I always preach about the importance of accurate and quiet casts. I didn’t learn how to silently skip a jig or worm under a dock to impress people; I spent years perfecting it because it absolutely catches more bass. When the fishing gets tough as it often does during these early season cold fronts, excellent casting skills are worth their weight in gold.
I personally believe these cold-front bass are super spooky, meaning that if your bait lands with too big of a splash, they’ll immediately leave the area and not come back. I also believe these cold-front bass tend to snug-up to cover and stay there until the front passes. You can cast towards a stump or laydown and land three inches from it and not get a bite. But if you can drag your bait right in front of their nose, you have a much better chance of getting bit. I’m not kidding when I say an inch or two on each cast can be the difference between an 8-pound limit and an 18-pound limit on these days.
In regards to bait selection when making these precise casts, I suggest using whatever you’re most comfortable with. I know that sounds like a unoriginal answer but it’s the truth. If you don’t feel like you can skip a 3/8-ounce jig within 1/2 inch of a dock post, don’t throw it because that’s counterproductive; all you’re doing is spooking the bass. If you’re most comfortable skipping a shaky head on a medium-action spinning rod, by all means, do that. Whatever makes your casts accurate and your presentation silent is what you need to be using during these early season cold fronts.
Your expectations are a big deal when situations like this arise. I can remember getting so frustrated as a teenager going out in less-than-ideal conditions because my expectations were simply too high. I thought I’d go out and wreck ’em nearly every trip but when it’s gassing 20 mph out of the north and the air temperature drops 25 degrees overnight, it’s darn tough to catch a bunch of bass. I truly believe, however, that if you follow these tips you have a good chance of getting a few more bites throughout the day and who knows… you might just catch one of the biggest limits of your career.