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Autumn typically sees declining water levels in most bass lakes, but that’s no reason to let your optimism fall. If anything, now is a time of increasing opportunity.

Whether it’s manmade reservoirs being drawn down for winter or the natural recession of lake levels during the dryer months, you’re going to see a lot more bare banks this time of year. And while that certainly does limit us in terms of shallow targets, falling water tends to concentrate fish around the remaining cover.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Keith Combs lays it out like this: “Look for something different. If the whole lake is full of grass, look for patchy grass; look for a channel swing bank where it’s a little bit deep; or one isolated laydown. Just something different than your surroundings can make all the difference, because it’s a lot easier to pick them out.”

Since a lot of laydowns, logs, and shallow stumps will stand high and dry, you can bet that any that remain at least partially submerged will be bass magnets. A lone laydown with its outer limbs sitting in 2 feet of water certainly won’t guarantee a bite, but any bass roaming that shoreline will definitely use it for cover during the heat of the day. The attraction—and how you fish that spot—is no different than during high-water periods.

The same goes for old road beds and bridge remnants. These abrupt bank interruptions present the kind of hard structure and corners that fall bass will use to ambush shad heading into creeks and bays.

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Combs’ Laydown Plan
Probe the perimeter first with a Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait and mix in a spinnerbait for windy conditions. Then, pick apart the cover with a Hack Attack Heavy Cover jig sporting a Rage Craw trailer.

On the semi-exposed bridge and roadbed structure, Combs likes bumping all the hard stuff with a squarebill—either the 1.5, or Strike King’s hulking 8.0 for the deeper edges where big bass roam.

Regardless of what you try, remember: falling water equals rising hopes.

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