That nip in the air doesn’t mean you have to put up all your fishing gear and give up on catching a winter bass. All cold water means is you have to change your fishing tactics to adjust to the changed habits of the largemouth bass. Here are a few tips for catching those winter fish.
Bass are more lethargic during winter months, but they are far from being a creature that hibernates, so they must feed to live. And any fish that feeds can be caught with the right bait and the right combination of tactics for the lure. Lures with thin metal blades can work wonders on a trophy winter bass. Use them for ledge hopping, walking down points, and along channel edges. Try jiggling slab spoons right in the face of slow to strike fish.
I often like to work a jig and grub in cold weather to lure largemouth bass into strike mode. Working them slow right off the bottom, and along the edge of lilypads, brush, docks, and heavy grass. A lot of times, depending on the water depth, a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig will provoke a lunker bass to strike in these conditions. Spinner baits can work a miracle on bass as well. Cast it and let it flutter as it sinks, then roll it back.
The bigger lipped crank baits can work well if the fish are in a moterately aggressive feeding mood. Keep the retrieve smooth and steady, but try pausing and twitching from time to time, especially near cover. Remember that you may have to make a few trips to the same pond or lake to figure out the feeding habits of the winter bass, what they want, and how the largemouth bass want it.
Presentation is essential for cold water bass fishing, especially when a cold front is upon you. Largemouth bass react to the changing weather and so you must react to their changing patterns. Fish tend to move close to cover and hang in cold weather. Thus their strike distance is a lot shorter than warm weather bass. Also, pay attention to where the fish are hitting your bait during cold fronts, and concentrate on casting to those types of areas. You’ll spend more time catching those lunker winter bass, and less wasting time casting to non-productive spots.
And last, the most important winter bass fishing tip! Don’t give up! Throw on an extra pair of long-johns and get out after those winter largemouth bass! If these tips don’t work, think outside of the box and keep fishing!