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basskng21

Habits Of Winter Bass

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I know that many of the bass in the winter are a lot slower and dont bite as much and you shud also use slower baits. Is there any other habits that they have

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Smallmouth in the Mid South are VERY AGGRESSIVE this time of year!

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Ya, i live in Indiana and in big rivers they hammer every bait they hit. Esp 3in senkos texas rigged wweightless, let it sit for about ten sec and jerk it like a fluke.

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Bass are bass wherever they may be located. Bass being cold blooded are directly affected by the water temperature; the bodies are the same temperature as they water they are in. Cold water slows the metabolic rate down and they need less food, but still must eat to survive. The optimum water or body temperature for bass is 70 degrees, the minimum is about 40 degrees the maximum about 85 degrees.

Cold water you want to get the lure close so they don't need to chase it and offer high protein prey looking lures. Cold water bass will eat lures of all sizes presented to the bass as an easy meal. Like any other seasonal period; the lure should look and act like the prey the bass are targeting.

Tom

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Deeper water and drop offs prove most successful for me in the winter. When you have several warmer days in a row, the bass with become more active and move into shallower water. Not super shallow, but into the 6-8 foot range in my experience. Fish structures, rock piles, trees, etc.

And as said above, slow down. While some presentations/lures work better in colder weather, most will catch fish when fished slower. Natural colored plastics(green/brown) and natural shallow cranks fished slow along structure have worked well for me lately.

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Bass are bass wherever they may be located.

Tom

Any suggestions for finding them in the first place? I have personally never caught a bass in a month that ends in "er" or "ry".

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My advice is to fish the lower 1/3rd of deep structured lakes. The Lakes in NC Texas are experiencing a drought with very low water levels and this helps to concentrate the bass in the lower 1/3rd where they would normally go anyway.

Jan is usually he cold water period in Texas, Feb can signal the start of pre spawn migration; the deeper water where major main lake points intersect any river channel or humps in 35 to 60 feet will hold bass. If the lake has any wood cover in the deep water zone at those depths, spend your time in those areas.

Deep structure spoons, jigs, worms, 6" swimbaits should all work. Watch for diving birds and spoon those fish. Work the deeper breaks with the jigs, worms and sloooow deep swimbaits.

Tom

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Depending on whether you're in a northern climate or southern climate dictates how easily bass are affected by cold temperatures. Florida bass will totally shutoff during a cold front, but northern fish aren't as effected. Generally in wintertime bass relate to the most vertical deep parts of a system. Also avoid current, bass can't expend the energy needed to fight it. My no. 1 tip for winter bass fishing is target spotted or small-mouth bass. They are more acclimated to cold water and are easier to catch.

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WRB, Cotton Neal, thanks for the tips. Looks like relatively good weather tomorrow (Saturday); I'm going out on a lake about three miles from my house which I usually refer to as "Lake Carpvine" due to the fact that whenever the family gets tired of Lil' Nemo the goldfish and flushes him he winds up here; as a result, the carp population is in the billions.

I've caught LMB on Carpvine from time to time, usually on a shaky head/Grande Bass combination in 2 to 5 feet around rocks but cranks and spinners work also. Haven't caught anything on it since early June, though - this is not unusual in NC Texas where a typical day on the lake in Summer can be summed up as "ten thousand boats chasing three fish".

I'm gonna try some jigs around a deep area close to where I've caught fish in the past, a dropoff from a rocky area. Goes down from 3 - 4 feet to around 40 feet. Never had any luck with jigs, but a trip to Bass Pro to get some of those Rage Tail chunks might improve things.

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You fish with your sonar a lot during the cold water period looking for the depth the bait is holding a bass near the breaks. Bass suspended off the breaks in deep water are not active, near the structure they are and those bass are more active. If you don't get bit on the traditional jig, use your shaky head or drop shot rig and fish it deeper on 8 lb FC line anywhere you meter bass at the depth you see them.

Tom

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I decided to limit myself to two techniques: Crankbaits because I'm still working out the kinks in my crankbait rigs, and jigs because I've not been successful with jigs in the past and would like to learn to fish 'em. I got to the lake around noon; it was about 50 degrees, overcast, light breeze. Water temp about 48 degrees. I bought some Rage Tail craws (couldn't find the chunks). I rigged a 3/8 oz jig with the rage tail:

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g200/pscarbor/010712%20Carpvine/IMAG0190.jpg

I was using 10 lb P-Line 100% flouro on a 7 foot MH rod with a wide spool spinning reel for the jig. I threw the cranks with medium action rods, one a Shimano the other a Abu Garcia Veritos, each with 12 lb P-Line flouro.

i decided to fish three areas I'd caught bass in Spring and Summer, two downlake, one mid lake. All three had rocks and dropoffs nearby, so I'd fish the deeper water.

First question for you jig experts: Is the brush guard needed if not fishing brush or weeds? nothing growing around the rocks I was fishing; it seems like the brush guard would be useless, just get in the way.

Anyway, here are some SV shots of the first area:

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g200/pscarbor/010712%20Carpvine/S00140.png

Notice the fish around the dark area on the right. I marked that; it was about 45 feet deep. Nothing on the jig. I cruised around the area - there's a rocky point near; I covered that also with the crankbaits (DD22 and Rapala DT10) and jig; nothing.

The second area was around the dam. I thought I saw a couple of fish around that but there were several others fishing that area so I decided to move on, back to mid lake. The entrance to a cove I got this on the SV:

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g200/pscarbor/010712%20Carpvine/S00145.png

...the cloudy areas looked like bait fish. I cruised those rocks with the two crankbaits for about an hour, casting parallel to shore into 10 to 20 feet of water, bumping the rocks. Again no takers. I thought about throwing a chrome rattletrap or spinner but I'd decided to work on the jig and cranks so I stuck with those.

Then I went back over the area with the jig, fishing it as slowly as i could. I'd let it hit bottom, ouunt off 15 seconds, move it a little bit with the rod, another 15 seconds, etc. After about an hour of that I'd only covered about 100 feet when I got bit, a nice two pounder in abut 15 feet. The bite was VERY subtile, I didn't know I had her until I raised the jig to reposition it.

There was no indication of fish in the area either on the side view or regular sonar, although I did see the bait fish on the SV.

I really like the Rage Tails; lotta action. I picked up some of the shad in addition to the craws, planning on using them next week when the wife and I go on our annual MLK fishing trip. Nice coffee scent, sure made ME want to eat one. The craw looks like it'd be a super C-Rig bait also.

Thanks again to everyone for the tips. I plan to fish jigs more, especially this winter. Pretty miserable being on the water when its cold, makes it tough to be patient. Something I obviously need to work on!

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Smallmouth in the Mid South are VERY AGGRESSIVE this time of year!

OK, I give up. How do I catch these Mid South VERY AGGRESSIVE smallmouth? I've tried a number of techniques (hair jigs, split shot plastic grubs, float-n-fly) in as many small stream locations as I can imagine to find fish (calm eddies near shore, behind bolders in midstream, around brush piles, in deep pools with moderate current, under ledges brushed by current) and NOTHING.

Granted, I've not fished many hours, but I have tried on numerous days in a variety of weather conditions, specifically targeting the last day or two of a winter warm-up and toward the last few hours of daylight, when water temps are at their maximum. Interestingly, the primary reason my interest in fishing was stoked about a year and a half ago is because I wanted to figure out how to catch fish in winter - it has become a technical challenge that has led me to read every fishing book I can get my hands on. So far this winter, and also last, no luck. Although I did catch a few bluegill in late November on two nearby ponds using nymphs and a fly rod. So far as I can tell, the fish just disappear when the water temp drops below 50F, and magically reappear in spring. I don't believe they migrate, but I just can't seem to find them.

Chris in Virginia

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Largemouth bass tend to suspend and wait for the water to warm up even by 5 degrees or so...during a warmfront in winter fish shallow close to deep water.

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Redboat,

You found an absolute jackpot right there. Scanned out at 100 feet, I would say that's definitely baitfish. If you decrease the length out either side, you'll be able to see more detail and should be able to see where the bass are relating to the baitfish. Normally when feeding, the bass will be under the baitfish, which would put them in the area of 20 feet to bottom. I cannot get over how awesome it is to see peoples images from SV.

Brush guard isn't necessary around only rocks, so don't use one if it bothers you. It may help you avoid some snags, but for the most part when you snag in rocks, it will be because the jig is wedged, not because the hook caught something.

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Thanks, Imore. I've used sonar for many years, but until I got my SV last Spring I found them to be of limited use. The SV is awesome!

One clarification I should have made: I cast around the baitfish in the shot but came up blank. The one fish I caught came from about 100 feet away, where neither baitfish nor fish were showing up. Go figure.

There were about 10 other boats in the area; as far as I coould tell I was the only one who caught anything.

I'm considering sutting the brush guards off or way down on some of my jigs.

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I've tried a number of techniques (hair jigs, split shot plastic grubs, float-n-fly) in as many small stream locations as I can imagine to find fish (calm eddies near shore, behind bolders in midstream, around brush piles, in deep pools with moderate current, under ledges brushed by current) and NOTHING.

Not meaning to insult anyone; I think this is an awesome forum - but at some point forums, magazines, DVDs, whatever, break down and you have to get out with somebody who knows how to do it and can show you. In my case I plan to book another couple of trips with a guide I know. My buddy and I went out with him summer before last; I can't tell you how much I learned just watching that guy!

Also helps to have face to face critique. I've been fishing for many years; Marc (the guide) immediately spotted one little thing I was doing incorrectly (working lures too fast). That one tip alone was worth the price of the trip.

So get a guide, go out, let him show you. Best way to learn!

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That is weird. You would think with that buffet, at least a couple bass would be relating to them almost all of the time. I guess that's why it's so important to actually be out there fishing!

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That is weird. You would think with that buffet, at least a couple bass would be relating to them almost all of the time. I guess that's why it's so important to actually be out there fishing!

I had decided when I went out to restrict myself to jigs mainly. I could have tried a chrome rattletrap dropped under the bait fish, then pulled through them, or a spinner. Or even a spoon; any of those may have worked better than the jig. The jig didn't work in that area, though.

I should also mention, that particular lake has had a hard year. Due to drought it is down four feet and a record hot summer produced several fish kills. Then there's the intense fishing pressure of an urban lake in the South; in the spring the banks are lined and a couple hundred bass boats run all up and down it.

There were ten or twelve other boats fishing the same general area; as far as I could tell nobody caught anything. Given all that I was satisfied catching anything.

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Restricting yourself is a good idea. I going to try and become more effective with some different tactics this season, and it will probably take a few trips just like that. Anytime you catch fish like that, it's a bonus, especially in winter. Next time you get out and get some shots with SS, post them up with a story again. I'm living vicariously through you Southerners until this ice melts away!

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The one most important thing to remember when winter fishing is when you think your fishing slow enough slow down even more and then you might be fishing slow enough.I take up to 5 to 7 mins per cast when jig fishing in the winter

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