herring make their way into the bay. So I try to make sure I have a lure to match ever species of bait that I may run into for that day’s fishing adventure. It is always a good idea to match the hatch to what your target species will be eating.

First, locate the bait or the fish. You don’t want to just fish blind. There are a few ways to do this.

Our eyes,

Look around for signs of life. Birds, The presence of bait on the surface, other boats gathering all in one area but PLEASE be respectful of other fisherman.

Our Electronics,

Check your radar if you have one and look for birds or again a gathering of boats. Watch your fish finder and look for deep bait or fish.

Prior Reports,

Read your local Fisherman Magazine or go into the local tackle store and ask questions. The internet is a great resource for fishing information and there are plenty of web pages to help you.

Now that you have all your information, it is time to fish. What you will find in my Fall Arsenal is this:

Diamond Jigs of all types and sizes, Small and Large Swimming plugs, Kastmaster and Krocodile Tins, Super Strike Poppers, Gibbs Pencil Popper, Bomber Badonk-A-Donk and one of my favorites is the Ranger Lure.

Diamond Jigs,

I like to carry an assortment of Diamond Jigs, from the basic  designs to “slabs” and “hammered” models. I will always have a few with and without the rubber tail.

If Sandeels are present, then Diamond Jigs are the “go-to” lure. Drop your jig to the bottom and bounce it a few times to create the mud “puff”. This makes the dirt/silt come off the bottom and cause a mud cloud under water. Sandeeels live in the mud on the bottom of the ocean. Now that you caused this disturbance begin to yoyo style jig your Diamond jig. This looks like a Sandeel has come out of his home and is swimming around. Bass love this and they strike with force. Most of your hits will come as the jig is falling. So snap the rod up and drop the tip down and be ready for a strike. Keep an eye on that fish finder and watch what depth the fish are in. If the fish are suspended at 20 feet, don’t drop down to 50 feet.

Another way people jig, but mostly for Blue fish, is to let your Diamond Jig hit the bottom and reel up as fast as you can. I really don’t like this style of jigging, but it does work well fishing deep for Bluefish. Try both of the basic style Diamond Jigs. Sometimes the rubber tube style Diamond Jig will out fish the regular Slab style Diamond Jig, or vice versa.

Wind Cheaters,

If you are near shore by the beaches and jetty’s, you can’t beat a small Wind Cheater by Bomber. This lures look just like a Mullet and the Bass can’t resist.

Cast towards the beach or jetty and reel the lure back to you slow. Hit both sides of the jetty and work the front as well. If you are fishing deeper go with the larger Wind Cheater lure. This is a great all around swimming plug and they are not too costly. In deeper water, the Chicken Scratch color is deadly.

Also by Bomber brand lures, is the Badonk-A-Donk, which is a great surface lure. You have to work this lure a little to get the right action, but it is basically like a Zara Spook lure, so you want that “Walk The Dog” style action. For this you just reel and snap the rod to the side or up and down. REMEMBER, you must leave a little slack line on the snap to get the lure to walk. If you keep the line tight you won’t get the correct “walk the dog”, side to side action.


There is nothing better than fishing surface poppers, and my favorite is the Super Strike. This lure can be worked many ways and everyway will get you a strike. The most common way is the reel and snap, reel and snap, reel and snap. With this lure, leaving zero slack in the line is the right way. You want the lure to pop on the surface. This will attract fish using sound, movement, and surface commotion. The pop of the lure makes a gurgling water sound and throws water all over the place.

For the Fall season I like the lighter colors. Yellows, Whites, Chartreuse and Pinks. With this lure you can also slow swim it or rapid pop to try to bring something up from the deep.

Gibbs Pencil Popper,

The Gibbs Pencil Popper is a fish magnet, but you have to work the lure correctly. A longer rod makes working this lure a bit easier. Cast the lure out to where the fish are. I like to manually close the bail just before the lure hits the water. Now you can work the lure by shaking the rod forward and back causing the lure to dance on the surface like a wounded baitfish. The reason I like a longer rod for this lure is this, once you cast the lure, place the butt end of the rod between your legs. Now grab the rod above the fore grip and shake the rod forward and back. This method makes it a lot easier to work the lure and is less tiring. The lure will dance on the surface and the strikes will usually have the fish coming airborne. The action on a Gibbs Pencil Popper is unreal and it is a blast to fish once you have it down on how to work the lure.

The Ranger Lure,

Whenever I tell people about this lure I get the same reaction when Hooper told the fishermen in Jaws they had a Tiger Shark… A WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?… Yes, a Ranger Lure. Not many stores will carry this lure but this is the easiest lure to fish and it has such great action. The design of the Ranger Lure makes it skip across the surface like a bait fish swimming for its life. It Zigs, it Zags, it Darts and it catches fish from Bass, Blues, Tuna and Roosterfish. This is a “must have” lure. All you do is cast and reel and the lure does the work for you. I don’t know how else to put it. I like to fish various speeds on the retrieve to make the lure do different things. You can pop it if you like, and this will cause the lure to skip out of the water, which looks awesome and the fish seem to think the same.

I like to change my hook out on the ranger lure but this does not have to be done. I personally like the Siwash hook verses the standard J style hook the lure comes with. There is only one hook so when a fish is caught, it is very easy to release the fish and get your lure back in the water which in return lets you catch more fish. As for this year, my biggest Bluefish of 20.50 pounds was caught on this lure as well as another 20 pounder and multiple Bluefish over 16 pounds.

Well there you have it. This is my Fall Arsenal for Bass and Bluefish but I will add just one more lure in case you come across some Albies.
A deadly Dick is a good lure to have in your tackle box or my favorite Albie Lure is the Offshore Angler, Sling Jig in 2 oz. So there, NOW you are all ready to slay the fish and if you have any questions you can always go to my web page at and email me from there.


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2011 Chasin Tail TV - Arsenal for Fall Bass & Blues.
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