Most bass fishing articles suggest that the best solution for dealing with the winter doldrums is to stay indoors and take care of offseason equipment maintenance. While I agree that servicing your reels, cleaning the cork handles on your rods, and replacing the rusted-out treble hooks on your crankbaits are all important tasks that need to be taken care of before you make your first casts next spring, I find that the best way to stave-off seasonal depression is to go fishing. Mother Nature has a tendency to make fishing trips this time of year difficult. Ice and snow buildup can create treacherous travel conditions. Windchills in the teens will not only freeze your fingers and toes, but will lock your reel and eyelets with ice. And water temperatures that barely crack the freezing point will slow the bite. But to me, it’s worth it, because there’s no better feeling than twitching a jig and pig while the snow fills your boat…and then sticking a cold water hawg. If you decide to take a fishing trip this winter, here are a few pointers that will improve your chances of success. 1. When it comes to lure selection, jigs, jerkbaits, bladebaits, and dropshots are tough to beat this time of year. Slow presentations can be effective, but are not a requirement. Bass will chase a bait even when water temps are in the high 30′s. 2. Focus on the banks that are receiving the most direct sunlight. Sunshine will quickly raise the water temperature, and bass will get surprising shallow to sun themselves. I’m shocked at how shallow they will get here in Ohio in the winter. 3. Stay warm by layering up and investing in a nice rain suit. Keeping your hands warm is paramount – if you can’t feel your hands, you can’t fish. Wear a pair of think cotton or wool gloves under a pair of flexible neoprene gloves. Tape a chemically activated hand warmer to the underside of each wrist. This will warm your blood before it enters your hands. 4. The minute the air temperature drops below 32 degrees, the guides on your rods and reels, and even your line, will begin icing up. Occasionally spraying your guides and line with KVD Line and Lure Conditioner will slow the ice from building up. If that isn’t working, simply stick your rod into the water and shake it around to quickly melt the ice away. 5. Be safe. Falling out of your boat this time of year can be deadly. Never fish alone, and make sure you have a life jacket handy in the event someone does take a spill. For more information about fishing Ohio waters for bass during the winter, check out Winter Bass Fishing in Ohio: Part 1 and Winter Bass Fishing in Ohio: Part 2. Be sure to follow Ohio Bass Blog on Facebook!