Winter Bass Fishing - Hard Targets

December 05, 2020
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Winter bass fishing is the best due to cold water driving largemouth bass to hard targets like rock, bridges, or wood. Utilizing a Lowrance structure scanning and expanding the view on the Lowrance side scan about 60-80 feet can help locate key targets. Hard targets are darker in color and are often found in rock or stumpy bottom areas. During winter, bass will suspend for safety around cover and feed as needed.

Winter Bass Fishing Hard Targets

History has proven that the winter bass fishing is the best of the hard target fishing. This is because the cold water drives largemouth bass out looking for different structure “hence the bass move to hard targets” like rock, bridges or wood in the coldest part of winter. Those days where you are out on the water and it seems like you just can’t get a bite and it’s the middle of December head to the hard targets and you will find the bass! I promise you, it will put you in the middle of the bigger largemouth bass and concentrations of them. It has worked for me for years and I still make it work today! Combine looking for hard targets with the constant water current as they pull water in most impoundments, especially in the winter and you will find the winter some of the best bass fishing of the year. Hard targets can come in many different looks. It just doesn’t have to be your traditional structure, it can be anything that sits on the bottom in reasonably deep water; old sunken bridges for example are great winter structure.

In order to verify my belief in the winter, I utilize my Lowrance structure scanning to its fullest and dissect areas of cover, working precisely and moving slowly, as I observe the bottom looking for keys that tell me bass are located in the area I am scanning. I head immediately to the depth change areas and start scanning for largemouth bass around different types of solid bottom structure. Today’s electronics see the bottom in full HD. This is a tremendous advantage that the old timers never had. In most freshwater bass lakes, I like expanding my view on my Lowrance side scan about 60 to 80 feet. Anything more gives you too wide of a view and reduces your ability to find the key targets. Also, its key to remember that hard targets are always darker in color than soft targets like grass, so if your using a red color in your pallet then look for the dark red to distinguish the hard targets. It is also important to remember to use your measuring tool on your Lowrance unit, as understanding the size of the bottom structure can be key to working it from all angles. Loo for the rock or stumpy bottom areas to find bass and remember conditions like high water, wind, typical wintertime conditions drive fish to these areas for a means of escaping the changing conditions. The bass will suspend for safety around cover and feed as needed in the cold water. The good news for largemouth bass fishermen who fish grassy lakes like Guntersville, most of the grass is dying, allowing you to see the exposed hard targets as they erode away and pull from the bottom.

After I find structure that appears to be holding fish, the best piece of advice I can tell you as you are dissecting the water for bites is use several different baits and fish several depths around the hard cover until you find what they want! It might be a slow-moving bait like a jig, or it might be crank bait or shaky heads or even a big worm. Work close to the cover then back off it until a depth and pattern appears and you start catching fish! The thing you can bet on is that the bass are there. It's your job is to get them to bite and find something they will react too.

Hard target bass fishing come in a lot of forms. It can be shell bottom or gravel. You could be fishing some red clay areas of the lake that create hard bottom areas. Explore them all. Eventually you will score and have some great winter bass fishing fun!

Captain Mike Gerry for In The Spread

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service


Call: 256 759 2270

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