One winter bass bait doesn’t get as much use as the jig, but when used in the right place at the right time, it can be very effective. This bait is the jigging spoon.
The jigging spoon is one of the oldest fishing baits in any angler’s tackle box. The spoon has been around for a long time and comes in two different styles — the casting spoon and the jigging spoon.
The casting spoon is cupped, and when retrieved it will work in a side-to-side action. This is mostly a shallow water, spring and early summer bait. The jigging spoon is a deep water bait used in the dead of summer or in the dead of winter, because during these two times of the year the bass hold on deeper water cover and will school.
There are some key things to remember when using the jigging spoon. Keep in mind that the jigging spoon is a deep water bait, and you may be fishing in anywhere from 12 feet to over 50 feet of water depending on the depth of the lake and the cover. And the cover you will be fishing is very important at this time of year. Look for mostly main lake cover. This is when a good fish finder is a must.
The biggest key for finding a good spot is to watch your fishfinder screen for large schools of bait fish bunched up in a tight school. At this time of year the bait fish schools will hold on the same type of main lake deep water structure as the bass. This is where you will want to fish.
In the cold winter water, a large number of the bait fish will die and then fall down through the school. The bass will stay below the schools and pick off the dying bait fish. This is true for largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as the Kentucky bass.
Make the presentation of your spoon look like a dying bait fish for the best results. First, locate the bait fist and determine how deep the school is, then try to fish a little below the school to make the spoon look like a dying bait fish. Look for deeper areas like points, bluffs, humps or channel edges.
When fishing with a jigging spoon, use a long rod with a lot of backbone — one with a fairly stiff tip to help in setting the hook. Use clear or fluorocarbon style line in 8- to 12-pound test. Always tie your line on to the split ring on the bait and not directly to the spoon. This will allow the bait to move around and work properly. The split ring will keep the line from twisting.
When you find the spot where you want to fish, make your cast and let the bait fall on slack line till it reaches the bottom or the depth you want to fish. Watch the line for any type of twitch or jerk and reel down and set the hook hard. Start your retrieve with a slow steady pumping, up-anddown action watching for any line movement or a odd feel like a drag or the line getting heavy. If you see or feel this, set the hook hard. You can fish the bait a long time in the same area.
Fish slow and be safe.