Winter can be a tough time to fish, especially when it comes to being out on a lake for long periods of time in cold weather. Anything an angler can do that will help catch fish is a big plus.
Bass will school in groups on key types of structure in winter and feed on schools of shad in deeper water. The clearer the water the deeper the bass will suspend on this type of cover. Most of the time this will be some form of main lake cover and some type of vertical cover that starts shallow and has a steady drop off into deeper water. Examples of this type of cover include cliff lines, bluffs, deep sides of points, or where a creek channel runs along the bank. The edge of a flat that drops off into deeper water or just a bank with a steady drop into deeper water can hold winter bass.
There is bait called a jigging spoon that looks and acts just like a dying shad when worked correctly.
These baits can be deadly on schooling winter bass, both largemouth and smallmouth. When fishing these baits use a long medium action rod with a good backbone and a stout quick action limber tip. The longer rod will give you more power on the hook set and better power on the retrieve. The limber tip holds pressure on a hooked fish and gives you better feel of the strike.
Most of the time a cast parallel to the bank will work well. Let the bait drop until it is completely vertical, but drop the bait on a tight line because many strikes will come on the fall of the bait. You can let the bait drop down to the depth you want to fish.
A good fish finder is very helpful to spot bass suspending on deeper cover. Try to keep your bait just above the fish for best results. Work the bait up and down by raising the tip of the rod and drop on a tight line while feeling for strikes.
This is a slow way to fish but can pay off big at times.