Boomerang Tool and Pro Staffer Russ Lane Offer Tips for Winter Bassin’ Success
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean it’s time to put your rods and reels into hibernation. In fact, if you employ the right strategies and techniques, it’s possible to put plenty of fish on the boat despite colder water temperatures. Boomerang Tool Company, the leader in innovative retractable fishing tools, offers the following wintertime bassin’ tips from Boomerang pro staffer and BASS Elite Series veteran, Russ Lane. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to get the bass to cooperate, regardless of the chilly conditions.
Start off with the Right Fishing Tools
“The last thing you want to do out there in the cold is fumble around looking for your essential fishing tools, or worse yet, lose them overboard,” noted Lane. “All Boomerang tools – including The Snip line cutter, Big Catch H1 Pliers and Swift Cut Knife – have integrated, retractable tethers, so they’re always secure and there when you need them, he said. “You can attach them to your belt, jacket, or just about anything. And while they’re compact and lightweight, Boomerang’s tools are also super rugged and corrosion resistant, so they can handle whatever the cold, wet winter environment dishes out.”
Put Your Fishfinder to Work
According to Lane, your first step in locating willing wintertime biters should be using your fishfinder to locate humps and rocky ledges off secondary points at depths of 15 to 30 feet. This is the kind of deeper structure bass tend to relate to during the winter. The exact depth you’ll be fishing will vary upon water clarity. Generally speaking, the clearer the water, the deeper the bass will be holding.
Employ Effective Baits
After locating this type of offshore structure, Lane likes to cast out a ¼ oz. Buckeye Pulse jig with a 4-inch Big Bite Jerk Minnow trailer, and let it sink down to where his sounder shows the fish are suspending. “During the winter, bass typically suspend over the humps and rocks,” Lane points out. “That’s what makes this type of offering so effective. It has a real tight wiggle and pulsating action that even suspended bass in colder water can’t resist.”
Slow Things Down and Be Patient
When the water temp gets down to 50 degrees or colder, it’s crucial that you slow down your presentation. In the winter, bass don’t want to expend much energy chasing down prey. If you repeatedly work what looks like a satisfying meal close enough, you should be able to get a lethargic wintertime bass to strike. Lane suggests crawling your bait over structure with a painstakingly slow, yet steady, retrieve. This takes quite a bit of patience, but the reward will make the wait worthwhile. Lane also reminds anglers to devote adequate time to working a likely haunt in the winter. “Don’t pick up and leave just because you don’t get bites right away,” says Lane. “If you’re sounder is showing that you’re over structure and fish, be sure to give the spot more time to produce than you would during other times of the year.”
Use Lighter Line
Lane tells anglers to use lighter line to fool cold-water bass. He normally spools up with 12-pound test fluorocarbon, which is not only harder for the fish to see, but also sinks faster than monofilament due to its thinner diameter. “The lighter line gets my bait down into the strike zone quickly and keeps it in productive water longer,” said Lane.
Have a “Back-Up” Plan
While targeting deeper structure during the winter is usually the best strategy, Lane tells anglers to have a back up plan. “If the offshore spots aren’t producing, search for ‘lay-downs’ in shallower water near feeder creeks,” he said. “Look for submerged timber where water flowing in from the creek turns from green to stained.” When Lane finds this kind of spot, his bait of choice is a 3-inch Big Bite YoDaddy plastic craw. “I’ll cast the craw into the shallows and work it slowly, parallel to the logs, into about six feet of water,” he noted. When offshore spots aren’t doing the trick, seeking out these areas and applying this technique will often save the day.”