Winter Fishing

4 Winter Bass Fishing Techniques for Co-Anglers

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Winter bass fishing is tough enough. The fish aren’t very active, it’s nasty outside and it’s pretty dang tough to get bites most of the time. It’s even tougher, however, when you’re on the back deck of your buddy’s boat. They’re getting the first shot at all of the good-looking cover and you’re just kind of stuck back there waiting for your turn.

You can use this to your advantage, however. With lots of the spring team tournament trails starting up, I wanted to put an article together outlining some different ways to maximize your effectiveness as a co-angler. Whether you’re fishing a team tournament or just looking to earn bragging rights with your best fishing buddy, try a few of these things and I’m willing to bet you’ll have better luck.

As a little “disclaimer”, I have learned a good many of these things from my wife. She is a heck of an angler and a terror on the back deck. She has caught a bunch of big bass with me over the years, so I want to give her credit on this article.

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Repeated casts are huge

We’ve talked about repeated casts a lot in prior articles but they’re even more important when you’re a co-angler. Like I mentioned earlier, it can be pretty frustrating from the back deck. Sometimes you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere while your buddy is getting all sorts of great casting angles on the juice. While you’re waiting for your next good casting angle, however, it’s important to remember the importance of repeated casts.

Winter bass tend to get pretty tight to cover, especially with all of the rains and muddy water. This makes ’em fairly predictable to locate but they’re still tough to catch due to the cold water and their slowed metabolism. I’ve learned through the years, however, that you can make these bass bite but it’s not out of hunger. You essentially have to tick them off enough to swat at your lure.

So if your buddy is flipping a dock or something, pick up a moving bait (crankbait, spinnerbait or ChatterBait) and run it down the outside edge of the dock several times in a row. If you don’t get a bite for the first few casts, don’t be discouraged. There could very well be a 5-pounder sitting on one of those dock posts just watching your lure buzz by its face. Sometimes it can take 8 or 10 casts to irritate that fish enough to make it bite.

I’d honestly say that the majority of my biggest bass have been caught as a result of this stubborn approach. Of course, it’s not guaranteed on every single piece of cover, but if your gut is telling you there’s a fish on a certain piece of cover, you need to listen to it. Your gut will rarely lead you astray in bass fishing.

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Buzzbaits in cold water? Darn right.

I’m always pretty amazed to see how little buzzbaits are utilized throughout the year. Lots of anglers only reach for them for a few months of the year and then they’re stuffed in a tackle tray and forgotten about for months on end. If you’re going to be a co-angler this winter and early spring, I strongly suggest getting a few buzzbaits and having them rigged and ready to go.

There was a guy on a lake in this state (I’m not going to get too specific because I know him) who went on an absolute tear the past two winters. The water temperatures were in the low to mid 40s and the fishing absolutely stunk… for everyone except him. Come to find out, this joker was throwing a black buzzbait to catch his fish and dominate all of the tournaments. His dang fingers would be frozen and his nose would be numb and he’d be out there throwing a buzzbait.

Now, it’s important to understand that he didn’t get a bunch of bites. If he was lucky, he’d get six or seven bites during tournament hours. But man, if you find yourself on the back deck without having much luck, don’t be afraid to pick up that buzzbait in cold water. I can almost guarantee your boater won’t be targeting the top section of the water column, so this tactic gives you the ability to make a totally different presentation and target a different population of bass.

I have tried this over the past few years and I can tell you with confidence, you’ll get some big bites. The trick is to not get lulled into “robot mode” while you’re fishing that buzzbait in cold water. You’ll go an hour or two without a bite before ol’ Sally rears her head and just about makes you wet your pants. So it’s important to stay focus if you want to try this. 

(3 of 3)

Repeated casts are huge

We’ve talked about repeated casts a lot in prior articles but they’re even more important when you’re a co-angler. Like I mentioned earlier, it can be pretty frustrating from the back deck. Sometimes you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere while your buddy is getting all sorts of great casting angles on the juice. While you’re waiting for your next good casting angle, however, it’s important to remember the importance of repeated casts.

Winter bass tend to get pretty tight to cover, especially with all of the rains and muddy water. This makes ’em fairly predictable to locate but they’re still tough to catch due to the cold water and their slowed metabolism. I’ve learned through the years, however, that you can make these bass bite but it’s not out of hunger. You essentially have to tick them off enough to swat at your lure.

So if your buddy is flipping a dock or something, pick up a moving bait (crankbait, spinnerbait or ChatterBait) and run it down the outside edge of the dock several times in a row. If you don’t get a bite for the first few casts, don’t be discouraged. There could very well be a 5-pounder sitting on one of those dock posts just watching your lure buzz by its face. Sometimes it can take 8 or 10 casts to irritate that fish enough to make it bite.

I’d honestly say that the majority of my biggest bass have been caught as a result of this stubborn approach. Of course, it’s not guaranteed on every single piece of cover, but if your gut is telling you there’s a fish on a certain piece of cover, you need to listen to it. Your gut will rarely lead you astray in bass fishing.