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How Bass Respond to Cold Fronts
By Denny  Brauer

The cold front is probably the most used excuse there is for failure to catch bass. It has destroyed more patterns and crushed more dreams than all other weather situations combined. It separates the good fisherman.

I am not sure scientifically what happens to bass during a cold front. From a fishing standpoint, it is easier to explain. As an example, let's say a big bass lives by a bush. Under stable weather conditions its strike zone may be several feet around that bush, depending on water clarity and sky conditions. The bass is aggressive and will chase the bait. This makes lots of lures and techniques possible fish catchers. Even the poor casters catch fish under these conditions. When the cold front hits, this strike zone shrinks. The worse the front, the smaller the strike zone. Under bad cold fronts, the bass will barely move at all to get a bait. A bass that was aggressive the day before suddenly is not biting. Instead of laying beside the bush, the bass in now in the middle of the bush and more than likely in the thickest part and not willing to come out and grab normal offerings. This is where the techniques of flipping and pitching can be so effective. What is important now is to realize that the bass has changed its mood because of a weather change. It has also changed its location because of a weather change. You can see why paying attention to the weather and learning how it affects bass is so important.

What a front does to bass depends a great deal on the severity of the cold front and where bass were holding before the front hit. If bass were positioned on main lake points, they may just back out into deeper water and suspend, and these are indeed very hard fish to catch. If they were on relatively bare banks or flats, they may pull to the nearest drop or creek channel. If they were on the edge of a creek channel, they will probably drop down to it. The examples go on and on.

The one situation and key that has won lots of money for me is when bass are shallow, a front hits, and cover is nearby. Rather than go deep, they






  simply bury up in the heaviest cover they can find. Just like a covey of quail that were out feeding in a field during good weather will head for the brushpiles and bury up when a snowstorm hits.

Now, if parts of this heavy cover have deep water next to them, they should be better than the rest. Also, say there are fifty bushes on a flat and all are in about the same depth except ten that are a little bit deeper. After the front, those ten will more than likely hold more bass than the other forty combined. These are just examples, but hopefully they will get your mind working in the right direction.

In clear water situations you can normally get more action after a cold front by down sizing your lures. If you were catching bass on a five-inch grub before the front, a three-inch grub will work better after the front. Irregardless of the water color, for consistent success you must slow down and be more precise with your presentations after a cold front. Repeated casts and flips to certain areas may be required to generate a strike. One of the primary reasons for the rattle on my Strike King Pro Model Jig is to irritate bass into biting under these circumstances. I will allow the jig to sit in the strike zone while I shake it and irritate the bass with the rattle. Analyze how severe the front is you are dealing with and where the fish were before it hit. Pay attention to how much the water temperature drops and determine what options the bass had and where they moved.

I actually look forward to cold fronts in tournaments because they eliminate so many patterns and frustrate so many competitors. If you know the options left for the bass you can use the cold front to your advantage and catch some giant stringers of bass. The key is to fish slow.

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