In the northern parts of the U.S., most anglers venturing to the lake have to drill holes to catch fish this time of year. However, there are still many regions where the lakes don’t freeze and the temperatures don’t drop too far, allowing anglers to still take their boats out to catch bass.
Cold weather bass fishing brings its own unique challenges, though, and you’ll need to do your homework ahead of time to get the job done right. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when you’re fishing for bass this winter.
Take It Slow
Perhaps the major key to a rewarding winter bass experience is going with a slower presentation. Like all fish, bass are cold-blooded, which means their metabolism slows way, way down during cold-water conditions. This also means bass need less food during the winter months. I know no better presentation for capitalizing on this than a jig. Jigs can be slowly crawled along the bottom to perfectly imitate a crawfish, which will also be moving slower this time of year. Just remember: keep it slow.
Get the Point?
I like to start my search by seeking areas with shallow water points leading into the main lake body. Here, I’ll cast a jig towards to the shallow point and slowly crawl it into the deeper water. Occasionally I’ll have to maneuver my kayak a bit to make sure I fish the point thoroughly, but it’s important to do this until you catch bass. If you’ve combed the point with casts and haven’t caught anything, move on.
Livin’ On The Ledge
If the points aren’t producing or if I just feel like trying something different, I’ll move to aras with submerged ledges, where the depth suddenly drops from 10 to 30 or more feet. Here, you’ll need to cast the jig to the shallow water and slowly drag it until you find the ledge. Pull it over the ledge and allow it to descend, making sure to keep an eye on your line. If a bass takes the jig on the fall, it will be a very subtle bite and the only indication may be the lure stopping before it reaches the bottom.
What to Tie On
While jigs are typically my first choice lure for cold weather bass, it’s best to bring a variety of effective lures for the season. For instance, soft plastics are still great during the colder months, especially the crawfish imitators, which work best when fished slowly on the bottom like a jig. I also keep a few suspending jerkbaits nearby, too. With these, you’ll want to make long casts, work the lure down to around four feet deep and then stop it momentarily. It will suspend in place and mimic a slow moving baitfish.