Secret Japanese Techniques For Winter Bass Fishing (That Work!)

Winter Bass Fishing Videos
Explore the depths of winter fishing with Masayuki Matsushita, 2023 Bassmaster Elite Pro. Delve into the tactics of attracting slow-moving bass in cold waters using Japanese lures, and understand the vital importance of choosing the right line and rod for the conditions. Learn how the nuanced movements of lures can evoke instinctive bites, and discover the unique characteristics of rods and tackle setups, ensuring successful deep water catches even in the harshest seasons.

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Baits and gear

Deps Cover Scat Soft Stick Bait -- 

Deps Circuit Vibe Blade Bait -- 

Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line -- 

Deps CoverGain Element -- 


Hi, BassResource. My name is Masayuki Matsushita, 2023 Bassmaster Elite Pro.

This time, I'd like to introduce winter fishing. In winter, depending on the timing, fish generally move deeper into the water. The deep fishing techniques used in autumn or summer sometimes work in winter too, but with slight modifications. 

First, when fish move deeper, I use the "Cover Scat" from DEPS. I often use it without a weight, casting it and letting it sink deep. Once it reaches the bottom, I twitch the rod lightly to make it dart. This method is almost the same as the summer technique using the "Sakamata Shad". However, when you twitch the "Sakamata Shad", it tends to jump a lot. As it slides, fish in the winter move more slowly due to the cold water temperature. The "Sakamata Shad" might jump too much, making it hard for the bass to catch. Sometimes I use the "Sakamata Shad", but mainly I rely on the "Cover Scat". When you twitch the "Cover Scat", it doesn't move as much, making it easier for even slow-moving bass to bite.

For lines, since you're dropping them into deep water, they can get tangled with rocks, wood, or other obstacles. Hence, I use the strong "Shooter" line from Sunline, particularly the 20-pound version. If the line is not resistant to scraping, it'll get damaged easily. Especially when the line is cast at an angle to the bottom. 

The method with the "Cover Scat" involves dropping it to the bottom and then twitching the rod at that angle. This means the line is constantly in contact with the bottom, making a resistant line like the "Shooter" essential.

As for the rod, I use the "Gain Element" which is actually from the DEPS company. It's the "Soft Jerking Element" model. It's a shorter rod, 6.6 feet, with a medium-heavy action and a bit stiff. It's quite a unique rod, specifically designed for the "Cover Scat" and soft jerking techniques. It doesn't have a fast taper; instead, it bends uniformly from the body. This stiff rod is necessary for fishing in deep water because you need to set the hook properly, and the shorter length improves maneuverability.

For the reel, I use the Metanium XG, an extra high-gear model. It's light and easy to handle, making it perfect for rapid reeling. Additionally, I also have another lure, the "Circuit Vibe" from DEPS, which I choose based on the water depth and weight."

This time, when the bass isn't very active and doesn't feel like eating or moving much, you just drop this lure right in front of them. Then, you jiggle it up and let it drop, jiggle it up again, and let it drop. By repeating this, when it's right in front of them, they instinctively bite. I use this, especially for bass with very low feeding or activity.

One reason I really like this lure is because it has two eyes. It has these two eyes, and it's attached with a split ring and a snap. If you attach it to the front eye, when you jiggle it, it moves up at this angle and then drops down, and it moves in a certain way. But if you move the snap to the rear eye, even with the same jigging motion, it moves straight up. So, within a meter or a foot, when using the rear eye, it moves in finer increments. Whereas with the front, it moves over a broader range. 

When I want to search a larger area, I use the front, but when I'm certain the fish is right in a specific spot, the rear eye is overwhelmingly better because you can lure them in with more detailed movements. That's how I differentiate between them.

As for my tackle, generally, I mainly use this one. It's the "Depths Power Spin Element." For the reel, I use the Shimano Vanquish 2500, and for the line, the Sunline Jigger 12 pound. I also often use the Shooter 8-pound line. That's pretty much my main setup. 

This setup, especially this lure, is honestly good for deep waters in all seasons. I'd use it even in winter. So, that's my basic winter fishing method. That's all.