Approach Is Everything.
With winter weather now here, only the most dedicated of bass fishermen will be found out on the water. If you are among those die-hard anglers and you approach the water correctly- with intentional techniques, persistence, passion and determination- you will be rewarded.
So what is the best approach for catching your winter bass? And how should you change your techniques to be better suited for this colder time of year, so that you can be sure to catch the fish you're after?
While every angler is going to have their own opinion on just about everything, we have put together a pretty simple "guideline" on the best way to approach bass fishing this colder time of year.
"...with intentional techniques, persistence, passion and determination- you will be rewarded."
As the water cools way down this time of year, you really have to understand that these bass are not as scattered as in the fall months. They are, for the most part, grouping in very deep waters. This means that using your electronics is going to be a big deal for ensuring your success. Getting comfortable with your electronics is something that can sound daunting, but if you put the time in, it is well worth your investment. Using your electronics during winter is going to be essential to finding key indicators of schooling bass, such as arches stacked together, off the cover, etc.
Below is a great video clip from Bassmaster featuring Davy Hite where they are talking about his personal approach and mindset to this cold season. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, these winter months can actually give you a pretty good shot at getting your PB (personal best).
For you guys hoofin' it during these colder months: your dedication is commendable. You may not have the luxury of a boat or electronics, but there is still hope for you yet (if weather permits).
The Number 1 Rule for Foot Patrol?
Know your water
We cannot stress enough the importance of studying your local waterways and the patterns that the bass (or any fish for that matter) follow there. Know your go-to spots, the terrain, the cover, feeding patterns, etc. This is going to be crucial for your consistent success and will give you the confidence of an angler who has "Home Field Advantage".
Here are some general refreshers for anyone walking the bank this time of year, and/or may be newer to the sport:
Lean towards staying on the Main Lake
Because the fish are grouping so heavily this time of year, they are likely going to do so in the deepest pockets of the water- likely in your main lake. But again, if you know that you have your own sweet honey hole for this time of year, and it is off the beaten path a bit- by all means fish there. Maybe try this out on a down day. It is always good to stay versatile.
Look for Structures + Any Heat (if available)
Does your waterway have any rock piles, plastic docks, old dock pilings, exposed cover, etc? If so, you're in luck. Fishing for bass around these types of structures during these colder winter months can likely increase your odds of getting more bites. This will be especially beneficial in areas/times that the sun gets to poke through the winter gray and warm things up a bit during the day(if even by a few degrees). You see, if certain structures are exposed enough, they will pick up that slight warmth from the sun and transfer that energy down into the water. This means that those groups of bass are going to likely be huddling around these particular areas.
Walkout on Points for More Depth (if applicable)
It is always a safe bet to try and walk out on any docks or jetty points where you know you will be able to cast that much closer to the lowest depths available. Foot patrol will be a little more difficult if you don't already know your local waterway well- but the reward is always worth it.
In summary, you're going to want to study the waters you're approaching the best you can. Know the water temp and be familiar with your electronics. Don't be afraid to throw bigger lures, because even though the larger fish can be more lethargic, they will still go after a sizeable lure if presented correctly. Get out there and go get your PB in winter- it's doable.
Although, there is another option for those of you wanting to do a little traveling.
Maybe you live in some of our more frozen over states and you're thinking "I'm just not going out there right now." No shame in that, it's just too cold sometimes. But, maybe you could finesse a little travel expenses as a Christmas present to yourself. Or bring your family on a full on Bass Extravaganza Vacation (I'm sure they will all be incredibly excited...)
However you decide to convince who you need to, if you have the resources to do a trip- do it. Take a look below at a good list we found for you guys from FLW.
FLW has previously put together a list of their top 5 winter bass fishing destinations that is going to still be a surefire way to find some bites during winter.
The article from FLW includes good places to eat, lodging advice and even lure recommendation. Take a look there first before booking any trips. Maybe it will spark some ideas of your own. Oh, and here is a great bonus: Our home state of California was mentioned in spot number 3! Read the full article here for the scoop:
Regardless of your situation, there is always a good reason to get out there and go fishing. In fact, if you've got tactics of your own, you can throw this advice out the window and do what you know you do best. We just care that our content makes you want to get out on the water more than you already do. Thanks for reading!