Nothing slows bass like cold water, after all bass are cold blooded. Bass still have to eat just not as often and being in the right place at the right time will convince you of this and probably keep the boat out of storage during those cold water months. Some argue that bass go days without feeding when the water temps drop but it seems there is always a good bass bite sometime throughout a day of cold water bass fishing. We all know that it takes weeks for the water to warm in the spring and anglers tend to wait for the temps to start rising before dusting off the reels and sharpening hooks but hopefully this article will get you out there a little sooner.
One great presentation for wintertime bass is the crankbait. During the winter bass primarily target dying shad which can be represented well with a crankbait. Crankbaits are so versatile and can be fished slow or fast, deep or shallow. You can pause a crankbait to not only allow the lethargic bass to catch the crankbait but it will also trigger a bite as bass know that the energy gained from the food he consumes has to equal or surpass the energy expended to catch that prey.
Wintertime bass go deep. Fact or myth? Well again from an anglers perspective many would argue that lots of bass stay relatively shallow in the winter moving up to feed in even shallower water when it is time. Many would argue that once the water temps are stable bass pretty much resume a normal routine you might find in the spring or fall just at a much slower pace. Now, it has been shown many times that bass go deep when water temps fall but there are still shallow bass to be caught. For those, like me, who are still patiently attempting to learn and gain confidence to pursue deep water bass and relinquish the shallow water techniques for those deeper bass, all is not lost, and many anglers are proving that lots of bass still prowl the shallows in search of prey and can be caught even on fast moving crankbaits.
Whether a lipless crankbait or a conventional crankbait you can work shoreline cover and underwater structure with the same results in the winter as any other time. The feeding period will be much smaller and you have to be on the water to take advantage of this time. Sometime after noon is often the best bite for crankbait slingers as water temps rise. Even just 1 or 2 degrees can turn bass on and provide a flurry of fish in a short span of time.
Look for grass as this water will tend to be a bit warmer already and bass love to hang in there waiting for a shad to swim by or in your case a crankbait. You need to penetrate the weeds a little, ripping the crankbait through the grass. Even lethargic bass will be jolted with an energy boost by something ripping by them and you can cover lots of water this way in search of active bass.
Rocks and solid cover can be great places to fling a crankbait. Locate cover near deeper water say 12 to 15 feet and you have a great place. Crank your crankbait fast and ricochet it off the cover causing the crankbait to swim erratically, changing directions sharply. This will trigger the bass the same way ripping the crankbait through the grass will. A good tip is to pause your crankbait after you feel it hit something and hang on as this is oftentimes when the bass will engulf your crankbait and quickly attempt to return to the cover in which it came.
Wintertime bass fishing can be tough at times but there are plenty of bass still willing to cooperate in the winter. Get out there and give a crankbait a try and experiment with these crankbait tips and you too can enjoy a longer season bass fishing and join many other anglers in dispelling the wintertime bass fishing myths.