Monday, December 8, 2008

Winter Bass Fishing Is Tough-But Can Be Rewarding!

Winter bass fishing can be the toughest fishing of any time of the year. Yes, even harder and tougher than the dog days of summer.
The biggest majority of bass fishermen will roll their eyes, and even make goofy faces when you mention bass fishing when it is COLD!
But there are those who will brave even the most extreme cold , because they know that the odds of catching a trophy bass are a lot better than most any other time of the year!

Probably the biggest reason for the accuracy of that last statement is the lack of fishing and boating pressure on the lakes and streams at this time of the year is practically zero! Despite what most fishermen believe , BASS do bite and require food even during this time of the year. Bass are not as active and have slowed down considerably, but they still feed.

Here are a few key points to be made about winter fishing!

1 Bass will , as a rule, be deeper than in normal months!

Though generally an accurate statement , is not always found to be true, as there is always an exception to every rule. But if not deeper will be very close to deeper water, like a point or a drop off , next to deep water .

2 Fish slower than normal with subtle or teasing like movements !

Jig n pigs, shaky head worms, tubes , spoons, or anything that you can sit right in front of the basses nose and tease him into striking your lure.

3 Winter normally has a lot of low pressure systems which can cause bass to feed heavily!

4 Make sure to watch you line closely and watch for movement , because the bite can be almost undetectable.

I usually watch the weather closely for a warm up or sunny days. 2 to 3 days in a row is super! I love to hit shallow points next to deep water, usually on the main lake points. I have great success from 10 to 20 feet deep points or flats next to deep water. Bass have a tendency to come shallow and feed on sunny days where the water can warm up a little faster , 2 or 3 degrees makes a big difference.

Bass have a tendency to gather up or school during the winter , which can make them hard to find. Keeping this in mind when you catch a good one stay with the locality of the bite and you will more than likely catch a few good ones, or even limit out, in one hole if the cover is right and you don't spook the fish. I have found that in rivers if you find a deep hole with lots of cover you will find a lot of fish too. This is about the same as on the lakes , more so than not.

Winter bass fishing is probably more a mental challenge , than anything else, as Mr. Bass does have to eat or perish. Keeping this in mind and slowing down our presentation is vitally important for a successful outing. I have had to fish so slow that it seemed like it took 10 minutes for one cast and retrieve.

I mainly use a jig n pig, and I fish it so slow that even the coldest and slowest bass in the lake can catch it and inhale it. In the winter bass very seldom hit a lure and run with it. They just suck it up of the bottom and you don't hardly feel anything. Your line just gets a mushy feeling. No telling how many bass inhale a lure and spit it out before a fisherman even realizes he has been bit, if he at all, realizes it.

Presentation is probably the most important thing about winter fishing.
Winter bass normally move slowly and will feed better on slow moving baits. When you think you are fishing slow, slow down even more. I sometimes let the bait sit for a minute or two and then not moving the bait forward, just shake it in place and that sometimes produces a bite. I can't stress this enough slow down, slow down, slow down!
This is more mental than anything and is harder and requires more patience than anything.You really have to concentrate hard and remember that you probably won't hardly feel the bite. Most of the time you just feel a mushy feeling and/ or see your line move. Reel in the slack and when you feel the fish set the hook!

As I stated earlier , I usually use a jig n pig , a shaky head worm , or a 1/2 oz spinner bait. I slow roll the spinner bait , bouncing it of the bottom , or rocks or logs. I like to put a grub or some other kind of trailer on the spinner bait to add bulk and add a little more action , which also offers Mr. Bass a bigger meal, so to speak.

Winter fishing is cold and very uncomfortable, but with gortex and thinsulate, staying warm is not very difficult, but can be costly. The cost is worth it , just to make the cold weather more tolerable. Mr. Bass can and will be caught , if you can dress warm and slow down your fishing techniques. Winter bass fishing can be very productive and more often than not , will produce bigger, quality bass, than in any other time of the year. Bass are not as aggressive and the odds of getting a bigger bass in the live well, is more in your favor at this time of the year.

I hope you have picked up some tips you can use, from this article. If you can mentally prepare yourself , dress warm, and slow down , slower than slow, you will catch bass in the winter time and more than likely catch that trophy bass that you have always dreamed of. As my grandpa always said, " You can't catch fish unless your fishing" A lure in the garage wont catch fish. A lure in the water will!

So until next time, stay dry, warm and slow down, for a successful winter bass fishing trip. See ya out there, good luck , and remember if you're fishing slow, slow down even more so that, slow ,cold ,bass can catch your lure and make your dreams come true!

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Tom Sorenson said...

Awesome tips, Kenny! I remember doing one blast and cast trip on Brownlee Reservoir one year. Went chukar hunting in the morning, then hit the water for some bass fishing in the afternoon, not actually thinking I'd catch anything in December - lo and behold, I limited out in short order! Would like to do that again - winter bass fishing is above all - FUN!

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Thanks Tom, I have had lots of success through the years winter fishing. I have also froze my keister off , and missed them too. But that is also true in the spring,summer, and fall also. It just goes with the terrain, I suppose. Some of my biggest bass have been caught in the winter, so I personally think it is worth the trouble and the hypothermia too! ;-)

Wes said...

I couldnt agree more with the bigger bass being caught in the winter months. Usually lakes are quiter in winter to, makes it a little more relaxing. If you have the propper clothing on it can make for a fun day on the lake. Good stuff, keep the posts coming.

Jerry said...

Yes, I am now a firm believer in winter time bass fishing.Went to my favorite lake here in NC where I live near greensboro,and have caught fish all four times I went since right before Christmas. All were caught on a carolina rigged zoom speed craw in green pumpkin. Biggest went five pounds.The bites were light,but with my berkely vanish flourocarbon,I could feel them ok.Most I caught was three fish,but it beat sitting home!