Cold water fishing can be frustrating for even the most seasoned fisherman, but by tweaking your baits and your presentation, you can have a lot of success even when everyone else is struggling go get a bite.
When the water turns cold, certain lures or baits just perform better than others. Here are our favorite baits for catching bass during the cold winter months.
Jerkbaits for Targeting Lethargic Winter Bass
One of my favorite baits for targeting finicky wintertime bass is the jerkbait. When the temperatures plummet, and the water is crystal clear, jerkbaits can be incredibly effective when trying to trigger the strike.
In the winter, bass tend to group together around the shad. Once water temperatures dip into the low 40s these shad start to struggle to stay alive. By throwing a jerkbait, and mimicking a dying shad, you’re giving wintertime bass exactly what they want; an easy meal that doesn’t take much energy.
Crankbaits: The key is slowing down your Retrieve
I love fishing crankbaits, but a lot of guys abandoned them this time of year, which is a shame, because in my opinion, they are one of the best wintertime baits you can throw.
While you’re not going to burn them through the water like you might in the summer, fishing them in the right way will produce results. When the water temperature drops, my retrieves start to slow down. Keep the crankbait running at the bottom, and slow down your retrieve so your lure is in the strike zone longer than it would be in the summer, when bass are more reactionary.
What, Throwing a Spinnerbait in the Winter?
You’re darn right! Spinnerbaits are one of my favorite search baits for finding bass almost any time of the year. Although most people, tend to think of them as a warmer weather lure, I’ve had great success using them throughout the year, even in water temperatures under 40 degrees.
The key to successfully using spinnerbaits for wintertime bass is to bulk up on weight, and slow down the retrieve. I tend to use 3/4 to 1 ounce spinnerbaits, depending on how deep I need to go, and slow my retrieve way, way down. The key is getting down to about 10-12 feet, and putting the lure right where the bass are.
Remember most live bait, especially shad, are going to be struggling this time of year. Fishing any bait to fast is going to make it appear unnatural, and is going to do little to trigger the bite.
- Slow down.
- Add some erratic movements.
- Let it float up before you begin cranking it again.
Want some more tips on catching wintertime bass? Check out our article on cold weather bass fishing techniques.