||12-08-2011 12:51 PM
Attacking the last cold front
Attacking the last cold front
The bass are still biting, and they're probably not as deep as you think
By David Walker
Dec 7, 2011
The last serious cold front is upon us, at least in most parts of our country. That can be intimidating, but only if you let it. In truth, itís not that hard to find and catch bass right now if you approach things correctly.
Before we talk about fishing, however, I want to say a quick word about safety at this time of the year. If you fall out of the boat, youíre going to be in real trouble. So, watch your step, put everything away and donít get in a hurry. Wear your life vest at all times ó no matter how young you are, how strong you are or how well you can swim.
Now, letís go fishing. Think about this spell of cold, nasty weather not as a cold front but as the beginning of winter. The shad are moving ó or have moved ó out of the creeks. Those that survived the temperature change and the journey are out in deep water near vertical structure. And, for the most part thatís where youíll find the bass.
Donít make the mistake, however, of thinking that just because youíre looking at winter areas youíre going to find the bass really deep. Most of the time you wonít. Over the years Iíve found that early winter bass will move to their winter spots but wonít necessarily drop down into the deepest water.
Theyíre not yet ready for serious winter habitat. They just want to be near it. I think about it as their security blanket. Most of the time youíll find them in the 5 to 6 foot range. Thatís not a hard and fast rule, though. If youíre fishing a good spot and not getting bites donít be afraid to go deeper, or even shallower.
My favorite places are bluff walls over deep water and vertical timber along some other kind of structure, usually a creek channel or a series of ledges. Youíre looking for something that forms a right angle at the bottom but that goes straight up through the water. Mostly it should end close to, or above, the surface.
My favorite lures are spinnerbaits, small, flat-sided crankbaits and jigs. My spinnerbait choice is a 1/2 or 5/8-ounce Terminator spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with one Colorado blade and one willow leaf. I always slow roll it through the strike zone. Itís a horizontal presentation through vertical structure.
My most productive early winter crankbait is a Koppers Live Target. They have several models, and they all work. Pick one that looks like the local forage and that runs around 5 or 6 feet deep, but donít be afraid to change if youíre not getting the action you think you should.
A small (3/8-ounce) finesse style Terminator jig will also produce at times. Pick whatever color you like. Swim it along and bounce it off whatever you can find in the water. Do not get fancy. The waterís cold. All your baits should move slow and steady. Think slow roll with everything.
As long as you can stay comfortable and safe, I suggest you ignore the weather and fish when you can. Right now theyíll bite if itís sunny, if itís cloudy, if itís raining, if itís snowing or if itís blowing.
Donít let the cold weather get you down. Go fishing!