Top 5 Winter Bass Fishing Baits
Winter bass fishing can be the toughest time of year to get bites, but if you hit the water with the right baits, you've got a shot. In this video Benjamin Nowak breaks down the TOP 5 baits that you need to be successful during the winter months!
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Read the transcript
Hey, what's going on everyone? My name is Benjamin Nowak with monsterbass, and today's video is going to be focused on my top five winter bass fishing baits. Now up here in the Midwest, what I consider winter bass fishing is when that water temp falls below 50 degrees. This is when those fish start turning away from crawfish and getting really keyed in on bait fish.
And believe it or not, although it can be a really tough time to fish, you can catch some of the biggest bass in your life during the winter. So for those of you guys that live down south though, you're going to have to talk to your buddies. Maybe your water temps don't get blown 50 degrees, so you're going to figure out what that water temp is. But these are Bates that are going to work across the country no matter where you live.
So we're going to get started with my first technique and probably my favorite wintertime technique, and that is fishing a blade bait. Now, blade bait is something that started up here in the north, was really successful for cold water bass, but started pushing its way down south and a blade is a great way to imitate a variety of different bait fish for lethargic bass.
This is something you can fish slowly along the bottom with short hops and trigger those fish from long ways away. So this is a custom homemade 5/8ths ounce blade bait. This I fish a ton, but a blade that we included in the box is the steel shad. Now this is 3/8ths of an ounce. I like to fish this on a spinning setup whereas most guys might fish us on a on a bait casting setup, fishing on a spinning rod with 15-pound test braid main line to eight pound fluorocarbon leader.
What you're going to do is make a long cast with this bait, let it sink to the bottom and let it sink to the top of that grass. And you're going to just make really short hops, really short hops. You don't want to lift this bait very far up off the bottom because once it gets down there, you're going to feel a vibrate. When you lift it, you just want to let it fall back down there to the bottom.
These fish during that cold weather are going to become really the lethargic, so I'm fishing bait slowly in front of their face. You're going to give them an opportunity to come up, ambush it, eat it, and really start choking on that blade and it's a great way to draw a lot of really big fish from those lethargic lakes where those fish don't really want to eat. A blade bait is going to be a great technique to trigger some of those bites.
But when that sun gets up and those fish start becoming a little bit more aggressive, which will happen even though it's cold water. I like to start with something a little bit more aggressive and this is a moving bait. This is a small body crankbait. This is probably Alex Rudd's favorite bait of all time is a small body crankbait and this is a Rapala Shad Rap seven or nine I believe, but I like this bait because it can fish it around those same areas and fishing the blade bait, but it allows me to cover a lot more water. I can fish it a lot more quickly.
I'm also going to fish this on a spinning setup, but I can make a long cast and I can just crank it along covering a lot more water. For those of you guys that fish ponds, this is another great technique or you can throw a lipless crankbait. A lipless crankbait or a flat-sided crankbait is a great way to cover water in the fall. Find where those fish are keying and where those fish are grouped up and it's a great way to draw a lot of bites.
My buddy Alex Rudd has a ton of great videos on that. I'll have a couple of them linked down in the description below for you guys to go check out. But a small body crankbait is a great way to fish in the fall and I'm fishing that on the same setup, that I'm fishing that blade bait on. A spinning rod 15-pound tests braid main line to an eight pound fluorocarbon leader make really long casts and just crawl it back to the boat triggers a lot of big bites and you can catch some biggest bass of the year on that bait.
Now we're going to start moving into some of the soft plastics and soft plastics are something I typically stray away from in the fall. And the reason for that is because where that colder water, those bait fish aren't actually going to have as much action. They're not going to be kicking around, they're not going to have big wide tail kicks are moving really radically.
So soft plastics tend not to work, but the exception is fishing soft plastics that have very little movement. And the first bait I want to talk about, one that's taken the industry by storm is a Ned Rig. So this is a 3/16 ounce Ned Rig with a small Z man finesse TRD. I like just a standard straight tail Ned Rig bait. When the water gets cold, it will really do absolutely nothing down there on the bottom, and I know it sounds really dumb, but a lot of times that do nothing presentation draws big bites.
You're going to fish it really slowly along the bottom. So, you're going to cast it out and let it sink to bottom. Just pull it back to the boat or bank or kayak or wherever you're fishing. It's going to trigger a lot of big bites. It looks like just a little minnow crawling along there on the bottom, a little leech, really easy meal for those bass to eat. It's not going to have a lot of action and this is the time of year I'm straying away from those Ned Rig baits that have appendages on them. I just want something really dumb looking, crawling along the bottom because this is what's going to get bit this time of year.
Now, we're going to move into another style of moving bait, and although I said I typically stay away from baits that have a little bit of action I really like to fish a finesse swimbait. So this here is an underspin, which is a weighted head with a blade underneath and I'll fish a fluke style bait on the back. This is a hog farmer spunk shad basically just doesn't have a tail, so all the action is in the blade.
This is great for schooling fish. This is great for fish that are feeding or keying and on bait fish, which is what fish are keying in on this time of year and doesn't have a ton of action, but this blade comes through the water. It looks like a little bait fish, a little schooling bait fish and those fish are able to feed on it. But if the water gets really clear and they turn off that underspin I will go to a Finesse swimbait like this Keitech Easy Shiner.
It has a little bit more movement, but because the body is so narrow, it really isn't going to displace a lot of water, but I'm going to fish it really slowly. I just posted a video on my own channel, the Smallmouth Experience. I'll have linked up here in the corner for you where a fish, a Finesse swimbait like this in water temps 45 degrees and below. And the way I'm doing it is I make a long cast, I let it sink almost all the way to the bottom and I just barely turn the handle.
You just really want to barely get this handle moving, that tail's going to kind of kick real slowly and those fish are going to come up behind it. They're going to be able to key in on that bait, eat it, and you'll trigger a lot of big bites that way. So either underspin or a Finesse swimbait.
Now, the final bait that I want to talk about, and this is one that kind of gets slept on, especially as that water gets cold, is a Finesse Jig. This is the Strike King Hack Attack Fluorocarbon Flipping Jig. What I like about this jig is it's actually a relatively compact profile. So you have a smaller profile jig here, has a screw lock keeper and a lighter wire hook.
When I'm not fishing around grass or have you covered, I like that lighter wire you're home cause you can fish it out fluorocarbon line and not have to worry about a poor hookup ratio. And then I have paired on the back of that a Gambler BB Cricket. So you're going to say, "Ben, when I pull my my jig out of the package, it doesn't look like that." Well I've taken, and I've trimmed this jig up to have this little spider skirt. I don't want a big jig that's making a lot of commotion down there, especially when that water gets really cold.
So I'm going to show you guys how to modify your Hack Attack Fluorocarbon Flipping Jig to have that spider cut or finesse cut and it'll dry you some more big bites this time of year. What you're going to do is take your jig out of the package and you're going to separate, there's a band here. You're going to separate the top half from the bottom half. Once you do that, you'll take a pair of scissors, it's going to take a half a second. Separate the bottom half from the top half.
Once you do that, you're going to take a pair of scissors and you're just going to cut around the head of the jig. Okay? Just going to cut that skirt material or on the head of the jig. Now you're going to have to trim it up again because I'm sure I missed some of the skirt material, but when you're done, it's going to have a much more finessed style look. You cut away some of those strands of material and that's going to give that jig a smaller profile, but still attract a lot of big bites.
I also like to trim the weed guard on this jig, so what I'll do is I'll push it down, figure out where that weed guard touches the point of that hook, and I'll just trim it off. By doing this, you're going to help your hookup ratio. Like I said, there's not typically a ton of grass, and so when that fish compresses that weed guard, they're able to get the hook a lot better and then you have that screw lock keeper in there.
It's going to hold your trailers out of there and keep you from going through a bunch of trailers when those fish eat it. Now like I mentioned, the trailer I like is a super finessed trailer. It's actually a Gambler BB Cricket. This is a punching style bait. It has very little to no movement in the water, but gives it a little bit of bulk. It looks like a little crawfish down there.
It looks like a little bait fish down there and those fish will key in on it and crush it. Now this time of year, I like to use black and blue regardless of where I'm fishing. Clean water, dirty water. A lot of times black and blue seems to be the color that I go with. Trigger me a lot of big bites, so those are my top five wintertime bass lures.
Again, a blade bait, a small body crankbait, a Ned Rig, a Finesse swmibait or underspin and then that little finesse jig. So I hope this is going to help you guys go target some of those big fish during the wintertime. Again, don't be afraid to go out in the cold, brave the cold weather and chase some big bass because this is the time of year where you can catch the biggest bass of your life because those fish are still feeding up, still eating, still fat from the fall. They're going to be big giant fish that will still bite all of these baits.
If you guys have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below. I'll be willing to help as much as I can and as always, thank you guys for watching and I'll catch you guys next time.