When bass get sluggish in the wintertime your tackle selection shrinks considerably to cater to the mood of the fish.
The key to choosing winter lures is to think about slow-moving lures because a bass will usually be swimming slowly even when the fish are in a feeding mode. So I choose lures I can work slowly to tempt winter bass.
The weather also dictates the lures I throw during the winter. If the weather is calm and sunny I prefer throwing a spinnerbait, jig or a double-tail plastic grub around shallow rocks. As the day gets warmer I will favor slow-rolling a spinnerbait more than bottom bouncing a jig or plastic grub.
Suns Out Guns Out
On windy, sunny days, I opt for a faster-moving lure such as a suspending stickbait or a medium-diving crankbait. Bass tend to suspend rather than move to the bank during windy conditions because wave action continuously churns up colder water preventing the shallows from warming. Suspending jerkbaits and medium-diving crankbaits work best in this weather condition because the lures can be retrieved slowly through the water column where the bass are suspended.
When the weather turns overcast and the water’s surface is slick as glass, I bounce a jig or double-tail grub along ledges of bluffs to catch winter bass on the main lake. I also head into creeks and twitch a suspending jerkbait along ledge rock banks and secondary points.
Crank Them Up
Cloudy, windy days in the winter means really cold weather, but I know if I can brave the cold I can still catch bass on clear-water lakes. If the water temperature is still in the middle 40s to low 50s, I can depend on a crawfish- or shad-pattern crankbait to catch bass along main lake bluffs or areas where the bank changes from a bluff to a flat or point. If the water temperature is in the upper 30s or low 40s, bass stay in the same area but drop deeper, so I switch to a suspending jerkbait.
It might sound crazy, but winter bass fishing on my home waters of Lake of the Ozarks and surrounding clear-water reservoirs can be great on snowy or rainy days. When it’s snowing and a north wind’s blowing, bass will bite a Wiggle Wart crankbait if the water temperature holds around 45 degrees. In colder water, I rely on a suspending jerkbait to catch bass during snowy weather.
Top Winter Fishing Lures
Slowing down is a common and effective approach for targeting bass during the winter months. Here are four baits we recommend
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