Don't Wait For Warm Days To Fish Winter Bass

Dustin Wilks Bass
Wilks Bass
Dustin Wilks with a giant largemouth caught on a cold, dreary winter day.Dave Wolak

Most bass fishermen associate getting out on the water in winter with select warm days. But what they fail to realize is that the dreary, cold, sunless days can actually be a better choice. I was just talking about this with my friend Dustin Wilks (pictured with a recent nasty winter day slob). We both concluded that along with the fact that very few bass anglers go out on days like this, the aggression level of the bass may be higher because of the favorable pre-frontal barometric pressure coupled with lower light. Plus, the bass tend to suspend less like they would if the sun were warming the surface. That puts them on the bottom and around structure where we can easily pick them off with bottom-bouncing baits like jigs. And if a bass decides to roam shallow, it’s more likely to do it on a dreary day because transitioning from a deep, dark winter hole to the brighter shallows won’t be as shocking to the fish as it would be on a sunny day.

Of course, fishing the true winter days is a double-edge sword. It’s easy to freeze your butt off out there, especially if it rains. That problem is easily fixed with proper gear. But another factor Dustin and I both noticed that is harder to fix is that the dreary weather seems to significantly shorten your suitable daily fishing time. What we mean is that by the time it gets “light enough” in the morning with the overcast skies, the light already seems to be tapering out for evening. The sun above the clouds seems to need to be directly overhead in order to have enough of an effect on the bass to say, “Let’s eat!” As soon as that happens, it shortly subsides. Therefore, use that block of time between, say, 10am and 3pm for you’re peak hours to hit it hard. But at the same time, I’ll never steer anyone away from the daybreak hour any time of year.

If you choose to fish a dreary day, keep your jig or spoon close to the bottom structure and go with black/chartruese on a football head jig and white for the spoon. If you roll into the shallows, then brighten up you’re moving baits not with chromes, but with whites or bright reds. Two of my favorite ugly winter day baits are a Megabass Vision 110 Jerkbait in French Pearl, and a 6th Sense Snatch 70 Lipless Crank in Lava Truese.