Winter fishing? ” by Dan Wells”
UUGGGHHH! Just try it, you might be surprised.
Winters is almost here and so are freezing mornings. If you can handle the cold temps and cold boat rides there is some great fishing and lots of open water ahead of you.
The first thing to remember is to slow down, you can still catch reaction fish and power fish, but you’re going to have to slow down. First thing is lure selection; I like to keep it simple 1. Jig 2. Dart head and drop shot 3. Heavy spinner baits 4. Suspending rip baits . These are my confidence baits, but maybe not yours and that’s ok, these are just mine.
We’ll talk about clear lake just so we have a familiar place. I always look for bait and a break line (depth is always relative) and if there’s a rock pile or deep dock, great! This is an area that will hold fish in stable cold conditions. I fish these areas the most with the jig and darthead slowly picking apart any piece of cover I can find. I keep colors simple, green pumpkin, black/blue, and brown/purple. A good tip to use if you’re not sure on color, match the bottom.
Now if we get one of those slight warming trends I’ll start early on deep flats with the suspending ripbait in your favorite color using long pauses. The whole time looking for a small break line or anything different to target. When that bite dies and the skies get high, back to the deep structure. When the sun warms the water a little in the afternoon I’m back on the flats working from deep to shallow with the heavy blade just slow rolling looking for a pod of fish. My favorite color this time of year is white on white and I almost work my blade like a jig with a “stop and go” and “bump the stump” action. These reaction baits will also work if we get a little front coming through (works great around big spots).
Remember on clear lake that fish will move around from deep to shallow with just a little increase in water temp, so in the afternoons look for a couple extra degrees in the water where there is direct sunlight up on a flat.
I hope I have given you a starting point for winter fishing, and that it helps get you a couple extra tugs! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have and good luck out there.
GET THE NET!
10 Winter Bass Hot spots
Winter can be an awesome time to fish for bass, provided you key on places where these game fish are most likely to hang out. You can increase your odds of bagging a giant bass during the coldest months by focusing on these hot spots. Secondary Points:”Points at the mouths of reservoir tributaries are obvious structures, which accounts for them getting hammered to death by anglers,” says Mike Iaconelli. “In winter, I spend more time fishing secondary points instead. These are smaller points occurring within the first quarter or third of the tributary arm that are usually overlooked by other fisherman.”
Lure Choice: *Suspending jerkbait *Shaky head worm *Jig
Shallow Wood In Murky Lakes:
“When visibility is less than a foot, expect bass to be shallow, regardless of how cold the water is, as long as they have wood cover to hide in,” says Jason Quinn. “If you get into the heart of the cover with your lure, you’ll catch bass on the coldest, nastiest winter days.”
Lure Choice: *Squared Billed Crank bait *Jigs
Most weekend bass anglers are bank beater, but in the dead of winter your best shot at a reservoir lunker maybe where the old creek channel meanders far from shore. Here, lunker largemouth hold near stumps, submerged logs and rocks, waiting for the occasional baitfish school or crawdad to pass by.
Lure Choice: *Deep diving crankbait
“Bass will relate to mainlake rock bluffs in winter, sometimes at extreme depths,” says Aaron Martens. “They’ll often suspend off these vertical structures around baitfish schools. If the bass are positioned shallow, a diving crankbait will catch them. For deeper fish, park over them and vertical jig a spoon or fish parallel to the bluff with a fast sinking metal blade bait or tailspinner.”
Lure Choice: *Crankbait *Jigging Spoon *Blade bait *Tailspinner
“Roadbeds are especially productive in winter because they provide great cover for crayfish,” explains pro Charlie Ingram. “Concentrate not only on the top, but also on the sides of the structure. Before a creek or river was flooded to form a reservoir, trees lining the sides of roads that were destined to be submerged were usually lopped off and hauled away, leaving stumps and rick rubble behind.”
Lure Choice: *Carolina rigged lizard *Crankabait *Plastic craw *Finesse jig
Last Living Weeds:
Many anglers don’t realize that the bass’ love affair with milfoil, coontail, hydrilla and other aquatic grasses extends past summer into the winter months. “In winter, I always look for the last living patches of submerged grass,” notes Scott Rook. “Often large numbers of bass will cluster into a little weeds patch, attracted by the concealment, forage opportunities and oxygen it provides.”
Lure Choice: *Crankbait *Plastic Craw *Creature bait
Sloping banks or “45 degree banks” are reliable places to bag a quick limit of bass in winter. “Winter bass are lethargic and will avoid swimming long distances whenever possible,” says Alton Jones. “If they were on a main lake flat, they might have to swim a hundred yards to move from 8 to 15 feet of water, but they only have to move a few feet to make that same depth change on a sloping bank.”
Lure Choice: *Plastic worm *grub
Transitions In Rocky Reservoirs:
“Bass are always attracted to something different in their surroundings, and this is as true in rocky lakes as it is in lakes with thick weed or wood cover,” says bass guide Jim Duckworth. “Rather than fish all the way down a chunk-rock bank, I’ll put my trolling motor on high until I come to a spot where one type or size rock changes into another.”
Lure Choice: *Tiny hair jig
So called “spring holes” can be awesome winter bass haunts in lakes and rivers. “Underwater springs are usually considerably clearer than lake water and sometimes marked on topographical maps, but the most reliable way to locate them is with your graph’s temperature gauge,” says Doug Hannon. “Spring water runs around 55 degrees year-round, so in winter, a spring hole might easily be 10 to 15 degrees warmer than elsewhere in the lake.”
Lure Choice: *Realistic finished lure
Ditches Connecting Deep & Shallow Water:
“Ditches are the last untapped bass structures,” claims Bill Dance. “In winter, bass use them to move from deep to shallow water when feeding. Ditches are seldom shown on topographical maps, and they’re difficult to discern on your graph because they’re usually narrow and only a foot or two deep.”
Lure Choice: *Jig (1/2 or 3/4oz)