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Catt

Winter time bass fishing

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Think Vertical

Think Deep

Think Bottom

Think Slow

During the winter months there are certain conditions one must pay attention to if one wants to be productive.

The first is stability as in stable weather; I don't care what the ambient temperature is as long as the weather has been stable for 3 or 4 days. In order to take full advantage of stable conditions one must have the ability to pick and choose the days you fish.

The second is the bass itself; a bass's metabolism is finally tuned to its circulatory system temperature which is the same as the surrounding water temperature. In cold water their metabolism slows down, their brain slows down, so the bass slows down. In cold water a bass's instincts are less finely tuned, it has less appetite and it mostly stays suspended at or near the bottom.

It is fairly easy to catch bass in cold water, if you can find them and if you use the right techniques. This means putting bait in front of a fish that looks right, sounds right, and smells right. The colder the water, the slower the bass's brain operates so the slower you must present the bait or it's gone before the bass's brain tells it to bite.

The third think vertical; Jigging spoons or the jig-n-pig (pork frog) are probably the two most popular methods. If you want to get into the finesse end of things, fishing a small grub can also be good. But my favorite, naturally, is the jig-n-pig (or craw).

The fourth think deep; 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 for 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.

The fifth think 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.

The sixth 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 time 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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A very good Winter Period synopsis

Roger

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This goes directly into my favorites as well - but I'm still trying to figure out this fall turnover thing . . . . :-?

A-Jay

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A little Lagniappe ;)

Rage Tail Lobster & a Texas Rigged Jig!

100_3711.jpg

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Great Write up Catt! :)

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Thanks Catt!!

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What about us shallow lake Floridians.

Send a request to George Welcome or RoLo ;)

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at what water temp do they start staying deep mostly? i had planned on trying this some this winter, but want to get an idea of what im doing since ill be freezing my arse off. being able to catch some fish would keep me fairly warm,at least mentally.in a lake thats approx 25-30 ft deep with creek channels,where would they likely try to hang at? in the channel,or on the edges? or around humps?

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Thanks Catt! Another wise post. I'm always on the lookout for a thread that has the winking smiley next to it.

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My #1 concern is stable weather which by the way does not mean blue bird skies but weather that is not changing or fluctuating; I actually prefer overcast days which will hold any heat.

Depths will vary depending on weather conditions prior to a planned trip and with stable conditions bass can be found quite shallow even during winter.

I don't like putting numbers on water temperatures or water depths because bass do not follow any rules man tries to apply to them.

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Great post on winter bass location. Absolutely correct in every sense. Please do NOT forget blade baits at this time of the year. If you do, you'll not be tapping into a great opportunity.

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Thanks for the timely post, Catt!  It's time to start thinking about Winter strategies.  

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If Catt doesn't mind, most southern bass that reside in deep bodies of water go deep for two reasons  in colder water.

1.  the bait is there

2. deeper water allows a bass to move up or down in the water column to adjust for sudden pressure changes, ie.... the many cold fronts passing every few days.  Bass that live in the shallow part can't adjust, thus inactive for days.

    One word Catt didn't mention is dead sticking, the art of just letting the bait set there with no movement imparted to the bait at all.

   Dead stick a spoon about a foot or two  or more below a pod of bait and let it sit there.   It will look natural to the bass, shad die very slow, and in the winter, water is at its densest point, which means things sink slower, so a dying shad will take minutes to sink slow, thus dead sticking spoons and other baits slow is key sometimes.

I also don't think bass feed on shad the same way they do in warmer temps.   Instead of chasing and corralling the bait, they just follow the pods and wait for the shad to die off and sink, the shad hatched in late August or even Sept. most likely will not make the winter,  thus bass don't have to work for meals, they let them sink to them, using as little energy as possible.   So you can see tiny baits work as well.

    I know KVD has a Sexy Spoon in !!!

   

   

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Excellent thread.

Out west we tend to fish deep and slow as suggested for winter nearly year around as the bass tend to stay deep most of the year.

Two additions to the winter presentations are top water and deep suspended bass relating to large schools of prey fish away from structure.

Where jigs , structure spoons, tail spinners and soft plastics fished deep and slow or dead stick as mentioned for structure related bass, the suspended bass are more difficult to locate and catch.

The best lures for both top water and deep suspended bass are swimbaits; surface wake baits like the Lunker Punkers and deep slow swimmers like the Basstrix paddle tail minnow type lure.

Bird watching, deep divers, is your best bet to locate these main lake deep water bass.

Take your time, slow down and enjoy your day on the water.

WRB

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Matt & WRB  

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I have a two day this weekend. It is supposed to be in the mid 30's Sunday morning :D Talk about winter fishing is depressing as I have a firm and fast rule. When the water is too hard to launch I am done until spring.......unless you southern boys want some company :)

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