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everythingthatswims

Frigid Water, Find Them And Slowwwwwww Down

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Once water temperatures dip to 40 degrees and below, bass become extremely challenging to locate, since they move so slowly. Catching them is honestly the easiest part this time of year, the tough part is making yourself fish slow enough so that when you do find some, they will bite. I went out on a local lake with 2 friends on Sunday, air temps were in the 30s, and water was 38-39 degrees. We know of a few brush piles (we made two of them B)) that will hold them in the winter, so we spent a good bit of time fishing those, anywhere from 20-40' deep. We use a weedless ned rig and fish it painstakingly slow through the piles. It can be a really fun time if you find a brush pile with a lot of fish on it.

 

We didn't catch a ton, maybe a dozen between the three of us, and they were little, but given the conditions, I was happy! The highlight of the day for me, was catching fish in 3 new spots I had never fished before. Fishing that slowly in really deep water is a tough thing to do with confidence, so finding a couple new areas was really rewarding.

 

The ned rig is a vastly underrated bait for cold water.

 

IMG_1831.thumb.jpg.9c65372b197b29edd4d0002b83122e14.jpg She has lipstick on so you know it's cold!

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Winter time is probably when location is the biggest factor. The saying "90% of the fish are in 10% of the water", is no truer than it is now. The nice part is, once you find them and find what they'll eat, you can really just sit in one spot and catch a ton of them. 

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8 minutes ago, Bluebasser86 said:

Winter time is probably when location is the biggest factor. The saying "90% of the fish are in 10% of the water", is no truer than it is now. The nice part is, once you find them and find what they'll eat, you can really just sit in one spot and catch a ton of them. 

Most of the lakes in WV are set up with a ton of winter habitat unfortunately, so it is a challenge to find them in many places. I like going to small lakes where all you have to do is look at a contour map and go get them!

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Great job on finding some December bass. Our local lakes and ponds all crusted over this past week. However, it's supposed to be in the 40's all week, and even over 50 on Friday and Saturday. Hopefully it melts that crust off the water.

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way to go! I love ned rig or fitness worm on sinker slow, get very excited when I feel that tick on rod 👍

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Ned is someone I plan to fish with a lot this winter. 

 

Which brand weedless jig heads do you use? My biggest deterrent to throwing the Ned rig is it getting stuck in everything. I’ve been looking at a few different ones and just haven’t pulled the trigger yet to buy them.

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Owner blockheads are my go to for ned rigging. They have a 1/32 version that helps keep the bait off the bottom so less snags. A light head and buoyant plastic helps to fish the bait properly. You're not jigging but rather swimming the lure. If wind makes control an issue I usually use a small blade bait. Those you can snag no matter what you do but they are effective.

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20 hours ago, Fairtax4me said:

Ned is someone I plan to fish with a lot this winter. 

 

Which brand weedless jig heads do you use? My biggest deterrent to throwing the Ned rig is it getting stuck in everything. I’ve been looking at a few different ones and just haven’t pulled the trigger yet to buy them.

I use the Z Man weedless shroom heads

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On 12/14/2018 at 5:17 AM, The Bassman said:

Owner blockheads are my go to for ned rigging. They have a 1/32 version that helps keep the bait off the bottom so less snags. A light head and buoyant plastic helps to fish the bait properly. You're not jigging but rather swimming the lure. If wind makes control an issue I usually use a small blade bait. Those you can snag no matter what you do but they are effective.

Oh I love a blade bait. Two examples from early early spring this year. :D

19 hours ago, everythingthatswims said:

I use the Z Man weedless shroom heads

Thanks man, I’ll give those a try. Have to order them, nobody locally seems to have them in store. 

1B18B87B-D5E7-4996-8717-9D1CE345D40A.jpeg

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Nicely done report.

 

Yes, there are two major pieces to winter fishing: finding them, and catching them. The last part can be esp tough too, bc it can be really hard to sl-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w-w down enough to get them to commit.

 

And you are right it's bc they "move so slowly". This may seem obvious, but all the UW video I've done really brings this point home. They look like they are swimming through molasses and, in fact, they nearly are. It takes time for them to register the bait, decide its worth "pursuing", and get there. (Although... they if they are appropriately primed in terms of register, they can move plenty quick in a short burst. But, apparently, that's an energetically costly move.)

 

Nice red teeth shot. I've been following this in my fishing, along with some friends, and they can appear any time of year. But it's most frequent, and brilliant, during winter. In really cold water, below 40F, they can be just brilliant scarlet. I've got some hypotheses as to what's happening physiologically, but, found no research that specifically addresses it. Whatever it is, it's not due to crayfish -at least here on my waters.

 

Great report.

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6 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

 Whatever it is, it's not due to crayfish -at least here on my waters.

This is interesting to me as well. People say this all the time, but I’ve watched some video of bass eating crayfish, and they don’t seem to use their jaws/lips to eat them. The crushers inside the mouth for sure get a workout, but the lips? I’ve caught quite a few bass that were clearly feeding on bait fish, but still have bright red or crimson lips. 

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13 hours ago, Fairtax4me said:

This is interesting to me as well. People say this all the time, but I’ve watched some video of bass eating crayfish, and they don’t seem to use their jaws/lips to eat them. The crushers inside the mouth for sure get a workout, but the lips? I’ve caught quite a few bass that were clearly feeding on bait fish, but still have bright red or crimson lips. 

Yes. It's one of those "2 and 2's" that... don't actually go together.

 

Not to say that bass don't eat crayfish, esp in, or around, winter. But, and you are spot-on with your observation that LM's don't use "lips" (premaxilla) to capture crayfish. Apparently, smallmouth's ("smalljaws") do; That's why they have those short jaws in the first place. They give SM's greater mechanical advantage for much greater bite pressure than the longer jaws of LM's can. Smallmouths are more capable "biters", LM's more capable "suction" feeders. This has been borne out behaviorally too, in research on how both species capture crayfish.

 

In my waters, my LMs are mainly piscivorous. And they get red premaxillary tooth pads (and some other locations) during winter, and no broken premax teeth. It seems, at this point, that the colder the water, the brighter the red.

 

 

 

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