Top Baits For Each Season | How To Catch Bass

How-To Fishing Videos
Dive into the world of bass fishing with our detailed guide on selecting the perfect lures for every season. Learn the nuances of bass behavior and how it influences lure choice, size, and color throughout the year. From the slow-paced winter fishing with jigs and soft plastics to the active summer topwater and spinnerbait action, discover the best strategies for every seasonal transition. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned angler, gain insights on adapting your approach to match bass feeding patterns, weather changes, and habitat shifts. Elevate your bass fishing game and stay ahead of the curve with expert tips from BassResource.

The Baits

Yamamoto Senko -

YUM Dinger --

Big Bite Baits B2 worm --

Roboworm Straight Tail Finesse Worm --

Rebel Pop-R -

Heddon Zara Spook -

Strike King Premier Pro-Model Spinnerbait --

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap --

Booyah One Knocker -

Cotton Cordell Super Spot --

Freedom Tackle Structure Jig --

Strike King Tour Grade Finesse Football Jig --

Kalin's Hand-Tied Marabou Jigs --

VMC Dominator Marabou Jig --

Outkast Tackle Feider Fly Marabou Jig --

Big Bite Baits 3.5" tube --

Bomber Model 5A and 6A Crankbaits --

Norman DD22 -- 

Dixie Jet Original Flutter Spoon -- 

Hopkins Shorty Hammered Treble Hook Spoons --

Rapala Original Floater -

Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk Jerkbaits --

River2Sea Whopper Plopper --

Strike King Rage Bug --

Strike King Rage Tail Toad --

Snag Proof Bobby's Perfect Frog --

Storm Chug Bug  -


All right. So, you wanna know which lures to use for each season for bass fishing? We have a lot to cover, so let's just get right into it. The first three things you kinda wanna keep in mind while I talk through all this is, number one, do you really have to use specific lures for each season? Number two, what is the best month to go bass fishing? And number three, what is a good strategy to deviate from the norm? All right. So, let's talk about seasons real quick. As humans, we like to take the whole calendar and break it into four seasons. Bass, not so much. Bass seasons are dictated by bass behavior, and there's a lot of seasons. And those behaviors are going to dictate lure selection, lure size, lure color, and even your presentations.

So, let's take winter, for example. Let's just start there. The apex of winter, dead of winter. That's probably the easiest because the water temperature is at its coldest. There's two things that you have to keep in mind here. Number one, with the water being so cold, the bass metabolism is really slow. It's at its slowest. For example, in the summertime, they may eat as much as 10 times per day. Well, in the winter, it might be once every 10 days. So, just by virtue of that, when you're fishing, you're presenting your lure to a lot less bass that are actually feeding. So, you're gonna get less bites just because of that. So, keep that in mind. The second thing also is, all the baitfish and the forage that the bass feed upon are really lethargic. They're moving very slow this time of year. And a lot of it is just self-preservation.

For example, there's a lot of baitfish there, especially down south, shad species, that when the water temps gets below 45, they're struggling to stay alive. They start dying off. So, they're just trying to conserve energy. So, they're not gonna move a whole lot. And when they do, they're gonna move very, very slowly. Crawdads, they seek warmer areas. A lot of times, the bottom of the river or the lake, the silt is warmer. So, they burrow up into that to stay warm. A lot of people think crawdads hibernate. No, that's not true. But they do burrow up in the mud like that just to conserve energy. So, everything is moving slow.

So, if you throw a fast-moving bait, like a crankbait or a spinnerbait, something really fast, that's gonna look out of place. It's gonna look unnatural. And it's not something the bass are accustomed to feeding on during that time of year. So you're not as likely to get bit. So, you've really got to slow down, match the hatch, and your presentations have to be really slow. That's gonna dictate your lure choice. Basically, at this point, we're talking about stuff that you drag on the bottom or slightly off the bottom, with the exception of one lure. And we'll get to that in a second. But your bread and butter this time of year is gonna be the jig, and not just your regular bass jig, the full-size silicone skirt jig. I'm talking about two other jigs.

One is the finesse jig and the other is the hair jig. These two compact jigs get more bites for me during the wintertime than the full-size jigs. Again, you're moving them very, very slow. The hair jig, for example, just sitting in place, not even moving. Those hair follicles are just ever so slightly moving, and it makes the bait just look alive, enough that you're just sitting there. A lot of times, the bass will come up and suck it up off the bottom, even though it's set there for a minute or more. I mean, your pauses between movements are gonna be a lot longer than your movements. Just keep that in mind. So, your jig is gonna be your number one bait. Soft plastic, you know, your Texas rig plastics, you can put them either on a bullet sinker or behind a Carolina rig, for example. Those work really well dragged on the bottom.

Soft plastic stick baits, I'd put those behind as drop shot or a split shot rig. You can put them with a Texas rig as well, you know, a bullet sinker. And then your finesse baits as well. Those will work well during this time of year. The small finesse worms, reapers, little 3-inch swim baits, tubes, you know, those type of things behind the split shot and drop shot rig, those are gonna work really well.

Another bait that you can use also is a jigging spoon. Now, a jigging spoon, that mimics one of those dying baitfish. So, you actually jig it up and down. It works really well. You flutter it off the bottom. And you can also use it for bass that are suspending. They do this a lot during this time of year. They suspend out over deep water. And sometimes that's the only way to get to them, is with a jigging spoon. You bring it right down into that school of bass. That one, the deviation is that you're not dragging this on the bottom, but you're jigging it up and down.

Now, for lure colors, this makes it pretty easy. With a jigging spoon, you're trying to imitate a baitfish, so it's gonna be either gold or silver. That's it. You're done. You don't need to choose any other colors. For the baits on the bottom, your number one color 90% of the time is gonna be black. Why? Well, you're typically fishing deeper water, deeper than 15, 20 feet. Sometimes you're going as deep as 55 feet deep. Light penetration is not good at those depths, so all the colors that become muted and different shades of gray, black is gonna stand out the most. It's gonna have the biggest contrast against the bottom of the lake. And so it's gonna be easiest for the bass to see. So, black is gonna be your go-to color. If you happen to be fishing a clear water lake and the bass aren't that deep, so you do get some light penetration, then your green pumpkins and your shades of brown would be another choice for color. But that's it. There really isn't gonna be any colors this time of year.

Now, as we move to spring, we've got this period now. Some people call it late winter, some people call it early spring. It's the same time period we're talking about. What designates that time period is when the water temps just begin to move up from their coldest point during the year. You see just that little bit of movement. The days are a little bit longer. We've gone past the winter solstice now. We're about a month or so after that, maybe two months. And the length of the day and a little bit of warming, that signals the bass that we need to start feeding up for the spawn. So, they'll start to move up from those deep areas they were in and it will be shallower than where they were, not shallow. And we're not talking pre-spawn yet. I'll talk about that in a second.

So, here you're talking in that 10 to 20-foot range. Those areas are where you're gonna be fishing, your steep banks and drop-offs. Typically, they have some amount of green weeds in there still they've carried over throughout the winter. That's where these bass are gonna be holding. Now you can focus on using suspending jerkbaits, deep diving suspending jerkbaits. They just sit there and barely move. Again, you're trying to imitate those baitfish that are still struggling in those colder temps. We're talking now of about mid-40s to about 50, at least in my neck of the woods. But you can now start using a little bit faster moving baits such as a lipless crankbait like a Rat-L-Trap or a Booyah, One Knocker. You can also start using a spinnerbait. A large spinnerbait, rolling it really slow on the bottom is a good choice during this time of year.

Again, those soft plastic stick baits, I would still use those behind, you know, a drop shot or a split shot rig to get down a little bit deeper. And the Texas rig baits, you're still gonna be using those. Either you can use a bullet sinker or be on a Carolina rig. And the finesse, you know, especially when they get those fronts that come through, the finesse baits are gonna be your go-to, again, behind a drop shot or a split shot rig. That's gonna be what your mainstay bread and butter is gonna be during this time of year. Color-wise, now you're a little bit further up in the water column, so you get a little more light penetration for your jerkbaits and your deep crankbaits and your Rat-L-Traps. Looking at silver and black, chrome and black, that's basically it.

Spinnerbaits, I go with white, white or chartreuse. And then with your plastics, green pumpkin is gonna rule, but now you can start using watermelon red seed, maybe a little bit lighter color purple, you know, a shade of purple, and your darker, you know, almost black. You can still use the blacks, they're still in play, but I would look more like a dark purple, something with a little bit of tint in it. Those are gonna be your main colors you'll be using during this time of year. And again, your retrieve is gonna be a little bit faster now. You're not so much dead sticking it as much as you were, but it's still real slow going.

Now as we get into spring, there's really three main... You can break spring into three big chunks, your pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn. As that infers, everything about the spring is all about the spawn, and that's what bass are thinking about.

So, in the pre-spawn, they're looking at feeding up, get their bellies full, getting the energy reserved so that they can go spawn. And they're also moving closer to those spawning areas, which would be real shallow flats, backs of coves, those type of things. So, they're not quite up there yet, but they're in staging areas now. They're gonna be on your main points and your secondary points, near flats, steep areas or weedy areas that are a little bit deeper. We're talking 5 to 15-foot deep now, getting ready to move up in the shallows once the water warms up enough. So, that's gonna be where they're congregated. Now you got better light penetration. They're more active feeding now, they are gorging themselves so you can get to faster-moving baits finally. So, it becomes a little more exciting time to bass fish.

Your lures at this time, well, you can shuck the suspending jerkbait and replace that with a floating jerkbait like a Rapala number 11 floating jerkbait. You can use the lipless vibrating crankbaits and shallow to medium diving crankbaits. Spinnerbaits are really good this time of year, so is your soft plastic stickbait. That can be dynamite this time of year. Your Texas rigs plastics are really good as well. So, those are the things I'd be incorporating right now. Your colors are gonna be a little more vibrant, a little more natural-looking. Again with the lipless crankbaits, you can still use that chrome and black back, but now I would start incorporating crawdad colors, your brown crawdads and your red crawdad colors. Your crankbaits, you want the natural shad-looking colors, but also you wanna incorporate some of the colors that are the baitfish in your area.

Perch is really good. When you're up north, a lot of perch start...they're spawning and when the temperatures are in the low 50s, so they're very active, a lot of bass feed on them that time of year. So, perch pattern crankbaits. And also those red shades, anything with red in it works really well for your crankbaits. Your plastics, green pumpkin, red watermelon seed are your bread-and-butter colors that you'd really be throwing a lot this time of year. If the water is really clear, I'd go to a lighter shade of purple, some translucent colors. If I'm throwing finesse baits because you do get a lot of fronts come through and that kind of shuts them down, shuts the bite off, go to those tube baits, those grubs, finesse worms behind split shot rigs and drop shot rigs. If the water is clear, I would be using something more of a translucent color with some pepper flake in there, maybe a little bit of silver or a gold flake in there as well. That works really well. Blacks, again, still work good too. Don't deviate. That's a kind of an underrated color, guys. Black actually works pretty good in a lot of instances or a deep purple.

So, those are gonna be your main colors in your baits during the pre-spawn. Oh, jigs. By the way, don't get away from the jigs. I almost forgot. Jigs. You're using your full-size jigs now. Get away from the finesse jigs and the hair jigs. Now it's your full-size bass jigs. Again, the green pumpkins, the browns, the green hues, peanut butter and jelly works really well. Black and chartreuse is another, that's a tried and proven color combination that works pretty much year-round. So, make sure you're still throwing those jigs.

When you get to the spawn, now the fish, the majority of them are up shallow. I'm not talking just bed fishing here. I'm talking about the beds, yes, but the area around there. A lot of times bass are roaming around the areas in a little bit deeper water. Sometimes the bigger mamas are there, you know, checking out the beds and coming out deeper and hanging out down there. So, don't neglect those areas as well. But your bait selection becomes a little more varied. Now we can start using topwater, for example. So, topwater baits over the top of a bed, especially if they're smallmouth bass, can be explosive, explosive bites. Buzzbaits, particularly, Whopper Ploppers, those type of things can be very productive in these shallow waters. Your lipless crankbaits can be dynamite this time of year. This is where I burn it really fast.

Spinnerbaits are excellent choices as well. Again, your Texas rig, soft plastic lures, your soft plastic stick baits, and your jigs. Do not forget the jigs. Those are really good for flipping and pitching into the cover, in and around the area where the beds are. A lot of fish get up in there and hang out, especially if a good front came through, they might move off the bed just to nearby thicker cover. And that's when a jig or a Texas Rig plastic flipped and pitched into that stuff can work really well. Color-wise, it's pretty much the same that we were talking about before. Your green pumpkins and your watermelon seed with, you know, red seed in it or red flake work really well for your plastics. Your crankbaits, again, your shad colors, your chromes, brown crawdad, red crawdad, those are the colors I'd be throwing right now for your shallow-diving, medium-diving crankbaits, your lipless crankbaits, soft plastic stick baits. I like green pumpkin, that's one of my favorites. And June bug works well if it's really dark outside, we got cloudy days, a lot of wind, I go with the darker colors. And when it's lighter out, I'll go for a lighter, more translucent color. Even a white Senko can work really well during this time of year.

So, those are basically the colors that are gonna be in the baits that I'll be throwing during the spawn. Now, post-spawn, that's about a four-week period after they've spawned. This is the time of year where I'll actually downsize all of my lures. Why? Because a lot of the different fish species have spawned at this point, so there's a lot of fry and fingerlings everywhere right now. The carp have spawned, the perch have spawned, walleye have spawned, bass have spawned, so on and so forth, so there's a lot... Bluegill have spawned. Just it's an abundant amount. So, the bass are just gorging on this abundance of small baitfish. So, I downsize. I'll use a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait, for example, 1/4-ounce jig, the smaller Pop-Rs.

Topwater can be dynamite this time of year because they are gorging on these baitfish. The jigs and your Texas rig plastics, same thing as before. A lot of times, these fish will get up in this cover and they're ambushing baitfish now. So, it's not so much driven by a front coming through, they're feeding. And so flipping a jig, maybe tipped with a crop trailer on it, or throwing a soft, you know, plastic, Texas rig plastic bait, like a Rage Bug or something like that can be really productive. And your vibrating crankbaits, again, they're feeding on baitfish. What better to throw than a vibrating crankbait? Colorwise, you know, again, make sure they're downsized. So, if you're throwing a 1/5-ounce Rat-L-Trap right now, maybe this time of year, you should be throwing a 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap, just for about that four-week period or so. Just smaller baits seem to get better bites during this time of year.

So, colors, the topwater is white, works really well. If you're throwing a frog, topwater frog, the white belly, just as long as it's got a white belly or a Zara Spook that's got a white belly, that's important. It seems to get more bites, for me at least. Your green pumpkins, watermelon red seed, you know, you're hearing a theme here, it's the same colors I mentioned before. It really hasn't changed. The bulk of the fish are still shallow, so we're still using the same colors, just your presentations now are faster. When we get to the end of the spring, we're talking late spring, early summer. Again, depending on who you're talking to, they're talking about the same time period, they just call it a different name. It's either they're gonna call it late spring or early summer, same thing.

Here is when on our forums, they blow up with people saying, "What happened to the bass? Where did they all go?" And people respond, "Well, they all went deep." Let's blow that myth out of the water. That was conventional thinking years ago that all the fish went deep after they spawned. We now know what happens is they spread out. In the summertime, you're gonna find a population of bass that are shallow, another population that's mid-level, and the rest of them will be deep. So, they're covering the entire water column. So, in this period, transition period between spring and summer, they're scattered. They're gonna be at all different depths, getting to those areas where they're gonna set up house and stay for summer. So, in the spring, you had the bulk of the population was all shallow. They were concentrated there. Well, now they're scattering, and so it can feel like they're all gone, like, they just disappeared. And I tried shallow, I can't find anything. I go mid-depth, I can't find anything at all. I'm not very good at fishing deep, so I assume they're all deep. Like, that's kind of the reasoning. That's not necessarily per se, but I'm just giving you an example.

I think that's why a lot of people think they just all go deep. Not true. There's just not as many concentrated in any given water depth. So, keep that in mind. I like to target, right now I think, the fish that are most apt to bite are the ones that are shallow to mid-depth. So, that's the ones I target during this time of year. I still go with the topwater bite. Man, it is really good this time of year. It's probably one of the best time of year to be throwing topwater. So, take your pick of what you like to throw. I like Zara Spooks, Pop-Rs, Buzzbaits, you know, Chug Bugs, frogs are my favorite, you know, and toads. Those are the things I like to throw for topwater. Take your pick. You'll have fun catching fish on them. I love a topwater bite.

Spinnerbaits can be really good. And again, the Senko, you know, and the YUM Dinger and any, you know, soft plastic stick bait can be really good targeting those shallow bass along with the Rat-L-Trap. And now we're moved back up, by the way, in size of the baits, back up to normal size. So, now it's back up to a ½ ounce Rat-L-Trap and a 5-ounce Senko or 5-inch Senko where before I was using maybe a 3-inch Senko or 4-inch Senko during that post-spawn period. Five inches is the standard that you throw throughout the year, except for that one part of the time period.

That's what I'll be targeting, the shallow depths. Again, the jigs and your Texas rig plastics can come into play here, fishing shallow. I like to flip and pitch a lot. So, those work really well. A little bit deeper, you can use your medium diving crankbaits to target them. Again, your jigs can get down to that depth. Don't forget, those Rat-L-Traps and those lipless crankbaits, you can fish them all depths of the water column. So, you can let it flutter down to a certain depth and then reel a little bit slower and keep it down there in that 15-foot range. A lot of people only think they're just for shallow, so they forget you can get it deeper and you can catch a lot of fish deeper because not as many anglers are using lipless crankbaits at deeper depths. So, that's a little ace in your pocket you can use. So, those are the main baits I'll be using targeting those depths. Color-wise, my jigs, I like using brown hues, and green pumpkins. Peanut butter and jelly color is a really good combination. That's one of my favorite.

The Senkos, green pumpkins, and your plastic Texas rig, green pumpkins. Again, a little more translucent if your water is clear and your sunny day, you want a little bit lighter color, a little bit more transparency to it. Conversely, if your water is really muddy and not as much light penetration, you go with a darker color so it has more contrast in the water. Maybe dipping a little bit of chartreuse dye in the tail is a good time this time of year. A lot of bluegills running around and bass will key up on the bluegill during this time of year. If you do get some fronts that come through or the bite tends to die off, again, let's lean on those finesse baits, guys. Don't be afraid of them. Drop shot, split shot, grubs, you know, little small Senkos, your finesse worms, those type of things can be really good when the bite kind of shuts off during this time of year.

All right. Moving into summer. Summer now is the basketball setup house. They've figured out where they're gonna be. Some are gonna be shallow, they're gonna be up in the weeds, the lily pads, they're gonna be in the hydrilla, milfoil, hanging up under docks. So, there's gonna be a population that is gonna be shallow. There's also gonna be a portion of them that's gonna be at mid-depth. So, they're gonna be at the points. They're gonna be in some drop-offs, areas that are, like, ledges, weed lines outside and inside weed lines in that 5 to 15-foot range. And then there's gonna be a segment of them that'll be deeper, hanging off on the humps. If you've got drop-offs and creek channels, those are the things to look for to target there.

Now is the time of year when you can virtually open up your entire tackle box and kind of pick and choose whatever you wanna throw. The summer months are the best times to go bass fishing. They're the most active. And I mentioned before during the winter, they don't feed as much. In the summer, they're feeding a ton and they're very active. So, a lot of times when you're throwing a bait out there, you've got a large population of bass that are hungry and that are actively hunting and that are aggressive. So, you can pick and choose pretty much whatever you wanna throw, which is nice. So, what I do is break it up. What depth do I wanna target today depends on the lake. But shallow topwaters work really well.

Color-wise, bait-wise, look, you're using full-size baits like I mentioned before. Colors are gonna be the same, I just mentioned, so I'm not gonna go through the list again. But your difference here is that you're fishing faster, even at the deep areas. You can drag a Carolina rig at fast speed now in a split shot, a drop shot rig, fish those areas faster. The fish are more active, and so are the baitfish that they're chasing. So, you need to match the activity level of the baitfish. Here's the thing, we're in the spring and a big front comes through, that, you know, affects the fish less and less so they get more to spawn. But a little front that comes through really doesn't affect them that much. Whereas in the summer, you have all of this nice, stable weather, and sometimes it takes just a little fart cloud to come over and it shuts off the whole bite. It's frustrating. So, keep in mind the intensity of the front. Sometimes it may not be much to you, but it could be very meaningful to the bass and shut the bite down. So, make sure you got those finesse tactics at the ready. Those finesse baits I just told you about, make sure you use them when the bite seems a little off.

Now, we wanna transition to fall. There, again, is this period of late summer, early fall. We're talking about the same period. But this is kind of marked by a little bit cooler days now. You may have had the first front come through of the year, not a big one, just a little, you know, front come through, but water temps have dropped a bit. What is about to happen is that if you live in a reservoir that has a lot of shad in it, they're gonna move up in the backs of creeks in the fall, and the bass are gonna follow and feed on them. If you live in a lake that's bowl-shaped, natural lake that doesn't have creek channels, things like that, or doesn't even have shad, still, the bass will move up shallower like they did in the spring, and they're gonna feed during the fall period. So, this transition period, they start moving in that direction.

So, the deeper areas, I tend not to fish so much. Here, if you're chasing bass that are gonna go after the shad in the backs of creek channels, here I'm gonna be towards the open areas, you know, the mouths of those creeks. Or when you go into them, stay in the middle, the deeper parts of the creek, especially if there's stumps, logs, rocks, things for them to hang around and ambush, prey as it comes by. I wouldn't get so much in those shallower areas just yet. Your baits at this time of year, your jerkbaits come into play again. Not your suspending, but your floating jerkbaits work really well. Topwater, again, works really well. You can see this time of year a lot of times the bass are gonna come up and they're schooling shad and they start busting shad on the surface. So, throw on a Whopper Plopper, or a Pop-R, Zara Spook, something that looks like a wounded baitfish through that area can be really productive. So, make sure you got them ready. You don't know when that's gonna happen. So, tie one on and be ready to use it whenever the situation presents itself.

I like to use spinnerbaits, again, your Rat-L-Traps and your Senkos, still using Texas rig soft plastic baits and jigs can all come into play. Here I'm getting to fish a little bit, you know, that 5 to 15-foot range. It depends on the disposition of the bass this time of year, sometimes they're a bit lethargic. So, you can fish slower on the bottom with the jigs and your Carolina rigs, that sort of thing. But if they're very active, you can use those faster-moving baits. Colors are about the same. Again, they really don't deviate during this time of year, so you're not gonna see too many difference. Again, the spinnerbaits are white, your shad colors for your crankbaits with your silvers and your chromes. Going back to the crawdad colors, again, your browns and blacks and green hues for your plastics and your jigs, it's pretty standard fare at this point. You get the idea.

Moving into fall, this is designated me, it's the first big front that comes through or when the lake fogs because that's when you get a big temperature jump in a short period of time. That now, the bass have scattered, so have the shad, they're all moving up shallow. And it can become a bonanza or a bust during this time of year. It's kind of hit or miss. It's weird. One day you can go up in the area and throw a toothpick out there and the bass will just climb over each other trying to get at it. And the next day you go out there and there's nothing. You can't find them at all. And that's because the shad are moving around or the baitfish are moving around, so are the bass. Plus, you've got fronts coming through and that's gonna affect them too. So, they're always changing position. And maybe a few days later, you can go back and throw that toothpick again in the same spot and there they are again. So, fall can be fun and frustrating at the same time.

The baits I use this time, topwater, during the beginning of the fall can be dynamite. This is gonna be a real fun time to throw those topwater baits. Again, throwing the spinnerbaits can be excellent. Your Rat-L-Traps lift those crankbaits. Your shallow and deep and medium-driving crankbaits can be really productive. This is like crankbaits season. A lot of people this time of year, they use crankbaits a lot in the fall. And for good reason, the bass are feeding up on baitfish. What better to imitate a baitfish than a crankbait? So, crankbaits now, your shad colors are gonna work well, your chrome colors. I like to start throwing fire tiger this time of year. I don't know why it is, but fire tiger seems to light them up in the fall. I get more bites off fire tiger in the fall than I do on fire tiger any other season of the year. So, that's when I break that out. I like perch pattern crankbaits because I have a lot of perch in the lakes that I fish. So, they work better sometimes than the shad color crankbaits in lakes that have abundant perch population. So, keep in mind what your forage is.

Your soft plastic stick baits, again, are gonna work really well. Your jigs, I like fishing jigs, especially when you get that situation when the bass have kind of shut down because a front came through, the jig can save the day for you. Colors are the same except for when I mentioned the crankbaits, they're virtually the same for everything else so far. Now when you move into late fall and early winter, it's almost the same as late winter, early spring. The fish will move off in the same staging areas that they were at in early, early spring. Deeper water, this is signified by, you'll see the vegetation, the shallow water dying off, those brown. When that happens, they're consuming more oxygen than providing it, so all the fish are gonna move out of that area and move deeper. The key to this time of year is to look for green weeds that'll still be deep. So, you just follow that out and you follow the fish out as the weeds die off. That's gonna give you an idea of how deep to fish.

Fishing the outside weed lines in 20 feet of water can be really good this time of year. I use a Carolina rig and sometimes it gets hung up in those weeds. So, just a Texas rig with a bullet sinker seems to work really well for me, fishing soft plastics, Texas rigged. For areas that don't have as much weeds, your drop shot, your split shot, again, you're slowing down and starting to pick apart structure where the bass will be. They're not as active right now. So, we're not using top waters anymore. They're gone. We're not burning spinnerbaits and crankbaits back near the surface. We're fishing a little bit deeper. You can still fish the Rat-L-Traps and the One Knocker sand Cotton Cordell Spots, those things. You can fish those deeper. Again, a lot of guys don't do that, but jigging it up and down, yo-yo kind of thing, start fluttering, it starts to look like a baitfish that's starting to die or struggle in that water. The suspending jerkbait becomes a player now again, not the floating one. Toss that out and go back to the suspending jerkbaits.

Your jigs crawled along the bottom, full size, but you wanna start moving to the smaller ones as you get closer into winter. You're transitioning back to those smaller jigs. Keep that in mind. And your soft plastic stick baits, put that behind a Carolina rig or a split shot rig or a drop shot rig. Finesse worms and tubes work really well this time of year because, again, they mimic baitfish and the bass are still feeding on those baitfish as we transition to that winter. So, those 3-inch or 4-inch finesse worms, the 3.5-inch tubes. Color-wise, I like to mimic baitfish during this time of year. So, anything that looks like a baitfish color for any of these baits I mentioned work really well. Black start to become more of a choice because you're getting deeper, same reasons I mentioned before. So, black is a color, green pumpkin, your browns, your darker shades, those are the colors that are more prominent during this time of year. And then now we're back full circle to winter.

So, that's kind of the way you choose the different baits and how you fish them and the colors throughout the years. As you can see, there's a lot of different seasons for the bass. But when do you deviate from that?

Like, this is kind of the accepted norm. These are what we see in the books and the videos of what you should be doing, what the bass should be doing for this time of year. Well, the bass don't watch YouTube and they certainly don't read the same books we do. Sometimes they do stuff that doesn't seem to make any sense until you think about it. Let me give an example. During the wintertime, yeah, the fish, generally speaking, are deep and they're not feeding as actively and you have to present your lures real slow. However, if you get a stretch of warm weather, especially if it's a stretch of warm rain, that's gonna warm the shallows up, you know, a few degrees. And those baitfish that are struggling to stay alive, they're gonna gravitate towards that warmer water and the bass will follow. So, you'll have a window of opportunity where you can catch fish shallow and maybe on faster-moving baits. So, they're not supposed to be shallow. Well, pay attention to that weather trend and you might be able to capitalize on that opportunity.

Same thing in the spring. You get those warmer rains, well, where a creek comes in or a culvert, where water comes in from that, that area will generally be a little bit warmer than the areas around the rest of the lake, and the bass will be more active in those areas. In the summertime, we have an issue called thermocline. Now, this doesn't always happen. It doesn't happen on rivers because you have moving water, but it happens on lakes and not all lakes. So, just because it's summer and it's hot out doesn't mean your lake has a thermocline. But what it is, if you can find it, if it's there, you look in your depth finder, it's an area where the water temperature changes rapidly in a short amount of depth. And you'll see it as a gray line somewhere in the water column. So, let's just say in 30 feet of water, you might see it in 20 feet, just this gray line.

You have to pay attention to that because below that thermocline, the oxygen level is really low, and so the baitfish aren't gonna be there and neither will the bass. And this plays an important role because sometimes I've seen these thermoclines set up relatively shallow, maybe 15 feet of water, sometimes as shallow as 8 feet of water. And you could be out there, here's the dead of summer, it's 92 degrees out and the water temp is 88 and everything tells you on a bright sunny day like this, you should be fishing deep, the bass are gonna be deep.

Well, there's a bunch of guys out there fishing deep and they aren't catching anything. They come in where the boat launch is and they talk to some guys and there's always that one guy, "Man, I slayed them today, knocked them dead." You're like, "Where did you find them?" "Oh, they were all up shallow, man." "What?" Yeah, because that thermocline pushed everything all up shallow, so the majority of the baitfish and the bass are all up there, even though the book says they should be deep. So, keep these things in mind and you'll know when to deviate from the norm and you'll be a lot more successful. Hope all that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit