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Coping with the Cold

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.
 
St. Joes 5 lbs 8 oz 1
 
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.
 
Runaway Bay Garrett 12-7-13
 
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.
 
Runaway Bay 12-7-13
 
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.
 
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5 Responses

  1. tommy myers

    I was a diehard like u when I was young.

  2. sol

    Mike i agree and love this article. Any time you talk about cold water fishing it get’s me pumped up. A few people i’ve talked to recently made the statement ” i’m starting to get depressed because fishing season is over.” I replied, fishing season isn’t over, there are bass to be caught even during the cold and snow. Too many anglers put their equipment up earlier than they should in my opinion. I understand how intimidating this time of the year can be but it pays off. If you have the cold weather gear and patience it can be a blast, and you also have the chance to land that giant. You won’t get many bites, but when you do it’s a bigger bite.

    • sol

      I forgot to tell you i love the pictures. It shows how dedicated both of you are. Keep it up. Early march i’m putting you on that 7lb plus fish. Keep a few days available in your planner.hahaha

  3. Bob Price

    Thats right, you guys made a cold water convert out of me. cold water got my better half to start bassin as she was with me when I caught a 7 lb plus in late Feb or early March. Thanks Guys

  4. sol

    Welcome bob. I’m going to try and get out later today. I saw a few ponds unthawed coming back from columbus yesterday. Hope a few of mine are. Hopefully i get a picture today.

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