Weather good news for fishing
That was a mean cold front that passed this week.
We went from a low of about 30 degrees to a predicted high today of 80 degrees. A 50-degree increase in temperature is just crazy. Weather like that will trigger a major transition in the fishing world, and it is a good one.
I would say the lakes are less crowded with fishing boats, but over the years, many have figured out what we have known for decades: The colder the water is in this area, the better the fishing.
Some of our lakes do not offer very much deep opportunities while others do. The lakes that offer deep cover are the ones I like to target in the late fall and winter seasons. I would rather locate fish in deep water than shallow water. The size is larger, and the numbers are better if you can put the pieces of the puzzle together.
On the deep lakes, it is all about sonar — the knowledge to set up the unit correctly and interpret exactly what your underwater eyes are telling you. Many look for fish on their sonar units. In most cases, the bass and white perch hang so tight to cover, you will rarely see fish signals unless the fish are suspended.
Suspended fish are not impossible to catch, but the fish holding in the cover are much easier to catch. If the waters you fish have quick drop-offs from shallow to deep water, just idle over these drops and watch for any breaks along the drop. It could be a brush pile, rocks (rare in our area) or just a quick change in depth. Those are the places you will find the most fish and largest fish during the colder months.
I am a bit ahead of myself writing about the cold-water patterns. Our water temperature is not quiet cold enough to abandon shallow water patterns just yet. The cold front did drop the surface water temperature down several degrees. The weather forecast for the next few days is on the warm side, so we will see water temps slowly increasing a few degrees next week.
This will keep the shallow bite going. In this area, we usually have a good shallow bite all the way through December, but this year has been everything but normal. The jig bite for largemouth bass will rule in this area with the local favorite brands being Crawgator and Elk River Jigs. The Crawgator tends to work through the heaviest brush without hanging on every limb. The Elk River jig has a bit lighter weed guard, which gives you a better hook set, but the Elk River jig will snag now and then.
There is a time and place for both jig types. The soft plastic bite is still on, but it will slowly fade out as the water gets colder. Rat-L-Traps will produce from now until the end of next spring. This lipless crank bait has produced many bass tournament wins. The Trap bite excels if the lake your fishing has some type of aquatic vegetation but you do not have to have moss to catch fish on a Rat-L-Trap or anyone of the dozens of imitation lures.
Another lure a few of us have been using for decades is gaining popularity. The jigging spoon excels when the shad are deep and the bass are suspended. Fish the spoon vertical or as near to vertical as possible. Spoons have treble hooks and a treble hook will hang you up. When the spoon snags, the worst thing you can do is pull hard on the lure to free it from the brush. Just get over the top of the cover and jig your rod tip up and down. I used the same spoon in thick cover last winter and never lost it.
Get ready for some good things to happen on our area lakes.