Bass Fishing in Winter
by Charles Stuart
Fishing for bass
during the late fall and winter months can be a daunting task.
During the regular season, you have identifiable structure to
fish, vegetation is in bloom and the sun offers you shaded areas,
which will produce fish during the heat of the day. Winter
however does not give you any of those visible signs.
So what do you do? Well
once again, you must turn to your understanding of the bass and
its lifestyle during these "lean months". When I use
the word lean, I am referring to the food chain which can be
drastically reduced by the elements. Exceptionally cold weather
can kill smaller fish and aquatic life leaving the bass only a
limited diet for three or four months. You will often hear bass
fishermen talking about the "big feed" prior to winter,
when bass will eat anything and everything to carry them through
Bait selection at this time is
critical. In very cold water, a bass will move only a
minimal distance for food. The bait of choice has to be something
that is equal or greater than the energy expended.
Compare your own lifestyle during the winter
months, you store up food and fuel for the winter to avoid
unnecessary trips to the store. And you really hate clearing the
driveway and brushing the snow off your vehicle if it's not
absolutely necessary, correct? Well it's the same for a bass. Why
should the fish dash around for small items of food when it will
not compensate for the energy expended to chase down and catch
The use of large, slow moving
baits is the key. Don't be afraid to throw 10-inch or
12-inch plastics, like the new Uncle Josh™ "Incredible
Creature™" and "Incredible Lizard™" range of
lures, where you once threw a 4-inch offering. Slowly retrieve
these baits, inching them back to shore. Large jigs tipped with
3- or 4-inch pork trailers maneuvered in a similar fashion will
produce fish, you just have to be patient.
During summer, that smaller bait should be in and
out of the water in thirty seconds. However, with the winters'
climactic changes, you must now leave the larger bait in the
water for as long as three minutes!
A good tip here is to keep your
baits warm. I place a few imitations into a plastic
bag and keep them in my pocket. This keeps the bait flexible and
will work well in frigid water temperatures. Remember small
attention to details like that will separate you from the rest of
the fishermen, and you will catch more fish.
The key to winter bass fishing
is patience. That's not an easy thing for my fellow
New Yorkers! But you should give it a try.
Bring some hot coffee
and plenty of food for your energy. Remember to dress in layers.
Hypothermia is very nasty and is a condition, from first hand
experience, I do not recommend!
Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes
the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the
Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished
professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now
lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most
lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished
from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and
One of Charle's
objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young
fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of
"catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports,
all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles,
fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to
succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.
Charles is sponsored by
Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk,
Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking &
trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle,
Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.
You can email Charles