Archive for December, 2009
While many anglers are cooped up at home and buying tackle to ease the pain of ice out; some of us are lucky enough to be able to continue to fish throughout the year. For many of us, fishing is the perfect stress release, but come winter time bass can drive even the most consistent anglers to the brink of insanity. Winter time causes an angler to step out of his confidence level, as anglers must adjust to the fish and do everything in their power to entice the rare strike. Secret holes that have produced on countless occasions no longer hold fish, and the one bait that has produced all year long becomes the enemy; begging to be picked up after proving time and time again that it simply isn’t working under the current conditions.
We hear it time and time again, during the winter months it is essential to slow down your presentations. However, slowing down should not translate into never tying on a reaction bait. One of my most consistent producers during the winter is the jerkbait. The jerkbait gives one a unique presentation, allowing the angler to target suspending fish that refuse to make the effort to travel to deeper depths. During the winter months a bass’s main goal is to absorb as much energy as possible through consumption, while spending the least amount of effort. This makes the location of your bait placement increasingly important. To target suspending fish with jerkbaits, I will generally use a Lucky Craft Staysee 90SP, allowing me to get my bait deeper and focus on drop offs as well as primary wind blown points that are more likely to hold baitfish.
To search for suspending fish, I will often try a drop shot rig equipped with two different baits at varying depths. If fish are consistently striking the shallower of the two baits, I can conclude the fish are not holding as close to the bottom. The drop shot rig is one of my confidence presentations throughout the year, and there are few baits I find more effective during tough conditions. A common misconception is that only finesse baits can be drop shotted. During the winter, I will mix it up and experiment with bigger profile baits, such as beavers, lizards and minnow imitations in hopes of presenting a more energy packed meal. I will use the same baits in murky water, when I want my bait to move more water and cause commotion.
Sometimes small changes can make all the difference. While a crawdad may not seem like a formidable opponent to a hungry bass, it is important to remember crawdads and baitfish will do anything they can to defend themselves, while bass are looking for an easy meal. Tearing one of the claws off your craw trailer, and creating small imperfections in your plastics can imitate wounded bait, and can be the changing factor in helping you entice the increasingly wary bass. Downsizing your line and the use of scent also increases your odds of keeping a bass interested, and can give you enough time to detect the bite.
When fish are holding tight to the bottom, jigs and carolina rigs can produce big. Jigs can either be slowly crawled or twitched, with the occasional pop in hopes of landing in the strike zone of a fish holding just above the bottom. Carolina rigs can be slowly worked through brush or rock, with a 2-3 foot leader, giving the bait a subtle action. When carolina rigging I like to use a 3/4 to 1oz weight, and a regular sized brush hog in natural colors. Big worms such as the Rage Tail Anaconda or Berkley 10″ Powerworm can also be effective when worked slowly along the bottom.
In the end, it can take many hours to find the right depth, bait and location. The only way to truly become a better winter angler is to get out there and fish. So bundle up, haul your overstuffed tackle bag to the lake, and keep your lines tight!
The 2010 FLW College Fishing schedule has been released for all five divisions. The western division college anglers will be trailing the FLW Western Series anglers this year as opposed to the Stren series, as the Stren series no longer exists in the West.
The Western schedule is as follows:
1/16/2010- Shasta Lake
5/08/2010- Lake Mead
6/12/2010- California Delta
9/25/2010- Lake Roosevelt
10/09/2010- Regional Event: Folsom Lake
Check out www.collegefishing.com to read more.