Ol’ man winter has his icy cold grips on your favorite bass haven. What do you do? Pack it in until Spring? Heck no! Here are my 5 best winter bass fishing baits that get me into fish when only the real men are out!
The top producing bait for most anglers this late in the season is the hard jerkbait. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, take out the big guns and be sure to practice your cadence. Suspending in the correct part of the water column is the secret to fishing this bait. Erratic pops/twitches and focused pauses will get bass to eat. Focus on structure to find bass that are out to play.
If you have the right habitat, a lipless can be one of your top producers this time of year. I fish a lake with lots of rock and great structure. Man-made lakes may not fair as well however. Hunting on shallow flats, and rocky bottom holds with a lipless will allow you to cover water and find fish. Look for shallow vegetation as well when bass follow shad or other baitfish in shallow. Rip a lipless through and around emerging weed lines and hold on!
When subtlety is key during the cold of winter, jigs shine. When it is even colder and stale, a hair jig has the necessary subtle movement and action to draw bites from uninterested bass. Throwing a lighter hair jig and allowing it to flutter to the bottom on semi-slack line is a great way to fish slower days. Find typical bass hangouts, and let it sink. Slow rolling it back will often be your best method around structure and hunting points. Match the hatch and find a pattern that best resembles your local baitfish.
When your water is deep and bass are found in the depths, vertical jigging for them with spoons is highly effective. It is hard to say more than, ripping spoons off the lake bottom, and letting them flutter down on controlled, semi-slack line is a great way to draw a bass’ attention.
In late winter, bass are most often targeting baitfish and will hunt the schools and an umbrella rig is a great way to imitate it. A castable umbrella rig will often get a bite from a timid bass when a single bait causes hesitation. I would pick one up, and use soft plastics that best represent and imitate the local baitfish in your fishery.
Hopefully this gives you the confidence to head out and find bass this late winter! Bundle up, and buckle up! Bass are still hungry...
Guide, author, teacher, & content creator
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The best bait for small mouth through the ice is the Acme Hyper glide and Hyper rattle.
Nothing else has been better.