How to Catch Big Bass in the Winter


By Austin Neary

In mid November, the Southeast was beginning to see a few mild cold fronts, but it was warm for this time of year. Water temperatures were well above what they usually are headed into December. So depending on where you are, this article might be one of those things to stick in your back pocket for a little while. You’ll thank me later!

As of right now, the fish know what they are supposed to be doing, but the weather is not allowing them to do it. Stay around the bait! Your topwater lures are still going to be playing a big role as well as spinnerbaits and swimbaits. If the fishing becomes difficult, which it will because of transitional fish and uncooperative weather, pick up a confidence finesse lure or small compact jig and put some fish in the boat!

Q: What should I be looking for right now?

A: Backwater areas, in hopes of running into some cruising largemouth. After running the shallows, look for shoals, points and pockets that offer deep-water access. Cover water with a buzzing frog of some sort, a rattlebait, shallow crankbait and a spinnerbait. When out on the points and shoals, I’d be throwing jerkbaits, soft swimbaits, flukes and trying to imitate baitfish fleeing in order to ignite a school of feeding winter bass!

Q: Now, how do you catch big winter bass?

A: As it gets colder and the winter patterns start, fish will hold in two different areas, deep ditches and steep banks. They want to hold in the most stable water in the lake that also offers adequate opportunities for feeding. Steep banks allow easy access to the top of the water column without traveling great distances. Ditches are great ambush points when schools of shad swim over them.

There is a common misconception that winter bass don’t eat in the winter. That is not true! As long as they are living, they are burning calories. It’s about efficiency, and these fish want to position themselves where they can get the most food for the least amount of energy spent! Slow lethargic lures are a must in the winter.

Top 10 Winter Lures:

  1. 1/2 oz. 8up Football Jig with Yamamoto twin tail grub trailer
    Where: Ditches & steep banks
  2. 3/16 oz. Shakey Head with Zoom Finesse Worm
    Where: Ditches & steep banks
  3. 1/4 oz. Casey Ashley Underspin with Keitech Fat Swing Impact 3.3
    Where: Ditches
  4. Megabass Vision110+1 Jerkbait in Tennessee Shad
    Where: Steep banks, deep points
  5. Huddleston 68 ROF 12 in Rainbow Trout or Perch
    Where: Ditches & steep banks
  6. Crippled Herring Jigging Spoon
    Where: Ditches and suspended fish
  7. Jenko Double J Pod Alabama Rig with Keitech
    Where: Creek channels, ditches and steep banks
  8. Zman NED Rig
    Where: Ditches & steep banks
  9. 6th Sense Crush 500 Deep Diving Crankbait
    Where: Ditches, creek channels & steep banks
  10. Lake Erie Rig Tube + Finesse Worm
    Where: Steep banks, ditches, creek channels
Austin Neary is president of Dream Catcher Guides LLC. Contact him at 443-534-4900.


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