This article is from the Fishing bass FAQ, by Bass Rogue with numerous contributions by others.
- Warren (don...@erols.com)
(Note: the following discussion was offered in response to a question
asking what to try in cold clear water (winter) - ed.)
First, you've have to realize that the fish never disappear. They're
still there, but because the water has cooled down considerably, their
metabolism (bodily functions) have slowed down as well. That, combined
with the fact your lake has cleared somewhat, can lead to some difficult
When these conditions occur, the worst thing an angler can do is try the
same tactics he or she was having success with under milder and more
favorable conditions. Bass only want to eat meals that are worth exerting
the energy to catch. That means they won't often be in a chase-mode,
which explains why they're ignoring spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.
They also don't need to feed as often as when their metabolism is more
Without addressing the specific topographical features of a given lake,
here are a few general rules of thumb to try. The key word for this time
of year is slow. Because the water is on the clear side, I recommend
working the deepest structure with a large jig and pork combination fished
on light line (8 to 10 pound). Retrieve it slowly along the bottom. As
for color, it should to close to the color of the predominant forage
species in the lake. If you don't know that color, I suggest using either
a black and blue combination (universally effective) or an orange and
brown combination (imitates crawfish).
One more thing. Use the real thing (pork) as a trailer on your jigs when
the water falls into the 50 degree or lower. Plastics tend to lose a lot
of their action in cold water and don't appear as lifelike as they do in
warm water. In fact, I never use plastic trailers on my jigs or
spinnerbaits. I like pork.