We’ve talked about the best lures for bass fishing during the winter. Now it’s time to discuss several tips on how to maximize your time on the water and put more bass in the boat in cold conditions.
1. Pay attention to water temperature
One of the most important parts of targeting bass during the winter is paying attention to the water temperature.
The colder the water gets, the slower bass are going to move. Their metabolism slows down and they become lethargic. They aren’t as willing to chase down a meal and want an easier, more subtle presentation.
Therefore, when out on the lake this winter, look for areas where the water may be just a few degrees warmer than the rest of the lake.
For instance, the sun rises in the east so the west side of a lake is where the most sunlight will fall throughout a day. Areas out of the wind, especially the chilly north wind, will also be warmer, as will cover, such as wood, rocks, and vegetation, which all hold warmth. Even though the water may only be a few degrees warmer in these areas, the slight temperature change can make a huge difference when it comes to locating fish.
2. Fish later in the day
In addition to noting water temperature, try to plan your wintertime outings later in the day.
During the cold months, it takes the water a few hours to warm up. The warmer the water, the more active the bass will be, which increases your chances of catching fish. Simply waiting until late morning or afternoon and allowing the water to warm a bit can be a good way to maximize your time.
3. Slow the speed of your lures
Another thing to keep in mind when fishing in cold weather is the speed at which you work your lures. Bass are moving slower and so are the baitfish. Slowing your approach is key this time of year.
Don’t get in a big hurry and think you have to cover a ton of water. Be precise with your casts and do your best to locate those areas where bass should be holding in cold water.
Once you do find them, they often tend to be bunched up. If you catch a fish or two in a certain spot, fish it extremely well. There could be an entire school of bass holding in that location.
If you’re having trouble getting bites, try making repeated casts to the same piece of cover. Multiple casts into the same stump or grass patch will irritate a bass enough that it’ll eventually strike your lure.
4. Downsize your lures
Downsizing your lures can also be key in triggering bass to strike in cold conditions, so don’t shy away from using smaller lures when needed.
Four (4) specific changes you can try are:
- If they won’t hit a ½ jig or lipless crankbait, go to a ¼ ounce.
- If an 8-inch worm isn’t working, try a 5- or 6-inch bait.
- Trim off half your jig trailer and make the bait have a smaller profile.
- Instead of a 4/0 hook and ½ weight, use a 3/0 hook and a ¼ ounce weight.
A lot of time, little changes like these are all it takes to spark a bass’s interest and provoke them to strike. The more natural you can get a bait to look, the better off you are.
5. Try lighter line (or adding leader)
Try using lighter line if the bass are being finicky. This is especially true when fishing clear bodies of water where bass can pick up on the presence of an angler’s line more easily.
If you can’t get bit on 15-pound line, downsize to 10 or 12. If your reels are spooled with straight braided line, try tying an 8 or 10 foot, 10-15 pound fluorocarbon leader to it, which will help disguise the braided line.
6. Focus on underwater structures
Focus on fishing areas such as:
- open water structure
- shell bars
- boat docks
- shoreline vegetation
The next time you hit the water this winter, try to remember some of these tips. Use your depth finder to locate the warmer water possible, and if you don’t have one, focus on key cover and areas out of the wind. Even though it takes discipline, force yourself to slow your approach. Plan your outings during the warmest part of the day and don’t shy away from downsizing your tackle if needed.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this helps you put more bass in the boat the next time you’re out on the water this winter. If you enjoyed the article, be sure the subscribe to the website, and check out our YouTube channel as well for some awesome fishing videos! Happy fishing and keep you hooks wet!