This is the time of year where a lot of people trade in their rod and reel for a rifle or a bow, but if you’re one of those diehard fishermen who are grabbing their tackle box in one hand and an ice scrapper in the other, then you know that this can be an awesome time of year to catch some monster size bass.
I do a lot of fishing in the southwest, so wintertime can actually be a welcome relief to the unbearable 115 summertime heat – something that’s a beast of its own. But a lot of seasoned fishermen avoid cold weather fishing like the plague, believing the myth that bass won’t bite in the winter. While they may not feed as often, with a little patience, and the right presentation they will attack.
The first thing you need to know about wintertime fishing is what happens to bass in cold weather. When the water starts to cool a bass’ metabolism starts to slow down, making them seem almost lethargic. For a fisherman that’s, not good news; unless you know how to trigger a strike.
While bass eat a lot less in the winter, they will strike when presented with the right bait, in the right way. In cold conditions that usually means slowing down retrieves, cutting down on the size of your bait, and using a little bit of finesse – not to mention a whole lot of patience.
Using Smaller Baits can Trigger the Bite.
While many of the baits you use during the summer will still work – when presented in the right way – you’re going to want to slim down in size. Using smaller baits is one way to get those finicky bass to start biting.
Slowing down the Lure Presentation.
Burning a crankbait is not an option that’s going to work out well in winter weather conditions. You can still tie on one of your favorite crankbait, you’re just going to want to fish it a lot slower and with a lot more patience. Winter fishing is a mind game, before you walk out the door you need to realize your normal techniques are not going to work.
One good thing about winter fishing is the better you get in cold weather condition, the easier it is to dig yourself out of a rut in the summer. Learning how to finesse fish will translate into how you fish the rest of the year, and will give you a skill set that will make you a better year-round fisherman.
If you can find the bait, you’ll find the fish
Bass don’t tend to move around a whole lot when it’s cold, which means your normal fishing hole might not be the best wintertime option. While they don’t move as much, they still need to eat and will tend to hold up near the bait, and usually in groups.
That means if one bass isn’t eating, another in the group probably is. So if you can find the bait, which usually means the Shad, you’ll find the bass.