A common mistake all anglers make is we adopt preconceived notions about when the fish bite and how active they will or won’t be.
Cold water is a good example. Conditions we’re seeing here in Michigan refute beliefs that bass go “dormant.”
Most of the fishing public believes bass activity shuts down when the water temperature gets into the mid-40s, but that’s not true.
The A-rig, for example, has dispelled that belief here and across the south. The multi-lure rig has been catching quality bass in cold water for the past couple of years.
Here in southern Michigan, our smaller lakes are developing sheet ice while the bigger bodied waters are more open. Lakes in some far northern areas are completely frozen over.
Although our surface temperature is in the low 30s, diehards are catching fish. Yes, in some cases they have to drive their boats over thin ice to get to open water. But when they do, good things can happen.
You’d be amazed at how aggressive the bite can be in these cold temperatures. While the surface temp may be 33 degrees, the water is warmer where the bass winter in deeper water.
Most of our lakes don’t have current flowing through them like reservoirs, so there is a temperature gradient throughout the water column. What you see on the surface isn’t indicative of what the temp is 20 feet down.
Also, our primary forage consists of crawfish, bluegills and perch, not shad. That keeps the bass relating to the bottom around deep weed edges and scattered weed patches lying off the drop offs.
They’re tightly schooled in small areas. For that reason, it’s critical to use electronics to look for balls of bait and bass hanging close to these deep weed patches. Typically, you will find the fish on corners of turns instead of the tips of them. And those same areas will be productive year after year.
However, baits like jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits aren’t players; the fish are hunkered down so you have to get a bait that stays in their face longer, like jigging spoons, blade baits, grubs and even tubes.
Blade baits (thin, fish-shaped metal bodies with two treble hooks) are popular baits with diehard winter anglers. They cast them, then rip them a few inches off the bottom and allow them to flutter back.
However, my favorites are small tubes and grubs. Because our water is so clear now, it’s really important to use smaller profile lures. Instead of a 3 1/2-inch tube, we use 2-inchers. We stick to natural colors, like green pumpkin in soft plastics or gold spoons and blade baits.
Light line is a must. I use 6-pound fluorocarbon because it helps me control lighter weight lures in deeper water and provide a more natural presentation.
Obviously, you have to dress properly but today’s cold weather clothing does an outstanding job for keeping the body warm. I also suggest a facemask and a good pair of thin, performance gloves such as those liners used by downhill skiers. They give you free finger movement, retain your feel and keep your hands warmer than you think.
It’s not unusual to catch 20 to 25 bass a day once you locate them and 50 a day isn’t out of the question. One day, three of us sat in the boat and threw at the same spot. In a two-hour period, we caught 64 bass, including some nice ones!
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!
Here’s a reminder that COLD water is a great for catching Bass. We found this on Bassmaster.com