Winter Bass Fishing Tips
Surface water temperatures have plunged (at least in Tennessee) to below the magic 50 degree mark. Most game fish will slow down consequently most fishing activities slow down but they don’t have to. Let the frost melt off the kayak, dress for the weather and grab your gear. Life jackets are the rule 100% of the time. Here are my top winter Bass fishing tips
Some solid bass action can be had in the first months of the year if you’re willing to modify your approach. The effects of the weather alter the behavior of the fish but they still have to eat. If you think about it bass, especially big ones have to continue to feed to maintain or gain weight. The trophy fish have it figured out and are the most efficient feeders.
Colder water conditions mean more infrequent feeding but a change in tactics for the kayak angler. In water below fifty degrees digestion is a longer process, at 60 degrees the fish’s metabolism speeds up and they feed more often. Basic baits can be found in my winter / spring tackle box, jigs, spinnerbaits and hard plugs including jerkbaits. The major selling point of each of these bass baits is their ability to be fished vertically and horizontally as most of fish forage is capable of accomplishing, and they also cover all water columns.
Spinnerbaits for Winter Bass
To find winter fish I test the “bite” by starting with a modified spinnerbait, turning a ½ ounce double willowleaf lure into a single nickel bladed bait requires clipping off the front blade and I change the skirt to the bulkier, pulsating perfect skirt (# 209 blue shad) from Strike King. www.strikeking.com This lure looks a lot like a shad the primary food source of a winter time bass. Other forms of food are buried up and gone until spring the shad are schooled heavily. The ability to control the spinner is literally in the hands of the angler. A slow retrieve with an occasional pause draws fish to this bait because it looks frightened, injured or weak. Cast around secondary cover and bump anything possible to bring the bass out of hiding.
Crankbaits and Jerkbaits
Next to hit the colder water is a 1.5 square lipped crankbait or a jerkbait. Either in color #584 Oyster again from Strike King is good in cool, clear water. A slow retrieve on the crank again with the pause is a good bet but in water that reads mid 40’s and crystal clear the jerkbait can be deadly. Cast out and violently rip the bait downward with three or four sharp rod snaps, wait for a count of eight to ten and repeat. This requires patience and waiting until you feel the pull on the bait, with a medium action baitcasting rod and 14 pound test monofilament are my recommendation.
Jigs for Winter Bass Fishing
Jigs are a year round favorite of the fish and therefore me. A natural craw or neutral color, probably 3/8ths of an ounce trailed by a Rage Craw is a constant producer of bass. Concentrate on natural cover and bottom contours for, February and March fish. A slow, deliberate retrieve pays off. Concentrate on what the bait is doing and visualize the motion of the lure. Concentration is the key because the bite maybe almost imperceptible, nothing more than the line swimming off or a “different” feeling. In winter conditions you could very well be fishing for just a half dozen hits.
Where to Cast
Wood, rock and irregular features especially around current are all likely places. Check spots that have a prolonged exposure to the sun, they warm up faster and retain heat longer. You are likely to have the water to yourself and maybe hook a winter wall hanger. Don’t be surprised if you realize when you’re catching fish you don’t notice the cold. Hope these winter bass fishing tips helped you out. I’ll see you up a creek WITH a paddle.