During the coldest months of the winter, bass in highland reservoirs congregate in deep water, where they chase shad and other baitfish. Given the monstrous area these fish can cover this time of year, hunting them down can be challenging. Elite Series pro Cody Huff shows how he uses modern technology and a simple Damiki rig to target these fish over extreme depths.
FEATURED TACKLE (retail links)
- PLASTIC – Missile Baits Quiver Worm, 4.5″ Buy at Omnia Fishing
- JIGHEAD – VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig Head, 3/4-ounce Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- ROD – Johnny Morris Signature Series Rod, 7’1” medium-light Buy at Bass Pro Shops
- REEL – Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Spinning Reel Buy at Bass Pro Shops
- LINE – Sufix 832 Braided Line, 10-pound, Ghost, Buy at Tackle Warehouse: Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- LINE – Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon, 10-pound Buy at Bass Pro Shops
WHERE TO FIND
It’s well known that bass go deep when water temperatures drop. But where is the best place to look? To find bass mid-winter, Huff focuses on deep drains, sometimes known as ditches, of major creek arms. Getting out of the main river channel provides slack water for both baitfish and bass to exert less energy. These creek drains can still be plenty deep, though, 60-80 feet here, to give consistent water temperatures for fish during the winter months. Some of these drains can be quite expansive, so locating bass inside of them can be a headache of its own.
The #1 ingredient to look for within the drains is bait. Huff relies on forward-facing sonar to find balls of bait and then chase down the bass following them. As seen in the video, these bass range anywhere from 60 feet down to just below the surface, so keeping your eyes peeled is an important key.
HOW TO CATCH
Once a single or group of bass are located, one of Huff’s favorite winter presentations is a basic Damiki rig to get to the fish quickly. He prefers to use a natural baitfish imitating plastic on a 3/4-ounce jighead to bomb his bait down as fast as possible. As stated earlier, these bass never stop moving. Huff says predicting the movements of bass and leading them with your cast is crucial at these depths.
Huff keeps it simple with his gear for this technique. Even in crystal clear water, Huff prefers to use 8-10 pound test fluorocarbon to reduce the time of the fish fight. Rig it up up on a 7’1” medium-light spinning rod, and you’re in business to catch some deep winter bass.
ELECTRONICS & BOAT CONTROL
• FISH FINDER – Garmin EchoMAP Ultra Fishfinders Buy at Tackle Warehouse
• FORWARD-FACING SONAR (FFS) – Garmin LiveScope Plus System Bundle Buy at Tackle Warehouse
• FFS TURRET – RITE-HITE Turret, Buy at Amazon
• TROLLING MOTOR – Garmin Force Trolling Motor Buy at Tackle Warehouse