Get bass to bite even in cold water

2011-07-23 00:00

HEY bassers … I wish I had numerous reports of big fish biting and confirmation of certain dams producing unswerving results, but to be totally honest, I don’t.

I have had frequent reports from anglers, but these have not been very encouraging.

Not only is the water level at Albert Falls dropping, so are the results. Not too long ago the fishing was reasonably positive at this dam and before that was actually great. Now, anglers are not catching ten fish in a day.

The next BETT event is scheduled for Inanda Dam and I’ve scouted some hopeful areas.

I had been forewarned that the fish were not really rising to the challenge, but never realised the bite would be so taxing.

The dam itself is in immaculate condition, 100% full with the shoreline vegetation at every turn. I eventually found myself covering vast areas of water to put just a few fish in the boat.

It won’t be long before the uninspiring fishing takes a turn for the better again, meanwhile there are a few ways to ensure you are still catching your share of the fish.

The water temperatures are at their lowest at this time of the year which is probably the major reason for the dreary fishing so keep your approach slow and distinguished.

When the bass get finicky in winter, my first theory is to target isolated off-shore cover.

What I mean by target is to choose a likely area, normally close to deeper water or located on a drop-off, and systematically pick apart the chosen cover.

Use rigs or baits that you can soak in the zone for longer periods without having to be removed from the strike zone.

A bait simply “left” in a bass’ area of influence will often draw a strike from a normally unresponsive fish.

Drop-shot and shaky head rigs are classic examples of such baits with a Texas rigged plastic being a definite option for denser cover such as brush piles. Leave your bait in contact with the cover for as long as possible with just a shake every now and then.

The alternative trick to catching submissive bass is to cover as much water as possible in the hopes of playing the elimination game.

You however need wind to push you. You can use your trolling motor, but the movement of the boat will never be as deliberate or directed.

A Carolina rigged bait is the top performer when drifting, just increase the size of your weight and lengthen your leader.

Ultimately you want the breeze to drive you either parallel to a shoreline or along a break line, with your modified Carolina rig in tow. This is a great way to cover vast areas effectively and in the process will hopefully catch you some fish.

These tactics are definitely not the most exciting ways to fish for bass, but when there are not too many options on the table, can make the difference when you need it most.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource.

Email me with reports, pictures and questions at Catch em’ up.

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