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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.