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Winter Bass Go To Lures

This is the time of year when I get a very serious case of cabin fever. All I can think about is fishing for, and catching, bass.

When the water temperature is in the 30s and 40s, catching bass can present a unique challenge, but the bass will still bite during the winter time and nothing warms you up more quickly than a big bass on the line.

Check out the slideshow for go-to winter bass lures and see if you can use them to catch some bass this winter.

 

Shaky Head

This finesse rig is effective on bass year around, but is especially effective on cold water bass. The shaky head consists of a small lead head hook with a small finesse worm attached to it. Fish it on rocky banks, slowly, with small bounces and shakes moving along the bottom.
When the bait is still, the worm will stand on end, with the tail moving with the current. To change it up a bit, you can put a baby brush hog or other small creature bait in place of the finesse worm.

Grub

Many times in the winter, bass will suspend over deeper water, relating to schools of baitfish. When this happens, a grub is a highly effective method to catch fish. Put a 3-5” grub on a lead head, cast it out and let it sink to the depth the fish are in and then slowly reel it back.
When I say slowly, I mean SLOWLY. Bass are very lethargic this time of year and looking for an easy meal, they aren’t going to chase a bait very far.

Finesse Jig

Fins n TalesSmall finesse jigs and hair jigs are best when bass are a little bit shallower on steep rocky banks. Hop them along the bottom, mimicking a crawfish or small blue gill. The hair jig is just like any other bass jig, except rather than a silicone or rubber skirt, it has hair on it.

It would be considered by most to be an “old- school” technique, but it is very effective for sluggish winter bass. Finesse jigs are slightly smaller than other bass jigs and usually have a “spider-style” skirt.

Wiggle Wart

Bass BlasterThe storm wiggle wart is a staple for highland lakes in the late winter/ early spring. My highest tournament finish ever came on a storm wiggle wart when the water temperature was 38°-42° F.
This bait is great on steeper banks that have chunk rock or boulders. The only thing to be sure of is that you are bouncing the bait off of rocks.

Football Jig

Cliff Pace used a football jig to win the Bassmaster’s Classic in February of 2013. This bait is similar to the finesse jig, but is better for deeper water, as it is heavier and will sink faster to the bottom.
The football jig gets its name because the head of the jig is football-shaped. As with baits mentioned earlier, this bait is slowly hopped and crawled along rocky bottom areas, mimicking a crawfish.

Jerkbait

The suspending jerk bait is likely the king of cold weather baits. It is a long slender bait that when retrieved at the correct depth will “suspend” in the water, rather than sinking to the bottom or floating to the top. The bait is great for suspending fish, although it does have a bit of a learning curve.
Cast it out and give it four to five cranks of your reel to get it down to the correct depth. After this, it is fished with a jerk and pause retrieve. Fish it slowly, some guys claim to twitch it and then stop and eat a sandwich before they twitch it again. Experiment with your retrieve until you figure out what the fish are liking on a given day.

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Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

How important is retrieve speed in cold water? Some anglers may tell you that they fish just as fast in winter as they do in spring. However, most successful cold water anglers will tell you that slowing down the presentation is the best. Biologist and experienced anglers agree that bass will not chase a lure in water much colder than 50 degrees. An exception to this would be after bass move up shallow after a few warm days, and after a front has brought warm rain. As a rule of thumb it is best to slow down your presentation during the winter months.Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and TacticsA grub can be one of the most effective bass lures for cold water. A 4 inch curly tail grub on a 1/4 ounce jig head can be all that is needed. Target steep chunk-rock banks with as much as 45 degree slope. Bass prefer these areas because they can make extreme depth changes up and down the water column to feed without using conserved energy. Cast to the shallow edge of the steep bank and then allow the grub to sink, raising the rod tip as the bait reaches the bottom to lift the grub. Anglers are successful when repeating this technique until the grub is back to the boat. Bass often bite when the grub is on the fall, so be ready to set the hook.

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

If it is a trophy bass you’re hoping to catch during the winter, it is important to learn weather patterns. Timing your fishing trips when there is a break in the cold temperatures can help. Fronts usually bring warm rain as the temperature is rising and the barometric pressure is changing and this can be one of the most productive times to fish. A warm front in conjunction with a barometric change will cause bass to feed as the bait will migrate to the warmest areas usually in the back of creeks, then they will move out to the mouth as the water cools back down following the front. One degree in water temperature can make a huge difference. Fishing with cold water lures like a jig and trailer on the shaded banks just might land that trophy you’re looking for.

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

During the winter months you may read a lot of articles about jigs and spinnerbaits and how to use them for cold water bass. Both lures do well as the jig and the spinnerbait are similar in design and use similar techniques when fishing them. The difference between the two is the spinner blade and the wire it’s attached to. However, The Punisher Head Spinner is a hybrid innovation between the two and features chip resistant paint job, a Sampo ball bearing swivel to enable the blade to spin easily at any retrieve speed. Backed with a sharp hook, the Head Spinner will hook and hold any bass that bites. The Head Spinner works well when fished over deep cover like brush piles, around standing cover like bridge pilings and standing timber, and along weed edges. You can use the Head Spinner with all of your favorite soft plastics or rig it with a skirt for a unique look. Use the Punisher Head Spinner with any single or double tail grub or the Super Fluke or Super Fluke Jr. as a trailer. In winter, as the water temperature falls into the middle to low 50’s, try pitching these innovative jigs to the wooden cover and work it the same way you would a jig. Allow it to fall while maintaining a tight line as it bounces off the limbs shimmering and fluttering on the way down. Watch for subtle line movement and be ready to set the hook.

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

In winter as the water temperatures continues to drop and the lake turns, bass feed aggressively. Sensing that winter is close, and their metabolism will slow down bass prepare by feeding heavily on the big baits when the water temperature is in the 50s. This can be a great time to throw a soft plastic swim-bait. Concentrate in the 4- to 10-foot range near docks and remaining grass and broken mats. Under blue skies, a few days into a cold front fish deeper with a weighted swim-bait on the bottom like fishing a jig. Concentrate like a rock-pile or drop off by slowly crawling and hopping the bait across the structure. Baits like these by FishHouse Lures can quickly entice a cold water bite in winter.

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

A soft plastic worm worked very slowly can be one of the most effective winter bass fishing techniques. By simply allowing the worm to lie motionless on targeted structure or “dead sticking” the worm and then “shaking” the rod tip occasionally can prevail. This technique will often trigger a strike. Using a bait injected with a quality bass attracting such as Attack Pak has with the Juiced Up X10 formula can be rewarding during the cold winter months.

Winter Bass Fishing Lures, Tips and Tactics

Bass jigs with crawfish trailer worked slowly across bottom structure and cover like rocks and wood can be a good tactic in winter. Cast the jig and allow it to settle a moment before starting your retrieve. Bass often grab the bait from the bottom. However, many strikes occur as the jig is on the fall. Fish the jig slowly, avoiding the temptation to retrieve the jigs quickly. Twitch and hop the bait along slowly, enticing the bass to take the bait.

These are more angler approved and tested methods for a cold water bass bite. Although winter fishing is somewhat limited there are many techniques suited for bass fishing in the cold water