Just because the temperatures have dropped and the water is cold, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a fun day of bass fishing. Cold water bass fishing can actually be quite enjoyable and productive if you know where to fish and what techniques to use. The colder temperatures test both the fisherman's skill and their gear, but with the right tackle and techniques, any angler can successfully target bass in the coldest conditions. Here's everything you need to know about cold water bass fishing, from what lures to use to where the fish will be hiding.
What Lures are Best for Cold Water Bass Fishing?
The type of lure you use will definitely affect your success when cold water bass fishing. Some lures are simply better suited for colder weather than others. For example, jerkbaits, crankbaits, finesse worms, and jigs are all great choices for cold water bass fishing. These lures mimic the movements of injured or dying baitfish, which is exactly what bass are looking for in the cold water. You can also experiment with different colors of lures in order to find what the fish are biting on that day. In general, brighter colors tend to work better in colder water since the fish are less active and not as easily attracted to natural lures that thrive in the summer months.
Where Are Bass Located When the Water is Cold?
In the winter months, bass will generally move into deeper waters to avoid the cold temperatures at the surface. This means that you'll need to adjust your tactics in order to reach them. Deep-diving crankbaits and Texas-rigged worms are both great choices for targeting bass in deep water. Another tactic is to look for areas of deep water that are close to shallower waters. Bass will often congregate near these areas in order to take advantage of baitfish that venture into shallower waters in search of food.
If the bass aren’t out deep just yet, they are likely suspended just below the surface near ledges, points, or drop-offs where they can ambush prey. These areas often hold submerged vegetation like aquatic grasses or brush piles where baitfish congregate, which attracts the bass as they continue to bulk for winter. The key to finding fish in winter is slow methodical fishing with your depth finder until you locate concentrations of fish. Once you find them, mark the spot on your GPS so you can return later.
What Other Gear Do I Need for Cold Water Bass Fishing?
In addition to the lures mentioned above, you'll also need a heavy-duty fishing line that is made for deep water fishing. Fluorocarbon line is a good choice because it's nearly invisible in water and has a high abrasion resistance. You'll also need a heavier rod and reel combo than you would use in the summer because bass tend to be more lethargic and are tougher to reel in. We recommend a rod that is at least a 7 ft MH and a reel with a gear ratio of at least 7:1:1 if you are deep water fishing with crankbaits or heavier finesse baits.
What Tactics & Retrievals Should I Use When Cold Water Bass Fishing?
When targeting bass in cold water, it's important to use a slow, steady retrieve. This imitates the movements of a wounded or dying baitfish, which is exactly what bass are looking for during this time of year. You can experiment with different types of retrievals until you find one that gets bites consistently. Another tactic that can be effective is dead sticking. This simply involves casting your lure out and then letting it sit motionless in the water. This can be especially effective when using live bait such as minnows or worms. The key is to be patient and wait for the fish to bite before moving your lure at all.
Cold weather doesn't have to put an end to your fishing adventures. With a little bit of preparation and knowledge, you can successfully target bass even in freezing temperatures. By following these tips, you'll be able to choose the right tackle, locate fish hiding in deep waters, and use effective tactics and retrieval methods that will result in more bites and more fun!