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Five Baits for Winter Bass Fishing

Five Baits for Winter Bass Fishing

Terry Thornton |

Winter bass fishing can be challenging as bass tend to be less active in colder water temperatures. However, with the right baits and techniques, you can still have success. In fact, if you don't have ice on your lakes, this is the best time of the year to find that PB you've been looking for! 

 We have created a list of the top 5 baits to begin your search with this winter and how to fish them when the water temps have dropped.

  1. Jerkbaits:

    • How: Work jerkbaits in a slow and deliberate manner, giving the bass a chance to react in the cold water. Long pauses are not only encouraged, they may be necessary 
    • Why: In most lakes, there is a natural shad die off as water temperatures drop. Jerkbaits mimic injured and weak baitfish and can trigger reaction strikes from lethargic bass. Use natural colors in clear water and brighter colors in stained water. 
  2. Jigs:

    • How: Fish jigs along the bottom, targeting structures like rocks, brush piles, and ledges. Slow is key here, as is staying in contact with the bottom when you are fishing deep structure. This is the time to break  out those 3/4 Ounce football jigs!
    • Why: Jigs imitate crawfish, a staple in a bass's winter diet. Use a slow, dragging retrieve, and choose natural or dark colors to match the winter forage. 
  3. Blade Baits:

    • How: Fish blade baits vertically in deep water, hopping them off the bottom around schools of shad or over hard bottom and humps. Underspins can be a great option to cover water, and help your bait stand out around the shad schools.
    • Why: Blade baits create a tight, vibrating action that can attract bass in cold water mimicking shad separated from the school making them easy targets. Use chrome or silver colors to imitate shad, a common winter prey.
  4. Alabama Rig (A-Rig):

    • How: Fish the A-Rig around submerged structure or in open water. Don't be timid about fishing around deep water docks, brush piles, and standing timber. Matching the size and color of your swimbaits to the local forage is a must.
    • Why: The Alabama Rig mimics a small school of baitfish, making it an effective winter bait. Fish it slowly and experiment with different trailer colors to determine the bass's preference.
  5. Drop Shot Rig:

    • How: Fish the drop shot rig near the bottom, using finesse worms or small creature baits. Keeping the bait in front of lethargic fish is key. Fish brush piles, bottom contours, and weedlines.
    • Why: The drop shot allows you to present a subtle and enticing bait right in front of the bass. It's effective for targeting suspended fish or those holding near the bottom.

Additional Tips:

  • Fish Slowly: Winter bass are less active, so slow down your presentations and give the bass ample time to react.
  • Target Deep Water: In many cases, bass will move to deeper water during the winter months where the temperature is more stable.
  • Pay Attention to Water Temperature: Use a fish finder to locate areas with more stable water temperatures, as bass will often congregate in these areas during winter.