It’s possibly the most oversimplified stage of a bass’ annual schedule, but get to know the fall feeding migrations and you’ll see there’s actually a considerable amount of strategy required to achieve consistency. For, while we tend to describe this season as a mass movement of bass to their pre-winter gorging, it’s not just a random rush to the buffet line.

Here’s a good starting point: Get to know the creek’s “ditch” — the gut, or drain at the bottom of the main channel that meanders from the main lake, back into the creek’s inner reaches. This is what Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle calls the bass’ life line — a travel lane the fish use to navigate into and out of these secondary areas.

With the region’s mostly flatter contours, ditches are subtle, but the fish follow this instinct-driven course with predictable dedication. Of course, a bass doesn’t spend every minute of the fall season belly-down in a creek trough, although they will typically endure fall cold fronts there. Beyond this, the fall feeding activity brings other positioning into relevance.

Wait your turn

Toledo Bend guide Stephen Johnston agrees that the fish follow specific courses when they’re moving in and out of creeks; especially once they’re inside where the gathering points can become very specific. His advice: Check your map and find the bends for clusters of staging bass. 

“When they’re going in, they’ll be in the straightaways and feeding everywhere,” Johnston said. “Once a group enters a creek, there’s not enough room for all of the fish that want to be there to fit inside, so a lot of fish will sit at the mouth and wait to go in, once others come out. Those are your key