Fishing bass with Mr. Wish I was Fishin'

Ambassador Spotlight | Mr. Wish I Was Fishin'

Blade baits are great fish catchers, especially as the winter sets in and the water continues to cool. MONSTERBASS Ambassador Chris Hollingsworth (aka @MrWishIWazFishin) is a big fan of the blade bait and graciously took time to fill us in on how he approaches this technique.

Fishing Bass with a blade bait

“I will fish a blade bait all year long,” said Chris. “I’ll even catch fish on a blade bait during the summer.” 

When the water is warm, Chris’s retrieve is more horizontal. But as winter sets in, Chris modifies his approach and fishes his blade bait offshore and closer to the bottom, on short vertical hops. 

“When the water gets into the low 60s, the fish really start to pull offshore. Here in Northern California, this happens when it starts to get in the 30s at night.” 

That’s when the water temps really start to change, according to Chris. But those drastic shifts in temperate are mostly just along the surface.  

Bass Fishing

“I don’t think many people really consider what the true water temperature is further than 12- inches down, where they're getting their measurements.” 

Chris pointed out that the bass dont really like the big swings that happen along the surface when the air temps start dipping into the 30s, and that the water temps a little further down below the surface are more stable. These are important things to know.  

“The key is understanding the water temperatures are fluctuating and it’s getting really cold at night. I feel like once the air temps get into the 30s, the fish just don’t want to be in that really cold water on top, so they move offshore.” 

Though air temps and his electronics certainly make it easy to determine when the bass should move offshore, Chris doesn’t like to rely solely on these rules of thumb. He’s a visual guy.  

“I key into what I see in the water. If I’m going out there and I can see into the clear water 6 or 7 feet down, and there’s no lifeforms, no small fish or anything, that’s when I know the fish have pulled offshore.” 

It’s at this time that the bass move with bait out into deeper, more stable water.  

“They go to where the water temps are more consistent, and that’s going to be at the bottom of the lake, where the cold night air doesn’t effect it.” 

Once Chris knows the fish have moved out, he makes his way out as well, looking for bass and bait that are grouped up.  

“It’s all about finding deep water bass that are piled up looking for bait balls. And then throwing a blade bait and bouncing it along the bottom, that’s how I find a lot of bass.”  

A blade bait is one of Chris’s go-to lures this time of year because it accurately imitates the real thing, really well. As the water gets really cold, the baitfish start to struggle and die, and they fall to the bottom.  

“The bait is down there dying out and falling to the bottom, and the bass are just down there cleaning up.” 

The fall of a blade bait imitates this natural occurrence really well, so that fall is when Chris says the bass bite on a blade bait is the best.  

“The key is having tension on your line. That pendulum falls with the bait fluttering through the water sporadically, it looks like something that’s dying off and acting weird.” 

This causes a reaction strike from the bass, as the bait falls helplessly by, which is a bit counterintuitive when it comes to cold water bass fishing. Bass don’t typically eat reaction baits well in the winter, so anglers have to resort to slow moving baits drug along the bottom.  

“It’s funny that you’re looking for a reaction strike during a time that the fish aren’t really feeding. But they see that action and can’t fight what their brain is telling them to do.” 

Though this is an extremely effective technique in the winter, a blade bait appeals to Chris for another reason as well.  

“I like a blade bait because winter fishing can be kind of boring. I like to feel like I’m moving and doing something instead of dragging a Ned rig or a dropshot.” 

In addition to mimicking the real thing well and giving Chris an alternative with a little more action, a blade bait also gives Chris a lure that he can cover a lot of water with, which is also important in the winter.  

“I’m bouncing this thing in the mud and the rocks and then ripping it back up off the bottom the length of my rod. And I’m throwing it as far as I can cast, and then fishing it all the way to the boat.”  

This means that Chris is vertically fishing a bait from the very bottom up to about 6 feet off the bottom, and he’s doing this for the entire length of his cast.  

“I’m moving this bait through a lot of water. And because I’m covering that much water, Ive got a good chance of hitting them on the nose. So I can entice a lot of fish.” 

Having a bait that can cover a lot of water and unlock the jaws of reluctant bass is big during the winter. And if it’s a fun bait to fish, that’s simply a bonus. These are the reasons a blade bait is one of Chris’s favorites this time of year.  

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