Lakes and other fishing locations are usually quieter in the winter. There are fewer anglers, and the fish are less aggressive in the cold weather. However, the bass still bites in the winter. Anglers report catching giant bass. You simply need to study the bass habits in the winter and adjust your fishing techniques to improve your odds. This guide will help you know how to get the bass to bite it in cold weather.
What Are the Best Baits for Bass Fishing in the Winter?
Bass react differently to bait in the winter. The following criteria will help you select the ideal bait for bass fishing in the winter:
1. Weight and Size
Bass prefer lightweight bait in the winter. Their digestive system can only handle lightweight bait because they have a low metabolism during the winter. The weight of the bait should range from a quarter an ounce up to three-eighths of an ounce. Moreover, your bait should have a maximum length of three and a half inches. There is no problem using a large bait, but it only decreases your odds of catching a bass. Bass prefer large bait in warm weather.
2. Live Bait Vs. Artificial Lures
Live bait is the best form of bait for bass fishing in the winter. It is because they will react naturally to the conditions of the lake or fishing location. More specifically, live bait will move slower in the water because of the cold temperatures. Examples of live bait to use include worms, minnows, or shiners.
Artificial bait and lures work well. However, some anglers present them with rapid motions that put off the bass. It is advisable to leave out a trailer when using a hair jig to make the bait more realistic to the bass. Some of the lures you can use include tube baits, grubs, straight-tail worms, and other soft plastic bait.
When Is the Best Time To Fish for Bass in the Winter?
Ideally, the best time to fish in winter is between 10 am and 4 pm, when the weather is warmer. Baitfish will begin to move around when the weather is warmer, and the bass will also move around to get some food.
Some anglers also get a few bass bites at dawn or dusk, especially smallmouth bass. Try to go about an hour before sunrise to try and get some bites. Most anglers have to fish at the convenience of their work schedules and are ideally free in the afternoons or weekends.
Where Can You Find Bass in the Winter?
It is also important to study the bass’s movement patterns to know the areas you are most likely to find them. Consider the following criteria:
1. Water Depth
Water depth is relative to bass fishing because lakes have different depths. There is no specific depth measure where you can find bass. However, we will use general terms like the deep end or the shallow end to refer to the bass’s depth location.
Bass will swim to deeper waters during the winter as they follow the baitfish. You can also determine how deep the baitfish are by the clarity of the water. Baitfish is usually in the deeper ends of clearer water and the shallower end of murkier water.
2. Compass Direction
During the winter, it is advisable to fish for bass in the north end of your lake. The sun’s position is further south during winter, which means the sun will shine close to the north bank. The cold northwind also hardly hits the northern banks during winter. Therefore, the north banks are usually warmer during the winter and more attractive to bass.
3. Water Current
The level of the current can affect the safety and success of your bass fishing expedition. High currents are more difficult and less safe to fish in. Check the local predictions to ensure there will be a stable current before you go fishing.
4. Advice From Local Authorities
Local authorities usually have various programs to support fishing. For example, there may be stoking periods or habitat programs. Check the local website for known habitats of bass and the locations that are open for winter fishing.
5. Habitat Cover
Bass like to reside in areas of the lake that provide cover. Some sources of natural covers for bass include rocks fixtures in the water, wood, grass docks, or other structures that may provide cover. Some states have a habitat program where they establish habitats on the lake to attract bass to reside around there.
What Are the Feeding Patterns of Bass in the Winter?
Bass is less active in feeding during the winter because they have a slower metabolism. However, they still eat a little and therefore need to be close to their food source. Bass will still follow baitfish and shad. The cold weather may get to the baitfish, and they may die.
You will notice some little red fins on the water’s surface. Bass happily feeds on the dead and half-dead baitfish. Therefore, baits that imitate baitfish and shads have better odds of catching bass in the winter. Some anglers use umbrella rigs to imitate schools of baitfish, and it works well.
The bass may also fancy a bite of the occasional crawfish, less available in the winter.
Stay Warm During Winter Fishing
Another useful tip to catch bass during winter is for you to stay warm and safe. It is important to be mindful and respectful of the weather conditions. It is important to dress in layers and the right attire. Some important girl to bring along includes:
- Finger-less and insulated gloves
- Insulated and waterproof boots
- Hand muffs
- Insulated in breathable socks
- Stocking hat
- Long, insulated underwear.
Moreover, it is important to notify a family member or a friend of your expected fishing location. You should also give details like expected time of return and expected travel routes.
You can still get a bite from a giant bass in the winter. However, you need to study the behavior of bass during the winter to improve your odds. In the winter, the bass is less aggressive because they have a slower metabolism.
You should consider three main factors, which include a source of food, habitat, and water temperature. Bass will still follow baitfish even if they feed less in the winter. Therefore to help to use baitfish lures or study the movement of baitfish to improve your catch. Bass are also more active when and where the temperature is warmer. You can also find them around habitats like rock, docks, and more.
Remember to check the weather, see if the location is open for fishing, dress warm, and stay safe.