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Fishing in the Cold
By Chad  Brauer

Winter often brings about frustration to bass fishermen. The cold water leaves fish lethargic and bites are hard to come by, and in many areas the ice keeps boats in the garage through these months. The cold months can be some of the most enjoyable if you can figure out how to get the fish to bite.

The factor that I feel is most important this time of year is mind set. You must focus on what is going on with the fish and expect to get fewer bites than in the coming spring. Since fish are cold-blooded, the cold temperatures have the metabolism of the bass shut way down. This means that they are moving slower and feeding less often. With this in mind you can approach the bass in a manner that will get some bites, slowly.

There are several techniques that have produced well for me. They all have one thing in common: slowing down the presentation. Perhaps the most infamous of these is the suspending jerkbait. Work this bait down to the depth of the fish, then stop and let the bait sit for minutes at a time. Give it a twitch then let it sit again. The fish will usually hit on the twitch. It is imperative to get your bait to the point of neutral buoyancy. This is not always easy because it changes with water temperature, so have some supplies along to alter your bait's buoyancy.

Slowly dragging a Strike King Pro Model jig can also produce. When I say slow, I mean real slow. The fish are usually deep so I use equipment suited for this. A Daiwa 7" & 3" Dion Hibdon Jigging rod and TD-X reel with 12-15 lb. test Stren line and a 3/8 to 1/2 oz. jig are standard for me. I stick with natural colors for the most part since I concentrate on clearer water in the






  cold. Chameleon Craw, Watermelon, Pumpkin/Green Flake, and Smoke/Red Flake are my favorites.

A tube bait worked in the same manner can be equally effective. I use the same set up with either a Strike King Flipping Tube or Strike King KVD Tube. Colors remain the same as in the jig. I fish both tubes on a lead head that fits inside the tube.

Change your mind set to match the conditions and slow down your presentation, and you can have some hot action on the coldest days of the year. You may also be one of the only people on the lake, which is a rare bonus these days!

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