As water temperatures drop, bass migrating toward the deeper water

By Don Ingram
   As water temperatures drop during late fall and early winter, the activity level of bass will begin to decrease. They start migrating further away from the flats and return to areas adjacent to deep water. Look for 45 degree banks that lead from flats to vertical bluff banks.
   Bass winter on vertical banks and concentrating our angling efforts in those type areas will increase our chances of catching fish. Look for areas that are small that can be fished in a short amount of time.
   Some areas or banks leading from a channel to a flat may be too large to cover effectively, and an angler may fish over a school of bass simply by not using the correct technique or reaching the depth the bass are positioned.
   Maximize your time on the water and select areas that can be worked with several different techniques with a minimal amount of time.
   I use my Lowrance liquid crystal graph to determine which areas have a concentration of baitfish. The old adage, if you find the food supply you have found the fish, is more significant during this time of year than any other.
   Once you have identified an area, remember bass are creatures of habit and will exert the least amount of energy to feed in cold water conditions. Generally, under stable weather conditions, bass will be more active later in the day.
   During early morning hours, anglers need to utilize slow moving techniques like casting a jig or pitching and flipping. When casting a jig, I use a G-Loomis 7’0 NRX rod with a Shimano reel rigged with twelve pound P-line fluorocarbon line.
   As the sun warms the surface temperature, crankbaits, rattletraps, and spinnerbaits worked slowly down 45 degree banks or cast along secondary points will produce strikes.
   Now that we have talked about ideal situations where the weather has been stable, let’s discuss how bass react during unstable conditions.
   If bass are caught on a 45 degree bank on a crankbait one day and not the next because of a cold front, what happened to the bass?
   The bass didn’t leave the bank; they just repositioned, and the angler must adapt.
   During cold front conditions, bass react several different ways. They back away from the bank and suspend, go to the thickest cover, or move extremely shallow if the water clarity will allow.
   An angler must adapt by changing techniques that will cover the different depth ranges.
   A jerkbait may catch the bass that are suspended while a tube, worm, or jig might entice a strike from a fish in heavy cover.
   Anglers that change techniques and use a process of eliminating unproductive areas and will eventually locate and catch bass.

Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line

Leave a Reply