Winter bottom fishing
by Mike Gerry
As winter becomes the norm the bass are reluctant to move and chase as we would expect during chilly water fishing. One way I counter this is to find some 10 to15 foot water, near grass, and work a football head jig off the grass. The downside of this technique is it can be boring and concentrating or staying focused can be tough. The thing is you must stay focused because the bites are subtle and when you get a bite it might be the one fish you have been hunting all winter long.
The technique of dragging a jig is not complex; you must concentrate on keeping your jig on the bottom and not allowing it to hop, or lift, off the bottom. If the water is rough, or it is windy, and your boat keeps moving, this is when this technique takes some skill. What I do in rough water conditions is point the rod tip at the water instead of holding it high and let the wind movement drag the jig as it moves the boat. If it is rough, I then leave slack in the line so the up and down of the boat does not pop the jig off the bottom. The bite can be difficult to feel when fishing this technique in rough water; you really must be aware of any change in feel of your jig. Sometimes you luck out and the bass really hits the jig hard and you can feel the bite easy, but this is not the norm so sensitivity to the bottom and change in movement direction must be sensed by the angler or you may miss the fish!
Lastly, jig size has a lot to do with getting a bite. You would think that you can just take a big heavy football head jig and it would stay on the bottom making the presentation simple. Not necessarily true; however, I like a heavy jig in the winter, but size matters, so I try to use the smallest football head jig size I can fish. A 3/8 or 1/2 ounce size is what I prefer because the smaller football jig is, the more bites you get by dragging it on the bottom. Use a small profile trailer and concentrate on the bite, and you can catch some big winter bass!