Mueller uses his electronics religiously to find fall smallies, and in particular relies upon his Garmin Panoptix, which he sets to search at a range of 80 to 100 feet around his boat, providing him real-time data and incredible resolution; he can see not just the traditional arches but also distinct bass and baitfish. Because smallmouths are typically transient, and even more so as the water cools, the name of the game is covering water to find them. That can lead to long periods without making a cast, but the good news is that the bass follow the same highways and usually make the same stops year after year, so when you figure them out, it’s possible to go from zero to hero in a hurry, season after season. Many anglers may look forward most to the shallow bite of pre-spawn and spawning bass in the spring, but for Mueller, figuring out those fall patterns is the most rewarding challenge. “It’s probably the reason I don’t hunt,” he says.