BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 72

pro file

in winter...

Size Matters

in

the winter months, anglers face the predicament of bait size more so than any other time of year. It is known that smaller lures will tend to gen- erate more bites 9 times out of 10. How- ever, because bass are cold-blooded, their metabolism and activity level is directly correlated to the temperature of the water. In addition to this, the bass is programmed by nature to expend as little energy as possible in order to consume the max- imum amount food. This leads us to the challenging question of what is more appealing to lethargic win- ter bass: small, less intimi- dating lures, or larger lures that present a much more filling meal to the fish? On the menu of the former we’ve got the stan- dard finesse techniques: shakey heads, finesse jigs, drop shots, Texas-rigged finesse worms, and scaled down Carolina rigs, all worked at a painfully slow pace. The selection of the latter isn’t quite as broad. Lures in the realm of bulky “mop” jigs, full-size soft- plastics (8+ inches) and large Carolina rigs…yet still worked at a near-dead crawl. Without a doubt, all of these techniques have their own niche where they are a great choice at one time or another through- out the year. But the ques- tion is, what do you tie on when the water temp drops below 45 degrees? The most important factor that anglers need to consider is that of the

StepheN piNeau

do, it has to be one that can offer them greater sustenance. The most logical tool for this job is a bait that has a larger overall presence. When it’s cold, bigger is better. This time of year, if a bass decides to eat, they want to eat something of substan- tial size. Anglers will expe- rience the most success in the winter time with lures that represent a more fill- ing meal to the fish, and as many pros will tell you, you stand the chance of catch- ing your biggest fish of the year in the winter months. However, size isn’t the only consideration to make in the winter when it comes to lure selection; it is just as crucial to consider lure ac- tion as well. The bass aren’t the only creatures in the water that are feeling the effects of the cold. Crawfish, too, have become extreme- ly sluggish this time of year and are not willing to scoot and crawl around as they do throughout the rest of the year. This is a behavior that anglers need to replicate in their presentation. I feel that one of the most productive wintertime baits, without question, is a jig. Anglers recognize that few things replicate a crawfish better then a jig, and crawfish are going to play a big role in a bass’ wintertime diet. They pro- vide a much greater protein source than any other type of prey and, compared to baitfish such as shad and bluegill, don’t require much effort for the bass to catch and eat. My go-to winter-

bass’ metabolism. As discussed earlier, the cold waters of winter have the bass’ metabolism at a creep. Consequently, they are very inactive and don’t have much of an appetite; they have no interest in mov- ing a whole lot for a meal, and when they

72

«

November/December 2009