Baits like lipless cranks or rattletraps can actually be top producers in cold water conditions. With them, you can use a fast retrieve, which covers more water and increases the likelihood of burning through a strike zone, which tend to be smaller in cold water.
Some anglers won’t be able to resist the urge to go with a stop and go technique, thinking that it’s a good middle ground between slow and fast. However, with rattle baits, you can work them along the bottom to create noise and still entice bass to strike. Furthermore, with eight-pound monofilament, you can get these baits deeper and right on top of bass.
Focus your efforts on points and submerged grass, along with 45-degree banks and flats that may be next to bends in creeks and channels. I’ve found crawfish patterns to be particularly effective, and have found the bright orange or red patterns to work best in stained water, with green or brown ones working well when the water is clear.
In the fishing world, there are many rules of thumb that match up with certain conditions, but there can be times when breaking these rules will yield great results on the water. Going bright when its common to go dark, erratic instead of finesse, and—as we’ve outlined today—speeding things up when slowing down has been the accepted practice during the Fall can lead to strikes.