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Bass Fishing in Cold Weather

Bass fishing in cold weather does not have to be miserable.

Extremely cold makes bass fishing miserable. Out on the water wind whips wickedly. Throw in the rain and even the hardiest bass fisherman has a difficult time not calling it quits. For the determined fisherman all is not lost. A few tricks can help put a fish in the boat.

Cold water makes bass lethargic and moves them out of the shallows into deeper water. Early in the day drop offs and creek beds are bass magnets. But in cold weather bass do not stay at the same depth all day. Start the day off in deep water then move to shallow water as the day moves along. Bass will roam to the sun warmed waters.

Read any article on bass fishing in cold water and the author will say something like "go small" or "go slow". These are both true but the key is often to do both. When picking a fishing lure choose the smallest one that you can effectively cast. The wind will often determine the size for you. Light soft plastic jerk baits like a fluke are perfect in low wind conditions. Fish these without a sinker. After the cast allow the jerk bait to sink for a few seconds. With a slack line flick the rod tip straight up. This will make the bait dart erratically.  Do this until the bait touches the surface. Reel in your slack and allow the lure to sink again. A bass has struck when the line will tighten quickly or start to move off to the side. Set the hook once the line is tight. Cold weather bass will often mouth the lure, a hard hook set will lose the fish.

Floating crank baits are excellent cold weather bass lures when the wind has picked up. Long slender minnow colored ones work best. This type of bass fishing produces reaction strikes. Cast as far as you can. Reel in until the bass bait has reached the desired depth. As the crank bait floats to the surface twitch the rod tip. Keep the line tight by reeling in the slack. This will give the bait a dive / pause / float retrieve. I have found the bass will most often strike on the pause. This type of bass lure has multiple hooks. The bass usually hook themselves.

Bass fishing with a jig under a popping cork is an under used cold weather fishing technique. This is very effective when there is a chop on the water. Use a large jig head with a white curly tail grub. Leave about 2 feet of line between the jig and the cork. Toss this bait out. Let it set for a minute. Reel in the slack and pop the cork with your rod tip. The sound will draw in every bass in the area.

Live bait fishing will always catch the most bass, especially in cold weather. The best cold weather live bait is small shiners. The bait fish in the 2 inch range are perfect. Insert a large gap hook behind the dorsal fin. Fish them under a bobber near shore. Free line fishing works best during the colder parts of the day in deeper water.

Cold weather does not mean that the fishing will be bad. Bass still need to eat. Fishing with a jacket and a stocking hat will make the trip more comfortable. If the bass refuse to bite you can always go home and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a donut.

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