Now is the time of year that largemouth bass will start to move to deeper water to hold till spring. The milder temps will move largemouth some and they will look for the warmest water they can locate.
Smallmouth bass are much more suited to the cooler water and the colder water. When the water temps get in the low 50’s, largemouth bass will become less active and will feed less, but smallmouth bass, on the other hand, will still remain active in the cooler water. They will feed and move around all winter, especially on top-rated smallmouth lakes like Dale Hollow Lake and Lake Cumberland.
The bait that is the top choice of most largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers to use at this time of year is the jig. The jig comes in two basic styles, a rubber skirted model and a hairskirted model. The rubberskirted jig is mostly used in wa- ter temps ranging from the mid 50’s on up to the warmer water, while the hair jig is used in the cooler water temps ranging from the mid to low 50’s and on into the cooler water temps.
There has long been the belief that the hair jig is only effective in cooler water temps, but I can tell you that this is not always the case. I have fished the hair jig all year, even in the warmer water months, and the hair jig has outfished the rubber jig on almost all the trips I have used a jig.
As I stated before, the hair jig is a top choice bass bait by most winter anglers. Your choice of hair jigs should consist of the smaller sizes like the 3/8 ounce and smaller. As far as colors, I prefer to stay with the darker colors like black , blue, brown , orange, purple or a mixture of these colors. Some wintertime bass anglers like to use a white or chartreuse color.
You will want to use a long rod like a medium action, one that has a good backbone to set the hook but not a super stiff tip. Be sure to use a light weight quality line in the 8- to 10-pound test range for largemouth fishing. Most smallmouth anglers choose even lighter line like 4- to 8- pound test.
You may want to use the ultra clear fluorocarbon line at this time of year. This line is all but invisible in the water and has good abrasion resistance and almost no memory. This makes it a top choice to use at this time of year.
Look for areas to fish that have deeper water close by or have deeper water cover. Banks that have a steep drop into deeper water are good places to fish for winter bass, also structure like points, humps, old roadbeds, wood or deep brush piles, standing timber and channel drop-offs and bluffs are all top places to start your winter bassing.
Once you have decided on a place to fish, you will not need to make long cast . Instead, target your cast to a certain part of the cover you are fishing. Make a short cast with your jig and watch the line all the way till it goes slack. Then very slowly start by lifting your rod to make the jig start to move. Be sure to watch your line all the time you are fishing the jig. Most strikes will only be a slight twitch of the line or a small sideways movement.
Most strikes will occur as the bait is first cast and is falling to the bottom. If you make your cast and don’t see or feel anything, then slowly begin to retrieve your bait and feel for the cover as the jig makes its way back. If you feel anything odd or lose contact with the jig, reel down and set the hook hard. Sometimes the lightest bite can be a big fish.
This is big fish season and the jig is a big bass bait. So get out of the house this winter and give the jig a try.
If you have any type of fishing story or question, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.