Bass Fishing the Winter Transition with Capt. Mike Gerry

December 04, 2019
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The dead period between fall and winter bites is crucial for accurate fishing decisions. Factors like depth, structure, bait, and watercolor influence fishing locations. Water temperature drops, fish move to warm water, and key structures like grass and stumps affect fishing locations. Reaction baits like jerks and rattles are effective during this period.

There is no doubt that there is a dead period between the fall bite and the winter bite;

making the correct decisions during this period is key! What factors determine your decisions

are the most daunting as being in the right place at the right time, or fishing where the fish

are is the task at hand. What determines where to go, what to look for and what baits to use

will be the topic of discussions. Depth, structure, bait, watercolor all gives you keys to

seasonal change.

What happens when we start to see changes or the movement of this dead period of fall and

the cold of winter and the between stages is key to understanding where to fish; the water

first of all falls into the low 40’s in water temperature moving the fish to areas of warm water

when feeding. The bait moves, the bass move with them and feeding becomes rare during

the coldest part of the day. Temperature readings become a key factor, looking for warmer

water can be a difference maker as just a couple of degrees difference may make your day

much better. Key pieces of structure like grass, stumps, and the depth your fishing can be the

game changer that puts you on the fish. As any time of year food source is always a factor in

finding bass, so use your electronics to look for bait balls, or shad popping along the edge of

some deeper drops can determine where you should spend your time. The sun is a big factor

in this time of transition; the sun gathers the fish up, warms the water and becomes a factor

in their competitive aggressive nature. It generally changes their feeding time from the

natural early morning to more of a midday allowing you to start your day a little later

eliminating the need to get on the water at first light. Bass roaming the shallows or over

structure like grass are more normal than any other time of year; winter transition changes

fish habits and their constant movement to feed up and prepare for the cold is more common

than any other time of year.

When I see this change occurring, I start first with reaction baits, there is probably no better

transition bait for the fall to winter change than a jerk bait, it’s a taunting, settling reaction

bait that drive bass nuts this time of year. Especially the deeper runners that drop down to 10

ft. or more allowing you to entice them off the bottom of 20 ft, water. There is no doubt that

this time of year feeding is rare, but bass always react to quick jerks or baits being dropped

off edges from shallow to deep water. Rattle baits have been successful reaction baits as the

weather changes for many years. Rattle baits offer such a great ability to change presentation

as you can drop it or speed reel it or slowly move it over and around structure, there is no

better bait in grass as it darts and snags and reacts off of grass with consistency producing

bites like no other transition bait. I also like to roll a spinner bait during the early winter

change from fall to winter, as the water temperature falls a spinner bait offers the ability to

helicopter your bait down drops and ledges. Bass roam below ledges in this time period and many

times a spinner bait flashing with blades moving up and down a ledge can be a presentation they just

cannot ignore.

Be persistent with reaction baits, find the right water and food source and you will be

successful! In the coldest and nastiest days of the winter transition looking for ways get the

fish to react to baits as a food substitute and you will have some good days fishing during the

toughest conditions.

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Capt. Mike Gerry

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