During the winter months, freshwater fishing is often at its slowest. Cold air sets in, cooling the water, slowing down the fish, and causing even the most aggressive predators to stay in second gear.
For many anglers, winter fishing is the time for a break. For some it’s time for traveling to some of the best winter fishing holes. However, if you live around the southern region of the U.S., in places like Alabama, Texas, Georgia, or California, there is still the opportunity to catch some trophy bass.
You’ll have to change your strategy and your mindset to pull up winter bass, but for the most part, you can catch cold-water lurkers with the tackle you already have.
Few experienced anglers will disagree: slowing down your retrieve is the first step to catching winter bass. Because of body temperature, metabolism, and less available food, all fish, including all species of bass, will slow down their movements in order to conserve energy.
In winter, bass are finicky about expending the fuel needed to strike a baitfish, and will usually only attack fish that present an easy meal. In summer, a fast retrieve will trigger a strike, but in winter, you need to slow down the retrieve. This takes discipline, because an angler’s natural inclination is to reel in rapidly. Slow things down and you should have more success with any lure.
Winter not only changes the nature of fish, it changes the nature of the water. Not only is the water much colder, it is often clearer as well. Why is this? One of reasons, especially in heavy agricultural areas, is less farming activity, which loosens the soil and allows more dirt to be washed away by rain. Another cause, depending on the specific body of water, could be less algae growth.
Whatever the cause, just know that you will likely find more clarity in the water. Because water is clearer, fish will be able to see your lures better. This means you’ll want to use natural-looking lures instead of bright, attention-grabbing neon colors. Stay away from chartreuse and go with natural greens, browns, and silvery blues. If it looks more like actual bait, it will be more effective in the clear winter waters.
In the summer, it is not unlikely to find a single bass holding in one location. They are generally solo animals, so if you catch one bass near an overhanging tree, that spot is likely cleared out. In summer, it’s a good technique to keep moving, even after you catch a bass.
However, in winter, bass will school together, so if you catch a fish over a structure, continue to hammer that spot. The school is likely close by, and they’re looking for a tasty meal too.
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A family fishing trip can be one of the best experiences of the year, but you need the right planning and attitude to make it a success.
With these tips, your next family fishing trip will be more fun and create an even greater bond with your loved ones.
Fishing is a pretty simple sport.
The overall goal is to convince a fish to bite your hook. From there, however, it can get pretty complicated.
Even the first step of choosing a rod and reel can be complicated. There are thousands of different options, so how can you possibly make the right choice? We’d like to help by showing you the basics of rod and reel selection.