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Lard_Bass

When morning water is cold, fish shallow or deep?

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I am headed out tomorrow morning at sunrise.  Air temp around 41 degrees and warming up to 67 by afternoon.  A cold front just moved in here on Friday.  I typically fish the coves in the morning and cast towards shore.  I use topwaters and some shallow cranks.  I was wondering where you guys would fish and what lures you would use?

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The air temp dropping doesn't necessarily mean the water temp dropped enough to effect the fish.  I would probably fish the same I have been but perhaps slow the retrieve a bit.  If nothing happened then I would try deeper water until the surface temp warmed up.  

It's hard to give advice on lures because I fish worms/jigs and flukes 90% of the time.  I tell myself that if I can't catch them on the soft plastics then they wouldn't have bit on any other bait, which I'm sure is not true but I just have high confidence in them.  

That's my opinion though so wait for other suggestions.....

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A sudden drop in air temp may or may not move the fish from their original places...but it may very well make them tougher to catch.  If it was me I would fish the same very slow and patient, maybe take out a worm and go flipping around in your favorite cove and see where that gets you.  No matter what you do tho it may be a tough day out on the water, good luck =)

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The last 2 times I have been out it has been just after the passing of a cold front.  I had been on a spinnerbait/buzzbait bite for a few weeks.

The cold front did not move the fish out.  It did cause them to quit the buzzbait.  The last 2 trips have produced 41 bass with only 1 coming on a buzzbait.  Before that it was about 50/50.

One thing I noticed is that the fish are tighter to cover than they were and hit spinnerbaits only if they are a few inches from or right in the bushes and roots.

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The last 2 times I have been out it has been just after the passing of a cold front. I had been on a spinnerbait/buzzbait bite for a few weeks.

The cold front did not move the fish out. It did cause them to quit the buzzbait. The last 2 trips have produced 41 bass with only 1 coming on a buzzbait. Before that it was about 50/50.

One thing I noticed is that the fish are tighter to cover than they were and hit spinnerbaits only if they are a few inches from or right in the bushes and roots.

Time to throw those jigs, Jig Man! ;)

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I have found that it take about 3 days for a bass to adjust to the front. Fish will be tight to cover when the front moves through waiting for better conditions before the front they do feed up. Fronts are not the end of the world and personally I like fronts because it positions the fish in the cover and takes most of the guess work out of the equation. The strike zone will be small and you might need to put the bait in front of them several times to tempt them. Slow down and bump the cover if your throwing cranks and spinnerbaits. If jigs and worms are what you want to throw make perfect pitches in the heart of the cover and work the area slow and methodical.

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Suspending jerk baits   ;)

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I typically fish right after the first cold front. down here in NC the fish start chowin down for winter right after this first cold snap. In the lake I fish in the fish eat topwater and fake worms. don't know about the fish where you live but here right after that cold snap its like spring feeding. everything works. Hope this helps.

JOE

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Because your in Pittsburgh ! This is just a first wave account (cold front) . This cold front with 20 mph winds is not a charm. Fish hold tight for whatever reason . The fish back off on Cold fronts > I don't know why?  Sunday following the front fish started back up slowly as the calm day progressed. This is not a sustained cold temp. ( 4-5days) and only effects the first two ft. You got time yet before a sustained cool temp. sets in and causes turnover. Fish slower on the following or calm day that follows.  

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If it's the fall and temps have been steadily dropping in small increments for the last month or so, I like to jig the rock piles that get sunlight.  It seems the radiant heating going on via the boulders draws fish in.

When the temp drop is more drastic and is somewhat more significant, the bass will suck up in their favorite comfort areas around the structure.  When they are like this, you all but have to shove it in their mouth but keep fishing because when it breaks, the bite is on, those fish are going to want to eat after being tight lipped for a bit.

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Fall transition is more than colder air, it's shorter day light hours and signals the bass to migrate to their winter locations. The bass should be following and looking for baitfish and beginning to school up on outside structure. If your lake has shad, then target the shad schools. Crawdads are also migrating to deeper water and make good bite size meals. The key to fall transtion is cover water and targeting the middle to lower 1/3 of the lake in general. You might want to look back over your shoulder and fish deeper water and along the banks on the windward side (down wind) between points, the points and anything along creel channels like humps that hold bass. Crank baits, spinner baits, jigs, soft plastic all work well.

Frontal conditions are a normal season factor that doesn't bother the bass a much as the fisherman.

WRB

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Thanks all for the advice.  I hit the lake and got skunked.  There was a heavy fog when I got on but I started seeing some fish hit the surface so I tried a topwater.  No luck.  A buddy of mine got a dink on retrieiving a husky jerk so I switched to Mann's -1 crank.  No luck. Then i thought I saw a small school of fish feeding, drove the canoe out to the middle of the lake, and threw a fluke.  I got a solid hit but couldn't set the hook.  Action died and couldn't find them.  Then I hit a big fallen tree in the water.  I threw a topwater, fluke, jig, toad and worm around it.  Nada.  Then I started slowly back to a launch ramp and threw a Rat-L-trap.  Skunked.

A bad day at the lake is better than a good day in the office.  

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I don't know if you're confident with Rapala X-Raps (or Lucky Craft Pointers), but when the bite is tough, especially in spring and this time of year, try one out.  If the water is clear, try an all white or white with blue back (or if smallies white/pink back is my fav), or if the water is stained, my favorite is clown color, and experiment with retrieves in water around 12' or less.  You don't even really have to target visible structure - just move along the shore (and try different distances from shore) and toss it in all directions.  I've never come across a situation where a steady retrieve works better than a jerky-twitchy retrieve, and I always start out with a very aggressive and fast twitchy retrieve with pauses at certain intervals.  If you can't get a bite with the aggressive approach, try lessening the force of your twitches and increasing the pause in between.  This pattern works really well when you find schools of baitfish as well, most of the time better than topwaters.  You'd be surprised how far off the bottom a fish will come to slam an X-Rap.  The only problem with X-Raps is that I find I catch smaller fish in general with them.  If you're lookin for the big ones a jig is the ticket, but personally, when the bite is tough, I'd rather catch a bunch of smaller fish than fool around all day with a jig to try to get a big one or two.  Still workin on my jig fishing.

Anyway, give the ole X-Rap a try next time.  It's one of my most confident baits and if you give it a shot I'm pretty sure it'll become one of your favorites.

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Tokyo,

Thanks for reminding me.  I completely forgot to throw an x-rap.  I have a clown and white/white ones.  I didn't even think about throwing it out there.  I figured if I only got one solid hit on a fluke, the x-rap wouldn't be much better.  

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