It’s that time of year again when bass begin their annual migration from deep water spots into shallower waters to prepare for spawning.
For successful bass fishing this time of year, look for long, flat points where creek channels meet. These spots tend to hold more bait and provide excellent opportunities for anglers.
Fish these shallow areas with a spinner bait or crankbait imitating shad or shiners. These lures work best in cloudy or murky water.
1. Don’t Be Detecting
To maximize your enjoyment on the water, it’s best to avoid detection as much as possible. This includes keeping quiet in your boat or along shoreline, avoiding any sort of spooky sound (e.g., loud boat motors), and using appropriate lures at appropriate times of day and/or night.
It helps to have the proper gear on hand — a properly weighted and sized rod, an excellent medium to heavy action spinning rod, as well as a matched reel. Having these components at your disposal gives you an advantage over other anglers on your chosen waterway. With the right tools, tactics, and attitude on board, you’ll be an expert bass fisherman in no time! Plus, local guides are available too! So if it’s been a while since your last trip out on the water – take the plunge now and become a proud bass fisherman!
2. Go Deep
One of the essential tips for bass fishing is always to go deep. Although it may seem intimidating, going this far will allow you to locate fish and catch them.
Bass tend to congregate in deeper waters throughout most of the year due to water temperature dictating where they will move and position themselves.
Winter can be especially tough on bass when their metabolism slows, and water temperatures drop below freezing. This means they won’t feed as frequently but instead focus on remaining active in deeper waters.
Another advantage is divers feel safer in deeper waters because they can swim out to escape predators or storms.
When fishing this area, jigs and soft plastics such as lizards, worms, and crawdads are an effective choice to attract bass. These lures will be more active than other baits and move faster.
In addition to jigs, try spinning spinnerbaits. These can be effective in murky or cloudy conditions when fish use their sight to locate prey; additionally, they will still work well on windy and clear days when fish will be more focused on locating food through lateral line movement.
3. Go Slow
When fishing for bass in wintertime, it is best to go slow. Although this may seem counterintuitive, it often proves the most successful strategy.
The primary cause of this is that bass tend to metabolize food more slowly in cold weather due to being cold-blooded creatures. Therefore, their feeding windows become smaller and less frequent during this period.
Make the most of your time on the water by targeting areas with cover such as logs, stumps, rocks, vegetation or docks. Then slowly roll your spinnerbait or jig alongside these structures to attract fish.
You can also target these same areas with a topwater frog. By letting it wiggle back and forth over natural access points, you may be able to entice lethargic bass to bite.
If you come across a large weed mat or lily pad field, try working this frog over it to entice lethargic bass to come out and consume your bait.
Another way to attract restless bass is by making your bait sit longer than usual. This can be accomplished by flipping the jig, Texas-rigging it or leaving it soaked for longer periods of time than usual.
4. Go Neutral
Finding the right lure at the perfect time can make for a successful fishing day. Your ideal lure depends on several factors, including weather conditions, fish location and when you’re fishing.
Opt for a well-known brand with an established track record when selecting the ideal bait. If the fish are particularly finicky, try using plastic worms instead of traditional minnow or shad bait.
No matter which bait you select, setting it quickly and correctly is imperative. Doing this can help avoid expensive lost fish or trips back to the bait store for replacement baits.
Generally, the best bait is one that fits comfortably in your hand – and that’s ideal when fishing for bass! Additionally, having an excellent rod and reel on hand is essential.
Polarized sunglasses are essential when sight-fishing for spawning bass in wintertime. This technology reduces glare from the sun and allows you to easily see into the water.
It’s wise to dress in neutral colors when fishing, as this helps you blend in with the environment and prevent being the center of attention on the water. While it may not seem like a particularly impressive trick, it is essential for having an effective day in the water.
5. Go To The Shore
Shore fishing for bass can be an enjoyable and successful pastime, even if you’re not a boater. However, with some helpful tips and techniques, you can maximize your bass fishing experience without investing in a vessel or kayak.
Primarily, it’s an excellent way to reach areas inaccessible with a bass boat. This could include brush piles, rocks or other structures near shore that you might not be able to reach from the water.
Fishing from land offers you the advantage of trying different baits and techniques than when drifting, as well as covering more area on the lake than drifting alone. Parallel casting can be particularly effective at targeting shallower waters from land and may entice more cautious bass than simply presenting lures out into deeper water.
Bass tend to stay close to shore during spring and early fall before they must venture deeper when cold weather sets in. Knowing where these spawning grounds are located allows you to target them while still in the warm season.
When fishing from the shoreline, try using topwater lures and jerkbaits to get your bait down quickly. As the day progresses, switch up your bait types accordingly. For added attraction, add scented baits to attract more fish.
6. Go With The Weather
Weather can be a major factor in bass fishing that can impact your day. Knowing the forecast ahead of time helps you prepare and maximize your time on the water.
Barometric pressure is another key aspect of weather that should not be overlooked when at the lake. Although it’s hard to monitor while away, barometric pressure greatly influences fish behavior and the ecosystem surrounding the lake.
When barometric pressure is high, bass will suspend deeper in the middle of the lake and hunt for food at the top. Conversely, when barometric pressure is low, they tend to hang around near the bottom.
Bass fishing can be a lucrative endeavor when the water is cold. However, it is essential to remember that barometric pressure does not apply evenly across all lakes.
Therefore, it is best to focus on areas of the water that are warmer than others. This might involve searching for areas that have experienced windy conditions or where temperatures rise later in the afternoon after a morning of bright and sunny conditions. Additionally, dark mud or clay bottoms hold heat better than lighter colors.