Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that the waters throughout the country are frozen solid. Some anglers have the fortune to still be able to get out on the water and enjoy a bit of winter bass fishing. Winter requires a bit of trial and error when it comes to lures choice, though, as well as an attention to detail. Keep reading to learn some tips on how to capitalize on the winter bass bite this year.

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean only a select few lures will work. I’ve caught bass on a variety of lures in the cold of winter, including Zara Spooks and even buzzbaits. Also, last week is not this week and yesterday is not today, which means that because the weather can change, which can change the mood and activity level of bass, there is no one lure for the job. For instance, last week the water visibility might have been poor, which means a bass’s vision is limited. This will cause fish to rely heavily on sounds and vibrations to detect and find prey. In this case, most anglers opt to use a larger lure that made lots of vibration, like a spinnerbait. However, if the water clears up a week later, lures that worked last week might not work this week. Since the water is now much clearer, the bass would be going back to more sight hunting. A small crankbait tapped and slowly retrieved will imitate an injured minnow trying to get away, and looks like an easy meal that won’t cost the bass a lot of energy to chase.

In cold clear water conditions, smaller lures will sometimes work better. Solid lures for situations like these are small spinnerbaits, small rattletraps, and four-inch weightless plastic worms. Also, you might want to use spinning gear for some of these lures, and I recommend using 8-pound line.

The point is this: winter can have dramatic changes on the water in which you’re fishing, as well as the fish that inhabit it. To maintain consistency during the winter months, you’ll need to pay attention to water clarity and not rely on the same lures over and over. Be ready to snip and re-tie and snip and re-tie a few times. It’s worth it, though, when you pay attention to the details and it pays off with a nice lunker!