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How to Succeed at Winter Bass Fishing

Apr 2, 2008
Catching Largemouth Bass in winter is a difficult proposition at best. Much depends on what part of the country you are from and how cold the winter is. If you are talking about cutting a hole in ice that is 12 inches deep and trying to catch Largemouth Bass you can forget it now. If the water temperature is under 40 degrees you will not catch Largemouth Bass like you will other species. At 45 degrees, the action picks up a bit. For my money I would not target Largemouth Bass until the water reaches 50 degrees. Keep in mind the effects of the sun and water depth on water temperature. A lake may be near 40 degree at one end and as hot as 50 degrees on the other end.

Your first consideration is what equipment to use. The key piece of equipment is the rod. Largemouth Bass will be very sluggish at this time of year. You need a rod that is very sensitive and will let you know when the bait is picked up. As is often the case in life you get what you pay for. A high quality fishing rod may cost a bit more than a common rod but at this time of year the investment is worth it. You will not feel many pickups with a common rod. Instead of viciously attacking it's quarry Largemouth Bass at this time of year often merely pick it up in there mouths and swallow it. Once they feel something unnatural in their mouths they will drop the bait. This often happens without the angler even knowing the bass ever picked up the bait.

Any normal spinning reel will be sufficient. Largemouth Bass at this time of year are very sluggish and do not fight with anywhere near the same intensity they do in the summer. You will need to use very light line, certainly no stronger than 6 pound test. Because you will be using a light line you should have a small reel also. You will not need a great deal of line capacity. You will not be making long casts and will not likely have much line pulled off the drag. Remember that these very are very in active and very wary. In summer they will attack a bait without regard to heavy line in the area. In winter they will inspect any offering in a meticulous manner. Use the lightest line you can, four pound line is sufficient for any Largemouth Bass you may encounter in winter.

Your next consideration is where to fish. I would select a location in reasonably shallow water. Many Largemouth Bass suspend in deeper water, but these fish are not feeding. When they do decide to feed they will assuredly head to shallower water, I look for 6-12 foot water depth in the winter. I also look to fish in the sun, pick a spot on the lake that the has shined on for awhile. You will not likely have any green vegetation but you may be able to find some standing or fallen timber. Either of these two locations are prime winter locations. If you can find any green vegetation then by all means fish these areas.

One in position you need to select a bait. As with any other kind of fishing live bait always works best. This is probably more the case in winter than other times of the year. If using artificial baits you can eliminate spinnerbaits, crankbaits and just about any fast moving or topwater bait. Lures you use must be fished very slow and very deep. I like to use either jig or plastic worm at this time of year. You need to fish them very slow. I prefer to bounce them on the bottom, sometimes even allowing them to sit for several seconds before I continue my retrieve. You almost cannot fish too slowly. Many of the strokes I have gotten have happen after I have let a bait sit for several seconds. The Largemouth Bass often will move towards a bait then stop moving and stare at it, often hitting the next time it moves.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best bass fishing information possible. Get more information on winter bass fishing here: http://www.askbassfishing.com/
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