Bass don’t stop eating just because ol’ man winter strikes! Here are some tips to better your experience and help you catch more fish this winter!
Your two key factors here are baitfish, and water depth. In winter, I follow 2 things around the lake when i need to find monster bass. The baitfish will provide bass with the sustenance needed to survive, and deep water will provide fertile hunting grounds when located near a rapid change into shallows. Although bass tend to stay deep, they will sometimes travel upwards to chase baitfish and water temp changes.
Differing water temperatures challenge the angler in varied ways. My rule of thumb however, is the colder the temp, the easier the meal should be. Water temperatures below 40 degrees F require an easy meal to be dangled inches from a bass’ mouth.
Bass in 40 to 50 degree water will still chase easy baits, and can be more easily located compared to warmer winter weather bass. These fish don’t eat as readily however.
If your water temps are between 50 and 60 degrees F, then your bass will chase a wider variety of lures and baits. These temps typically bring on transition behaviors in most parts of the country. However in the south, these temperatures indicate winter foraging for bass.
Selecting baits and lures during the cold of winter is actually often easier than other seasons, with fewer good options. I love fishing jigs and hair jigs during the winter for largemouth bass. I love the versatility and action of a jig or hair jig regardless of how your fish the bait. Slowly roll it along, or small short hops along the bottom look great with these baits.
Another great option is the king of deep water finesse, the drop shot. Drop shotting a small soft plastic to deep or suspended bass may be your only option some days when bass are really deep.
Safety & Prep
Layering up is essential when temperatures drop low. The lower they are, the more layering you should head out with. Depending on the weather, be sure to always leave the boat ramp with more layers than the weather forecast calls for. Winds on the lake may chill you deeper, and time spent doing sedentary activities will also not keep you as warm as other moving activities.
Preplan your day to make sure you get the most out of your potentially limited time on the water. Use maps, gps, or Google topographical maps to look for the right water to effectively use your time.
Hopefully these tips help better your next winter outing! Remember, bass love food and need food to survive. That means that the next time you find the right winter water, hook yourself a monster!