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NC_Bass6

Desperately Looking For A Producing Winter Bait.

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i am in kind of a pickle at the moment. i have been using every "winter bait" i can think of. nothing has been producing for me. ive thrown countless jigs, senkos, crawling a rattle trap, and a few lizards. i cant catch anything with them. the lake im fishing is small, as in i can do a lap around it fishing from shore, and is maybe 15ft deep at its deepest point. the water is stained due to rain, maybe a foot or two visibility, but is normally pretty clear. what would you recommend i use? i was thinking of finally learning the dropshot and using it on a very short leader. let me know if you have any other ideas.

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Back when I was bank bound, swimming a grub was my last resort method.  Count it down to where it is less than a foot from the bottom, but never touching and swim it back.  It seems counter-intuitive, but I would move it at a pretty good clip.  Every so often a reaction bite would happen.

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drop shot a Roboworm! 

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Basically the same baits will work in cold water as warm with the exception of top waters in most cases.

The key is slowing down and downsizing but even that is debatable. I have heard people say go larger because the bass want a large easy meal.

I have fished this winter and done ok and caught them all on the following baits:

X-rap in clown

Square bill crank

DT 10&14

Fluke

Shaky head

Jig

The one commonality is every one I was fishing about as slow as I could take it, to the point of non crank bait baits taking upwards of 5 minutes per cast.

I would say just slow down and watch your line. If you see or feel something different set the hook, they are free :)

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A suspending jerkbait with long pauses will catch winter fish if you have enough patience. Reel it down a few cranks and give it very soft pulls to move it along followed by extended pauses, as long as you can stand, up to a minute if you can wait that long. 15 seconds is all I can manage and I have to know there's fish there to do that but that's usually long enough. 

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Your problem is the bass are not active when they are very cold. Unless this pond has a warm water source like underground spring, the small volume of water is the same temperature top to bottom until the water gets about 39 degrees, then the colder water floats to the surface and freeze at 32 degrees.

The cold blooded bass slow way down and don't need much food to survive during the winter cold water period, they rarely eat anything.

Basically you are trying to catch bass that have no interest in lures 99% of the time. Things will change when the water warms up to the upper 40's.

Tom

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T Rig a big worm, and work it slow. If that doesn't work, go to a 5-6" worm. Try Tequila sunrise or a watermelon color.

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The winter bite can be super tough. Sometimes you just ain't gonna get bit.

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Silver Buddy.

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when i would fish my uncles pond in the winter i never had any success with soft plastics no matter how slow i fished them, so i avoided even using those all together. what worked for me is a rapala husky jerk fished really slow like bluebasser86 described above. also i found that shallow diving cranks like a Manns -1 slow rolled also worked well for me. that husky jerk had been virtually useless to me until i tried it in cold water. the colors that worked best for me were silver with an orange breast on the jerk bait and silver with a red breast on the shallow diving cranks. of course my uncles pond wasnt 15ft deep either it was more shallow, like 7-8ft deep...

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I would definately creep some swim baits along near the bottom. Try big & small ones til u find a preference. When i was shore bound i would catch them in ponds on a Yum minnow after freezes  slooooow rolling it.

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When its cold and tough, I'm only tying on:

 

Suspending jerk bait

Blade bait

slim senko type thing.

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Silver Buddy.

 

Ditto. Suspending jerks would not be a good idea in heavily stained water. But if you can see down 2' - 3', then I'd give them a go as well. Nothing wrong with the drop shot either in winter.

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A suspending jerkbait with long pauses will catch winter fish if you have enough patience

This is one of my top three techniques in winter. Find the Steepest bank on the lake, and throw parallel to it. The bank should be at least a 45 degree angle.

 

The winter bite can be super tough. Sometimes you just ain't gonna get bit.

I question your dedication, sir!!!! hahaha

 

Silver Buddy.

YES! I fish the Northern Chesapeake Bay quiet often, and the ol' Silver Buddy (blade bait) is the premier technique. Find videos from Pete Glusek about fishing the SB in winter.

 

also i found that shallow diving cranks like a Manns -1 slow rolled also worked well for me.

Dont be afraid to fish shallow. Bass in winter will be shallow, but not necessarily relateing to cover. cover water quickly with a balsa squarebill (no rattle). Dont reel to slowly either, you are still looking for a reaction strike!

 

When its cold and tough, I'm only tying on:

 

Suspending jerk bait

Blade bait

slim senko type thing.

I agree with the first two. My number one-of-all-time winter tactic is BURNING a chrome rattle trap. You might want to yo-yo it as well. Dont be afraid to fish it overly aggressive. Winter temps often produce a baitfill kill. Bass might be used to seeing shad flutter down to the bottom. Thats where a silver buddy comes in. yo-yo it on the bottom.

 

The shallowest bass i ever caught was in 8" of water, next to a tree... in February. I grew up in northern New Jersey. This lake was all frozen; just this one little flat with one tree on it was thawed. and i caught that bass on a jig. I grew up in Jersey, you live in North Carolina. Our two opinions on "tough" winter fishing might be a little different. Good luck!

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May I suggest a flat sided chartreuse with black or light brown back crankbait?

Fish normal retrieve or slower on a spinning rig with 8 pound floruocarbon line.

Good luck.

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HAIR JIG, cold water screams hair jig, 2-3' visibility is not that bad, hair jig, blade bait, and suspending jerk bait.

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Well I was having the same problem..and a buddy of mine told me he fished nothing but small baits. Like 2 inch grubs and little crappie tubeson a beetle spin...I've been using storm 2 and 3 inch minnows and doing decent..well a lot better than I was but its still slow..winter is just a slow time for fishing..they just aren't as active in the cold months.

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My winter fishing is limited to the last 2-3 weeks of the season before I put my boat away, and the first 2 weeks or so after ice out untill the water starts making noticable gains in water temp. The temp ranges in the fall/winter period I fish are usually the high to mid 40's, and in the spring from the high 30's to mid 40's. Baits that have worked well for me on both ends of those periods have been small 3"-4" plastics on a drop shot, shakey head worms, small mid- deep diving crankbaits, finesse jigs, and a grub slow rolled on a jig head. Stuff that works better for me in the spring with rising water temps have been lipless cranks, suspending jerkbaits, and small shallow running cranks. Stuff that works better for me in the fall/winter with falling water temps,have been tubes, football jigs, small plastics rigged on a wacky jig, and smaller flipping jigs, and plastics in what remaining heavy grass cover is left. I have not yet been much of a silver buddy/blade type bait kind of guy, but know it works for alot of people, it's something I deffinatly want to try and get a feel for.

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HAIR JIG, cold water screams hair jig, 2-3' visibility is not that bad, hair jig, blade bait, and suspending jerk bait.

 

 

 

 

There is nothing like a floating fly rig, or a hair jig, you can't beat it for cold water conditions, or cold front conditions, when the bite is tough or slow these rig's always work if you find the fish first.

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silver buddy

 

Give the Sworming Hornet/LFT Live Magic Shad a try, too!

 

Cast and let the lure hit the bottom. Reel up quickly, then fall again on slack line. 

Repeat until you feel you are out of the zone. Keep the rod steady and pointing up.

Do not pump the rod, that just moves the lure forward.

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when cold water fishing is slow, a crappie jig and a road runner are hard to beat.

bo

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