4 Ways to Catch Winter Smallmouth Bass

There’s a reason why Delaware and Susquehanna rivers guide Blaine Mengel doesn’t stow his rods after fall. Though smallmouth bass may be harder to hook in moving winter water, Mengel catches some of his biggest fish from December through February. “Small bass eat very small forage in winter,” he says. “Big fish may feed less often, but they’ll be looking for larger food that provides lots of energy.” Success comes from tracking the weather, using the sun, and finding ideal bottom structure. Follow Mengel’s strategy, and you’ll stay in the smallmouth game while other anglers lounge on the couch.

winter bass fishing
Track the weather, use the sun, and find ideal bottom structure. Kevin Hand

Look For Smallies in the Transition Areas

“Anywhere there’s a transition from hard to soft bottom is a great place to start,” says Mengel. The reason? Baitfish prefer a soft bottom—something the smallies know. Mengel looks for sandy 7- to 10-foot-deep eddies on west-​facing banks because they get the most sun. During the warmest part of the day you can hook up on a diving twitchbait such as an XCalibur Xt3 worked super slowly with long pauses.

Hit Rock Eddies With Soft Plastic Tubes

Mengel targets slack rock eddies with soft bottom during slight warming trends. “With their metabolism slowed, these fish won’t dart into the current to eat,” he says. “But barely twitch a soft-plastic tube in the calm eddy head and you can pick one or two off.”

Fish Deep Holes For Smallmouth Bass With Jigs

If all else fails, find a 15- to 20-foot-deep slack hole and have at it. “You’ll mark a ton of fish,” Mengel says. “But these are the hardest to catch.” Here, Mengel uses rabbit-or fox-hair jigs, as the material pulses even when the jig sits motionless on the bottom. Keep the jig still, imparting the slightest occasional twitch. “I call a winter strike a ‘feel funny.’ If something feels funny, set the hook.”

Read Next: How to Catch Winter Catfish Through the Ice

Find the Warmest Part of The River

Smallies actually will move around in winter. West-facing banks get the most sun, so hit them at the warmest point in the day. You might find a few fish searching for food wherever hard bottom meets soft.

Source Link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Home On The Range #25: A Predator-Proof Coop

Home On The Range #25: A Predator-Proof Coop

Welcome to our reoccurring series of “Home on the Range

Photo Gallery: Incredible Mule Deer Rut Battle in Colorado

Photo Gallery: Incredible Mule Deer Rut Battle in Colorado

Two mule deer pitched a rut battle royal in November, and wildlife photographer

Home » Fishing » 4 Ways to Catch Winter Smallmouth Bass
You May Also Like


Email alerts
Join over 100k outdoor enthusiast and get exclusive deals, outdoor tips and more.

Everest Outdoor Marketplace
Everest is a marketplace where merchants list and sell products related to outdoor hunting and shooting sports, fishing gear, adventure and camping equipment, apparel, and footwear, and much more.

Explore the marketplace