Cold season is here and for some of us bass bites tend to slow down substantially. As the anticipation for spawning season builds, we can’t help but daydream about the upcoming spring days. Meanwhile, we have two options; either go out and brave the weather while risking hypothermia as we hunt for suspended hibernating bass or to get our tackle ready for the not-so-cold days after a long winter. Today, I will open my Plano boxes and let you into my secret stash of go to lures that land me bass not only during the cold temperatures, but the warm ones as well.
Whether you are a beginner or experienced kayak angler, you know that tackle can either make or break you. Kayak fishing is a journey full of self-discoveries. What works well for you, might not work for others and vice versa. Therefore, fishing from a kayak necessitates becoming one with your environment and opening yourself to an intimate experience with the fish. Learning from what did or did not work for you.
A pleasant experience will be enhanced with a bit of planning and prepping. Organizing your lures can be a time consuming task, one that if done properly will get you fish every time you go out on the water. The key is to be utterly familiar with your layout, your working space within your kayak and which lures will match the conditions of that particular day.
Although I do most of my fishing from a Pro Angler 14, where square footage is not an issue, sometimes I do venture out on the Revo 13 or the Outback which forces me to be more aware of my tackle management and accessibility.
First of all, my Plano boxes help me to stay organized, since they pack all of my precious lures. Back in the day, I kept my plastics in their original bags. This became a logistical nightmare especially when looking for the right lure at a critical time. I did this as I wanted to preserve my plastics’ scent, particularly those ones with the desirable garlicky scent. Now, thanks to the Plano’s waterproof tackle boxes which are equipped with the Dri-Lock O-ring seal, I can now preserve the scent for all of my lures as if they were in their original bags.
During the winter months largemouth bass’ metabolism slows down significantly. They tend to become lethargic as they suspend themselves near underwater structures. There are three lure types that you will find in my go to tackle box during these conditions; jigs, jerkbaits and plastic creatures. These three lures are effective enough to catch the eye of the laziest bass and deliver reactive bites to land some potential beasts.
Turning to the seductive attributes of the jig could considerably improve your chances to get more bites. I always find myself using heavier jigs and darker colors since I fish a lot of stained water. Black and blue color skirts have produced the most consistent results. Sometimes my skirts will be a mix of skirt colors or a variation of black and greens in order to bring a contrasting look to the whole presentation. If you fish clear waters, a standard jig-and-pig that is bulky and over utilized by most anglers could negativity affect your ability to generate bites. You will have to downsize your jig as well as the trailer in order to prevent spooky bass from running away from it.
In cold waters, a jig with the right complementing trailer is an excellent choice for bass at all kinds of different depth and structures. A ¾ ounce skirted football jig is a great choice for deep water presentations since you can grind it on the bottom. But it is also a great bait when swimming it or bouncing it off and around cover. This attracts big bass and big strikes. A four inch plastic craw trailer will work great with deeper presentations. I stick with black and blues for stained waters and green pumpkin in clearer water.
My other weapon of choice is a jerkbait. These lures provide me with the versatility to bribe bass that might be slightly comatose. A pre-spawn bass cannot resist the enticing darting movement of a jerkbait. Ideal spawning areas with quick access to deeper water, such as lake points, docks and steep banks should be worked with a variety of shad colored suspended jerkbaits. Focus on casting parallel to the outer edges of the dock or points, where pre-spawn bass tends to hold.
These bass tend to stack up along main lake points at the mouths of spawning bays, as well as secondary points within them. It is well known that these are their last stops before they head in to shallow areas to get the spawning season going. The secret is to drive your jerkbait to depths of five to eight feet in order to bypass the smaller bass. You do this by giving two or three hard side sweeps which will make it dive to the targeted depth.
The Pro Angler and the Outback provides me with the most stable platforms in order to cast and work this lure while standing. I alternate reeling with the jerking motion by pointing my rod down and retrieving it, in an up and down motion. The lure movement in the water gives the fish the right cues to strike even in the most difficult fishing conditions.
Lastly, my favorite of all of my bass lures are my plastic creatures. I alternate between lizards, worms, crawdad looking creatures and some of the other alien looking creatures. However, I find myself gravitating toward the crawdad lookalike plastics more than anything else I have talked about.
These creature baits are designed to get a bass’ attention. Underwater, they imitate the real deal very well and ultimately it will come down to a combination of size, choice of color, and presentation to get a bite. I usually fish them on a jighead or texas rig. Black colors with blue swirls and red flakes, works really well in stained water. My all time favorite is the 4.5” texas-rig jig from Power Team Lures. It is a crawdad looking lure with a built-in plastic skirt for extra action, which has constantly delivered big bass throughout the year regardless of temperatures. The size, the weight, and the design allows me to work this lure with or without a weight.
Kayak fishing is a constant learning process. Do not let the cold temperatures keep you from getting out there and fishing. These lures have worked for me throughout the whole year and they can work for you as well. See you in the water and fish-on!