Unleashing the Thrill of Winter: Catching Big Fish in Freezing Temperatures by Bruce Callis Jr

Unleashing the Thrill of Winter: Catching Big Fish in Freezing Temperatures by Bruce Callis Jr

Shiver me timbers, it’s cold. We’ve just had our first taste of snow, and thoughts of big bass are dancing through my thoughts. I already have my Christmas list on its way to Santa. I’m not sure what he might get this year, but I know it’s going to be good. Until he arrives, I’ll go fishing, looking for the thrill of the locomotive.
Winter fishing is one of my favorite past times, but it’s not for the faint of heart, or at least those who get cold easily. I packed my clothes so I could stay there all day. Now I rig my rods with the best winter baits and hit the water.
The first thing I’ll do is spray my line with Reelsnot and the eyes as well, so I can keep the ice from making things too difficult.

While there are many options, the best choice for me is a lipless crankbait. I have caught a lot of big bass over the winter with him. My choice is the SPRO Aruku Shad 75. I like the ability to cast a 5/8-ounce bait long distances and let it sink to the bottom and then rip and retrieve it only slowly and steadily while keeping it off the bottom. Although this is my best option, I will also set it back to different depths and work it slowly as well.
On bright, sunny days, I like to use Chrome Blue, Chrome Shad, or Chrome Black to flash to help attract bass. When it’s overcast, I’ll opt for Cell Mate, Nasty Shad, or even Pearl Shad. The thing to remember is to make changes if one doesn’t work. Color change, or action through recovery. Frequent casting is key, and fan casts should be made to cover as much of the water as possible.

My second choice is the SPRO Jerkbait. My first choice here is the McStick 110. It is suspended at a depth of 3-5 feet. If I need to go deeper, I’d go for the McStick 110+1 as it dives 9 to 12 feet. I like to use 10 lbs of Red Label Seaguar Fluorocarbon to achieve maximum depth. For bright days I prefer Chrome, SPRO Blue or Chrome Shad. On cloudy days I change to Cell Mate, Matte Shad or Dirty Bone. The secret is to make long casts and work them slowly. Vary the jerks and pauses until you find what they want at that time. At 110+1, my choice is Deadly Black Shad or Blue Bandit.

I’m really starting to get into swimbaits. And here’s where I’ll throw a 6-inch SPRO Megalojohn swimbait. It has great action and can be rolled slowly or retrieved quickly. But I prefer a slow retrieve this time of year. Comes with a single Gamakatsu treble hook held in place by soft bait magnets and a 1.75 ounce weight. Again, long casts are important. I will rig my line to 12 to 15 pound test. It’s a slow bait that can really catch big winter hawks.

the fourth
A rocket bait jig is my next choice. We all know that jigs are a big bait and winter is a good time to use them. Either the Ike’s Flip Out Jig or the Head Banger Jig are my top choices. Whether you’re working it below drops, around any submerged structure or any layers or brush, the key is to be ready to set the hook on the hawthorn. Bruiser, Brown Purple Passion, or PB&J are my main choices for Head Banger while Bruiser or Brewgill are my favorite Flip Out colors.
The trailer can be do or die here too. Winter is a time when everything moves slowly, so you don’t want a trailer with a lot of movement. Missile D Bomb or Baby D Bomb can be a great choice. There is work, but it is more subtle. The Mini D Chunk will provide more movement. But don’t ignore the Quiver or Magic Worm which offer a different look without a lot of action in cold water.

Here’s where we get a little more subtle. A 3.5-inch Shockwave or Spunk Shad 3.5-inch rocket bait on a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce round ball head jig. That is I use a spinning rod set up with an 8-10lb fluorocarbon leader to a 10lb test braid mainline. I prefer a 7’3″ to 7’6″ lightweight medium action rod with a fast action. This allows me to make long casts and keep the bass pinned while I work it. Let it drop to the bottom and work on it again.
I’ve been listening to others discuss different baits that can be used for the winter, and it got me thinking and thinking about trying a few out this year. One is a spey bait, like the Spin John 80. And we can’t forget the crankbait, which I love to throw. And you can’t forget the spinnerbait, my brother’s main bait all year.
The main thing is that you need to get rid of what you trust. Be smart while you’re there. Put on your life jacket! Change completely, in case an accident occurs, and be prepared to catch some of the biggest bass of your life. And be sure to share it with us at The BassCast!!

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