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Simplify winter bass fishing with these tips

 

News from Sportsmanslifestyle.com

 

By Sam Rutherford

Mark Menendez calls winter a favorite time to go bass fishing for one reason. It’s simpler than any other time of the year.

“It’s all about location, location, location,” says the Skeeter Boats pro team angler from western Kentucky. “The metabolism of a bass is slower than any other season, meaning the fish will not go very far to feed.”

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Menendez, also a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, finds that wintertime bass go vertical when it comes times to feed. They simply move up and down the water column. He keeps it simple by focusing on shallow ledges, creek channel bends, or the ends of riprap points.

“Those areas are more vertical than lateral, and the bass can move up to the shallower water, grab a bite to eat, and then slide back out to where they came from with minimal movement,” he says.

The presence of rock, common in those vertical feeding areas, is the key attractant for the bass and bait. The reason why is that rock retains more heat, adding another reason to keep it simple and go vertical.

Menendez, a touring pro for 30 years, has discovered a peculiar trend about best fishing times during the winter chill. Prevailing wisdom says the middle of the day into early afternoon as best, when the sunshine warms the water and rocky habitat. While that is somewhat true, he’s discovered over the years that early morning and late afternoon are ideal times to be on the water.

 

“The bass are cold, moving slow, and looking for bigger than a larger than average meal, so it’ll sustain them for several days,” he says. “Instead of having to search for small bait all the time, they search for a big shad.”

That justification lines up with his simple choice of three lures. For feeding fish in shallow water, from 5- to 7-feet, he chooses a Strike King Pro-Model Series 3 crankbait.

“It has a tight wiggle and rounded lip that comes through rock better, which is where I focus all the time during winter,” he says.

On days when the bass won’t react to a tight, wobbling bait, he uses a Strike King Pro-Model Series 4 Crankbait. The reason being it more resembles the bigger meal oftentimes preferred by winter bass, along with a wider wobble.

When the early morning and late afternoon feeding window is closed, during midday, he chooses a lure for suspended bass in deeper water. That choice is a Strike King KVD 300 Deep Jerkbait.

“It’s the only bait I have found that has a magnetism that pulls fish to it,” says Menendez. “With other baits, you have to go after the fish, while the jerkbait attracts fish from greater distances.”

Lure cadence is key with the jerkbait. Menendez stresses using a softer jerk and longer pause than normal for this reaction-type lure. He won his first national tournament using this technique with a 10-second pause between jerks.

“It was the longer-than-normal pause that allowed the bass to come to the lure that made all the difference,” he says.

That goes against the textbook technique of using rapid jerks of the rod tip to create the lure’s erratic action. Slowing down to a 10-second pause is difficult by human nature. Menendez manages his urge to jerk by sitting down, literally, on a folding boat seat.

“That may sound silly, but when we are seated, we are far more patient than we are than when standing up,” he says. “I sit down most of the time just to be patient, and that will add huge dividends to wintertime bass fishing.”

For all three baits, he keeps color choices simple, too. It’s either solid red or white.

“I don’t know what the scientific reason why red is so productive, other than my experience has proven it works,” says Menendez.

The choice of white emulates the skin color of gizzard and threadfin shad, the bait most preferred by the bass in wintertime.

Finally, Menendez downsizes his line, preferring an 8-pound Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon Line. Lightening up also means the bass don’t have to move far to get his lure.

“Especially with the jerkbait, you are targeting suspended bass between 12- and 14-feet of water,” he says. “If I use the 8-pound line, I’ve just cut in half the distance that fish has to move to take the bait.”

Bundle up and keep it simple with these tips, and your wintertime bass fishing trips will be more successful.

For more information or to find a dealer nearest you, visit www.skeeterboats.com. Find Skeeter news, team activities, happenings, and events by following us on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram.

 

This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only and are not intended to be an endorsement.

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