Ideal conditions

dying aquatic vegetation in cold water

First and foremost, I only really fish this way when there’s a good bit of vegetation present. You could probably draw a strike every now and then fishing with these baits around docks and tree tops, but I would lean more towards something like a Megabass Magdraft or something similar rigged on fluorocarbon or monofilament in those situations.

Instead, when fishing with a weightless or belly weighted Texas-rigged soft-plastic swimbait, I’m looking for whatever vegetation is left that I can find. We’re talking lily pads, pad stems, water willow grass, coontail, milfoil, hydrilla or some other type of living vegetation or whatever’s left of it after it had gone dormant.

Then you’re going to need some sunshine, lots of it ideally. The sunshine will heat the water up a bit and more importantly, heat the cold-blooded bass up even more. Most of the year when I’m fishing a bait at or near the surface, I’m targeting shady areas but not in the winter. In the winter, sunshine is your friend and your best chance of drawing an aggressive strike. So if the water temps are down in the mid 50s or below and it’s cloudy, I’m not even entertaining this technique. But if the water is in the low 50s or even mid to upper 40s, I’ll give this a try as long as it’s sunny.

But you’ll also want one more variable to be in your favor if possible—a little wind. It doesn’t have to be blowing 20 mph and in fact, it’s better if it’s not. A nice little breeze is ideal for really taking this bite to the next level. These three conditions are lined out in order: Vegetation is the most important, sunshine is second and if you can get a little breeze… all the better.