Keep it simple in winter
Look for deep drops, fish vertically and slowly
Once you locate fish in an area, working slowly with a jig can produce some great catches.
During the coldest months, fish can actually get quite predictable, since fishing pressure does not dictate their locations. Locating fish and catching them are two different things, since their metabolisms are slower and need for food is less.
Simplicity is key. If fish are holding in deep water, find them with your electronics first. They will likely be schooled up if in deep water, normally on a steep or near-vertical drop. Places to look are edges of roadbeds where they fall into creek channels and the outside bends of creek channels. Looking for bait and the presence of birds is often the best way to find good drops. If you are fishing small lakes and ponds, they are most likely going to be near the dam in the deeper water.
If you are fishing a warming trend or just want to target shallow bass, do it near deep-water channel swings or on rocky banks and points. If you are in ponds, a piece of hard cover in the deepest basin can be a magnet.
So, these are the places to look for — pretty simple. What do you fish with?
For deep-water bass, if the school is tight and actively feeding (you will see streaks on you electronics) it is hard to beat an old-school slab jigging spoon. If fish are inactive, a drop-shot rig with Culprit T-Rex in Ayu color gets the nod. Both baits should be fished right below your trolling motor on a school of fish you have found by idling around.
For the shallow water bass, more closely relating to banks, I prepare several rods.
First, for covering water, a medium-diving. tight- wiggling crankbait is great for searching. If there is still green hydrilla or elodea around, a T.D. Vibration is awesome.
Second, a suspending jerkbait in clear water is a must. This can be deadly if there are bass suspended around deep wood waiting to ambush schools of shad.
Lastly, a small Dave’s Tournament Tackle jig with Culprit trailer. This is really good when you catch a fish on one of the other baits and really want to work an area over. You will often catch multiple fish in one small area with this little bait.
That is as simple as it gets 5 rods. Check out the new Daiwa Lexa reels and Daiwa Cielo rods for awesome actions for each of the techniques listed above. This should give you a few simple choices on where to look and you should have great success this winter.
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North Carolina Sportsman is the complete hunting and fishing magazine for North Carolina.
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North Carolina Sportsman is the information guide for North Carolina's most active hunters and fishermen.
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