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Laggyman

Winter fishing. Slower and Smaller??

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Am I supposed to go Slower and Smaller as it gets colder? Or Slower and Bigger??

I got confused when I read that Bass in the winter don't eat something that doesn't look "enough" to last for a while.  

Until I read that article I had been using smaller baits (3in stuff) with "some" success.....

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I do fish slower in colder weather.  During winter, I switch over from the "action tail" to finesse worms.  I use Zoom black/red flake in 7 inch and a shade of dark and light green in 3 inch.  I fish them weightless.  I have had bites on both.  

I have heard a lot of guys say they do use smaller worms in colder weather. But, it's worth a try throwing out a larger worm; you may get a larger fish.  Can't hurt anything to just try.

As far as crankbaits and the other lures, I have not down-sized them.

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This relates to pond fishing,i tend to catch more on jig and pigs and larger inline spinners like

mepps aglias with squirrel tails.

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I often slow roll big spinner baits in the winter.        From personal experience, I have caught just as many fish on a 3/4 trap as I have a 1/4 oz trap when burning them above winter grass in Tx.  And thats kinda of reaction bites.

Larger bass would rather eat one good size meal and save energy than eating 3 smaller meals and working for it.     Because of this, my belief is still "bass are very opportunistic in the winter and will take ANY easy meal that is put in their faces for easy dining.

I always slow down in the winter when working plastics, and as most say, when you think you've slowed down, then slow down even more, which sometimes means letting your bait set for a minute before the slightest movement is imparted to the bait.

In winter time, we add a 2nd skirt to alot of jigs because the bulkiness slows the fall rate down, but offers a larger profile, and we add pork instead of plastic trailers, pork give more life to the jig in colder water.

I think you should stick to what your confident with, or what has worked for you.

Slower I agree with, going smaller is preference.      Your best bet to catch your PB is when the females are developing her eggs for spring, and winter is a prime time for big trophy bass, and I like bigger baits for bigger bass.

Matt.

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I tried 4in Senkos today but the fish only nipped at the tail end and I couldn't get a hookset.  They usually clobber the 4in worms...

Time to downsize for me I guess.... Or maybe with the stocked trout I should try insanely huge baits....

Whichever way I go, SLOW!!!

Ok, got that  :)

I was fishing a tad fast today I guess.

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we add pork instead of plastic trailers, pork give more life to the jig in colder water.

Pork as in bacon and pig fat? Serious question, guys.

No, pork as in "Uncle Joshes pork frogs"  You buy them in a little jar.  They are shaped just like plastic trailers, but are actually made out of pig.  They make a large variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

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The secrete to knowing rather or not to try to use large or small baits is a matter of knowing your fish, and your lake. These are two of the most important parts of the FLP formula.

Know your fish! What is it that these fish have done in the past in simular conditions? What do these bass do with water temps like those you are faced with? How do the bass react to water clarity like those you are faced with?

Know your location! What types of forage do these areas provide? What is the class fish in that lake? What types of cover are available? And one of the most important, what is the water clarity?

THESE TWO PARTS OF THE FLP FORMULA GO HAND IN HAND! Also these two parts will determine your Presentation.

F(fish, or what you know about the fish)

L(location, what you know about the location)

P(presentation, how you match your presentaion to the fish and its location)

F+L+P=Success!

Oh and as a rule of thumb, clear water, go small; dark water, go big! Got it? OK go catch us some fish!

Peter

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Vertical Fishing

On most bodies of water in winter we're looking at a vertical situation as far as cover types go. To explain: Bass usually move deeper during the winter months. On some lakes that may mean they pull into creek channel foe the winter.

On other lakes, where everything is pretty well shoreline-related, they might move to steeper banks, 45-degree banks or bluffs, which are the areas where they're probably going to spend the winter.

One thing you can just about bet on is that wintertime bass are going to be close to deep water. I'm not saying you can't catch them shallow because if you get a few nice days during the winter some of the fish will move up. They may also get on shallow targets next to deep water.

Keep deep water and a slow retrieve in mind, and you'll be a little better off during winter months.

Fish on the Bottom

When I'm fishing during the wintertime, I usually relate to the bottom. That's where I'm trying to find the bass I'm not looking for suspended winter fish. I'm looking primarily for fish that are relating to some type of structure, whether it is a brush pile or a treetop that has been put on the bottom. For some reason, rock cover is very attractive to bass in the colder water situations. Some of my best winter fishing has been on steep rocky banks.

Remember that deep is relative to the part of the country you're fishing. Five feet may be deep on some Florida lakes while in the Midwest you could be looking at a 25- to 30- foot zone.

The weight of the jig you fish should change with depth. If I'm looking at the 5-foot zone, a heavy jig could be 3/8 ounce. If I', looking at 25 feet, I'm probably going to be looking at a ½ ounce bait.

Fish Slowly

I want to get that bait down to the fish. I want to maintain contact with the bottom. Try to crawl the bait along the bottom in short spurts, basically dragging it. You don't want to sweep it off the bottom like you would during the summer.

To repeat: winter jig fishing means a slow, tedious retrieve with pauses between movements of the bait. Often that's what it takes to get some of the sluggish wintertime bass to bite.

Keep in mind that the bass are well grouped this of year. It can be a long time between bites, but when you get a fish to hit, there are probably a bunch of them down there. So stick with it.

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Ooo Great advice Catt and Peter. Thanks.

I want to get that bait down to the fish. I want to maintain contact with the bottom

Are you saying here that it is generally better to drag a bait along the bottom instead of hopping them around?

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I'm not says it's generally better to drag a bait along the bottom instead of hopping them around. I'm saying it's totally better, with the exception of suspending jerk baits/crank baits or Rat-L-Traps. Even when slow rolling spinner bait, most people believe slow rolling spinner bait is simply retrieving spinner bait slow.

The technique of slow rolling is to keep the bait close to the bottom, following the bottom contour; this is accomplished by slowing your retrieve to the point the bait is barely vertical and the blade/s barely turning.

I do not adhere to the small bait theory during winter fishing but install believing it's easier to maintain bottom contact with larger/heavier baits.

This again depends on water depth

Shallow water lighter weight or no weight

Deeper water heavier weight

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Okay!

So that means jigs, T-rigs and C-rigs are the norm for winter fishing eh?? I should have squeezed in a bit more practice during summer  :-[  

What do you think of Drop-shotting during the winter?? Would the Bass shy away from a wildly shaking bait?

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no, remember, it is moving but not in relation to the horizontal OR vertical water colum.  I would suggest, as Catt touched on, that you keep it cloer to the bottom than normally.

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One must keep in mind lure size/depth is not relevant as long as the lures fall rate and the retrieval rate is slow. This can be accomplished by a smaller/lighter lure or modifications to a larger/heavier lure as mention above.

Simplicity is the key so K.I.S.S.

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Ok I think I've got a pretty good idea of what I should do and what not.

Always appreciate the help!

I should hammer K.I.S.S in my head. I always think things complex beyond needs as a few of the forum members have already noticed  ;D

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Ahmen to Catt and LBH, they are spot on! Think of this here is a bit of the f in the FLP.

F- as the water cools it slows the fishes metabolism. Bass are cold blooded and as things like cold go that means that the colder the water the less movement. They will relate much more heavily to the bottom of the lake because it is les trouble for them to do this than it is for them to fill their air bladder and suspend. It is al part of the Calender period of a fishes year. Once water temps drop below 50 degrees they begin to become lethargic and will relate to bottom cover and structure. They will still take horizontal presentations but are more likely to take it if you can keep it slow. Imagine having a cold, if its too much trouble to do something you don't do it!

P- One of the ways that you can keep a slow presentation and maintain constant bottom control is with a carolina rig. There is a great write up about this technique on this site. I would suggest a floating soft plastic when usin this pres. but thats just me. Oh and try a drop shot it might be a hot pattern we didn't think of.

When you asked if bass would avoid a wild shakey fast presentation the answer is that it depends. If the fish is shallow sunning in the flats then go for it! Also remember that these types of lures (cranks, spinners, chatterbaits and buzz baits) are generally used as reaction baits.

My father can work a deep diver slower than most guys do a worm and it works for him. If you want to try throwing a deep diver and when it makes the bottom contact stop the lure and let it sit, then reel until you make bottom contact, and let it sit, do this for your entire retrieve. This is one of those great family secretes so enjoy! Oh and this works for floaters and suspending baits, try both to see what they like the best.

L- Know the lake make up to find where these fish are holding, and what the water temp is and how it affects the fishes behavior.

Good luck, and go get em'!

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People who consistently catch bass use simple techniques to perfection!

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Catt, I couldn't agree more. Keep in mind what Catt has just said there Laggyman, it is not about the myriad of thechniques you use but how you use those techniques! That is so key to fishing success! Knowing the correct way to use a technique and then putting it into practice until you are an expert at its useage. In FLP formula that I have been preaching it is not about knowing some secrete technique, but instead knowing when to use techniques that you are proficent at. The best lure in your tackle box is between the ears! Get to know the fish and then learn when to use those techniques you hav mastered. I know some guys that catch plenty of bass and only use two techniques.

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Yes. THis year I had been trying to learn the proper way to fish a T-rig and Jigs.  I have had quite a bit of success with the T-rig but little on the jig.

Next year I'm going to keep up with the T-rigs and Jigs. I'm having much better time on the water (Even if it isn't a productive day) if I have a lil' goal set beforehand.

Next year I swear I'm going to keep those Senkos hidden away until last resort and stick to Creature n Crawfish baits on T-rigs!  I've been stocking up on them for that reason. I have a couple of other baits I want to be able to fish (Such as the C-rig) but those will come later on after I get the hang of the T-rigs and Jigs.

Thanks for your help guys. This is great. I have it all bookmarked for easy access :)

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Laggyman are you proficient in micro soft word?

You could then do as I have done copy and paste the replies that best suit your style of fishing. The save them in your computer and copy to a disc for future use.

First you might want to ask Glenn if it's ok.  

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Hey sounds like a great idea!!

I'm going to have to find a long rainy Sunday to do it though.. I've got sooo much stuff to copy and paste  ;D

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In the winter you should go bigger and very slow.

I like to use jigs with bg skirts and a 3 to 4 inch pork rind.

Sometimes you should use plastic in clear water.

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Out west, we have lots of lakes with deep and clear or stained water.  The baits of choice in winter seem to be swimbaits, suspending ripbaits, jig & pig,  white spinnerbaits, and drop shotting plastics.  Steady retrieve on the swimbait, long pauses on the ripbaits, very slow jig fishing, slow rolling white spinners, and the drop shot, just sit there and shake it.  In the delta, where the water is murkier and shallower, guys seems to use reaction type baits more so than in the lakes.  

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