Bass Fishing In Winter
By Charles Stuart
Fishing for bass during the late fall and winter months can be a daunting task. During the regular season, you have identifiable structure to fish, vegetation is in bloom and the sun offers you shaded areas, which will produce fish during the heat of the day. Winter however does not give you any of those visible signs.
So what do you do? Well once again, you must turn to your understanding of the bass and its lifestyle during these "lean months". When I use the word lean, I am referring to the food chain which can be drastically reduced by the elements. Exceptionally cold weather can kill smaller fish and aquatic life leaving the bass only a limited diet for three or four months. You will often hear bass fishermen talking about the "big feed" prior to winter, when bass will eat anything and everything to carry them through to spring.
Bait selection at this time is critical. In very cold water, a bass will move only a minimal distance for food. The bait of choice has to be something that is equal or greater than the energy expended.
Compare your own lifestyle during the winter months, you store up food and fuel for the winter to avoid unnecessary trips to the store. And you really hate clearing the driveway and brushing the snow off your vehicle if it's not absolutely necessary, correct? Well it's the same for a bass. Why should the fish dash around for small items of food when it will not compensate for the energy expended to chase down and catch it?
The use of large, slow moving baits is the key. Don't be afraid to throw 10-inch or 12-inch plastics, like the new Uncle Josh™ "Incredible Creature™" and "Incredible Lizard™" range of lures, where you once threw a 4-inch offering. Slowly retrieve these baits, inching them back to shore. Large jigs tipped with 3- or 4-inch pork trailers maneuvered in a similar fashion will produce fish, you just have to be patient.
During summer, that smaller bait should be in and out of the water in thirty seconds. However, with the winters' climactic changes, you must now leave the larger bait in the water for as long as three minutes!
A good tip here is to keep your baits warm. I place a few imitations into a plastic bag and keep them in my pocket. This keeps the bait flexible and will work well in frigid water temperatures. Remember small attention to details like that will separate you from the rest of the fishermen, and you will catch more fish.
The key to winter bass fishing is patience. That's not an easy thing for my fellow New Yorkers! But you should give it a try.
Bring some hot coffee and plenty of food for your energy. Remember to dress in layers. Hypothermia is very nasty and is a condition, from first hand experience, I do not recommend!
Charles is a pro angler who fishes the B.A.S.S. Invitational circuit, the RED MAN Northeastern trail and the FOXWOODS trail. He is sponsored by Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk, Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle, Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, Stamina Components and Power Troll Batteries.Winter