The metabolism and feeding habits of largemouth and smallmouth will slow down as temps get colder, which is why it’s always best to use a slower presentation when bass fishing in the winter. Try jigs or worms — either real or artificial. As a general rule, when using plastic fishing lures in the winter, you’ll do better sticking to darker, more natural colors like brown, green pumpkin, black, blue, or watermelon.

Fish are hungry after winter and will definitely be eating more, but their feeding patterns will be fairly erratic because of the spawning season. Just prior to and during spawning, the best bass fishing lures include baits that will cause excitement without requiring the critter to leave its 10-12 foot bedding area; stuff like floating lizards, spinnerbaits, Texas or Carolina-rigged plastics and crawfish.

A Bass Fishing Lure

After the spawning season is over and temps begin to heat up, bass will spend less time in the shallows and, although they might return to the same depths they were in just prior to spawning, their tastes in fishing tackle will be different. This is the time of year you’ll want to get back to the fundamental “structure based” strategies for bass. Midday fishing should be focused on deep areas or travel corridors between structure, using diving crankbaits, and weighted plastic setups.

When targeting bedding bass you should remember that just because a fish won’t budge our of hunger or curiosity, he might sooner or later strike at something that makes him mad enough. Change your presentation, including colors and retrieval speeds to bring out the “mean” in these monsters.

Midsummer topwater bass fishing can be great whenever our favorite freshwater predators start rounding up groups of shad and slashing through the frantic bait balls near the surface. Wherever you see “boils” disrupting the water — usually in the early morning or mid-evening — try topwater plugs or spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, or anything that will dart and dive no more than a few feet down. And don’t forget old-school topwater favorites like the jitterbug or hula-popper.

Bass fishing is usually the best in early fall when the instinct to gain energy for winter goes into overdrive. They might spend a lot of time feeding, but this doesn’t mean fishing will be great every day. The rapid temperature shift from warm to cold can make behavior tough to predict and make it even tougher to choose the right fishing lures. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and plastics remain effective options throughout the fall, as do crawfish and frog patterns. Colors to focus on this time of year include junebug patterns, chartreuse/pepper, white and chart. for spinnerbaits and natural baitfish colors.

In any fishing situation, color patters should be chosen based on water depth, color and clarity, water and air temperatures an lighting conditions e.g. overcast, sunny, etc. Brighter fishing lures are more visible in deep water, since blues is the last color on the spectrum to disappear as sunlight is filtered out. Natural colors, like black, green, brown and red show up better in the shallows. At any depth, lighter colors like white and yellow, which are brightened by UV light will work best when the violet spectrum is maximized at dawn and dusk. There are many references to be found in print and online, even for your mobile device, like the “Freshwater Lures” app for the iPhone. Click here to see it in the App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/freshwater-lures/id372601317?mt=8 And Check out Mark Bilbrey’s blog entry here, for a more detailed break-down of color selection: http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/users/skippermark/blog/bassin-with-crankbaits-color-choice-tips-and-techniques–96604.aspx Information for this article was found here: http://www.bassresource.com/beginner/seasonal_lure_selection.html

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  • Meg

    Helpful info, thanks I need to get beyond worms. This gives me some useful info.