Rain helped with low water levels last week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2010

The rain last week certainly helped with the low water levels. The area land locks lakes were anywhere from 2 to 3 feet below normal.

None are back to pool stage. Fish activity was slow early this week but the fish are adjusting to colder water temperatures and the slightly higher water levels. Both the bass and white perch activity is at its best from December through March.

As hunting property gets more expensive and harder to find, more people are fishing during the winter months. Ten years ago I could fish a full weekend and never see another boat. That’s over now as more people have figured out just how good cold water fishing can be in this area.

Email newsletter signup

Surface water temperatures were averaging about 62 degrees before the last cold front. The water temps dropped to about 58 but with air temperatures of 72 degrees yesterday the water warmed up a few degrees.

The bass will be holding tight to the outside cypress trees, the man made brush piles and deeper piers. This is jig time. The jig rules over all bass lures when water temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Strikes may be fewer but the bites you get on a jig will be from larger fish. Other lures like Rat-L-Traps, spoons and such will catch fish but if you follow the results of the local bass club tournaments, most events are won using jigs during the colder months.

You can increase the number of strikes by going to the lightest jig possible for the current conditions. If the wind is blowing you need to go to a heavy jig head. The most important thing with jig fishing is to keep in contact with the bottom and the structure.

If you can’t feel the jig working across the bottom and through the structure, change to a heavier head. We always use some type trailer on the back of a jig.

Some days a big trailer like a Zoom Big Chunk works better than a small trailer. If the bite is tough just scale your jig trailer size down.

Colors are not as complicated as most people make it. Anything that looks like a crawfish or bream will work. I have fished jigs for well over 35 years and only use three, maybe four colors. You need something with a little blue in it, a jig with some purple strands and a jig with orange strands.

The base color can be black, brown or green pumpkin with the brighter colors mentioned being the accent. Trailer colors can be contrasting to the jig skirt. By this I mean the trailer does not match the jig colors at all or you can match the trailer to the jig skirt.

I found that when fishing clear water the subtle colors like green pumpkin or brown work better. In muddy water you need to use the more contrasting colors like black and blue with a blue trailer.

The mistake most fishermen make is giving up on the jig before the fish turn on. During the colder months the bite is better from mid day on.

I’ve had people in the back of my boat casting a jig right along with me until about 9 a.m. then they get bored and change lures. That’s usually when I start putting big fish in the boat. So be patient with the jig and don’t worry so much about colors.

Location is the most important factor since you can’t catch what is not there. Find the fish this winter and you can catch them on a jig.