It’s not always the most enjoyable way to bass fish, but if you can spend a little time studying just a paper map of your favorite lake, you’ll likely find some offshore humps that can pay big dividends in these nasty cold spells. If you have the fancy electronics on your boat, that’s great. But this is something, as I mentioned, that can be done with little to no technology.
Humps, as pictured above for reference, are very easy to find on basic contour maps. The large majority of lakes have dozens of prominent humps in them and they’re bass magnets throughout much of the year. Heck, they’re even striped bass, white bass and catfish magnets, too. If it swims in the lake, you’ll probably find it somewhere near a hump.
I tend to frequent these areas in particularly extreme weather, whether we’re talking 100-degree temperatures in July or 20-degree temperatures in February. Bass love to gang up on these humps and although I’m not the best offshore angler in the world (far from it, actually) it can be an absolute blast when you find ’em.
In my opinion, they’re great places to target right now because they allow the bass to change their living situation with very little effort or energy exerted. A bass can kick its tail a few times and within a couple seconds, move from 35 to 15 feet when or if a weather front comes through. Also, these offshore humps tend to act as dinner plates for the bass. They can sit on the down-current side of them and ambush prey as it’s washed over the hump. This requires very little work for bass and they’re also able to pin said prey against the face of the hump, which makes it easier to corral baitfish, which creates a more efficient feeding experience.
If, before this recent cold snap, you didn’t see any prespawn movement in the shallows, I’d suggest looking for humps near a river channel. Because bass often spend their winters in these deep channels, humps are going to be the first piece of structure they pass as they prepare to stage for the prespawn period. Imagine being on an interstate with your truck’s low fuel light on. You’re going to pull into the very first gas station you find and I believe winter bass do the same thing with these offshore humps.
Suggested baits: Spoons, blade baits and tail spinners tend to be the stars of the show whenever I’m fishing these areas. This cold weather has put the bass in a sour mood and shortened their already-small feeding windows, so you’ll want a lure with a subtle action. I fish a bunch of different blade baits and I haven’t been nuts about many of them lately, so I can’t really suggest anything specific there in good conscience. I will say, however, that a 7/8-ounce War Eagle Jiggin’ Spoon and a Mann’s Little George are awfully tough to beat in this situation. The War Eagle Jiggin’ Spoon comes with great hooks already on it but make sure you change the Little George’s hook before you drop it down.