Days are shorter, temperatures drop and cabin fever starts to set in. For most kayak anglers, the winter months, seem to be a time where we organize gear, buy more tackle and prepare for the spring. Well I’m here to tell you that you can still do all of the above and still get out on the water and catch fish.
Winter bass fishing is certainly the most challenging time of year and doing it from kayak even further complicates things. If you decide to brave the elements I would first make sure you are prepared. Make sure you have the right gear to keep you warm and dry. I’d also check your forecast frequently to make sure rain, wind and excessively cold temperatures won’t be in your near future.
The biggest disadvantage we have as kayak fisherman is the amount of water we can cover. This in turn makes your plan of attack and launch point that much more important. Winter bass will typically go to deeper water near the main creek channel with adjacent flats. I like to use Navionics or other topographic maps that you can access from your phone to scout the entire lake in relation to launch points. Steep transitions or areas on the map that have the darker and more condensed lines are areas you’ll want to target. I would say winter is the one time of year having a fish finder is crucial in that you’ll typically be looking at your graph more than you are actually “fishing”. Because these fish group up in the winter you can waste a lot of time fishing for fish that aren’t there. The Native Watercraft boats with the propel drive provide a great opportunity to cruise at optimal speeds and look at your fish finder for activity.
It can certainly be a grind looking at a screen all day but it can also pay big dividends. Because bass will group up in the winter, once you find them, you can usually catch a bunch. Because the temperatures are more stable and warmer on the bottom of a lake, you’ll usually see bass right on the bottom as little lines or streaks. Finding them is one thing, catching them is certainly another.
The winter time usually elicits a decline in the metabolism of bass. They’ll be less active and have shorter feeding windows. The big thing in winter bass fishing is to slow down; the less action in your bait the better. This is the sure way I know I can at least catch a fish or two on a winter outing. Good baits for this are shaky heads, drop shots and ned rigs. Now the polar opposite (and some of my favorite winter bass baits) elicit a lot of action and get what is referred to as a reaction strike. The fish aren’t eating out of hunger but more out of instinct. Spoons and Alabama rigs are two great presentations to put a weary bass in the boat and it won’t be uncommon for you to have that fish hooked anywhere but the mouth.
Again, the biggest thing about winter kayak bass fishing is safety. Make sure you have the right gear and have your PFD. It’s always a good idea to have someone with you during winter bass fishing because taking a spill in the lake could end very badly. Let’s make sure you can always fish another day. If you do decide to go out, be safe, have fun and show your friends you can catch them while they’re organizing tackle in their garage!
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About Greg Blanchard: Greg has taken the YouTube kayak fishing community by storm over the past few years. His approach to kayak fishing technique is unique and powerful. Greg fishes from a Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5 as his primary craft. You can subscribe to Greg’s YouTube Channel by clicking the button below.