Greetings from Blessed Bayou! Often times among anglers, it seems winter is regarded as a lull period, where the bite slows down for the premier sportfish of lakes and ponds, such as largemouth bass and catfish. This perception is not unfounded, as the temperature drop causes a subsequent drop in metabolism. This drop in metabolism translates to decreased food intake and movement, meaning your fish are more sluggish and less aggressive. But there are easy ways to keep pulling in quality fish during the winter when the fish are lazier. To do so, we must understand where they go during this period.
In order to conserve energy during the minimal feeding they do during these months, predatory fish will seek out structure, where they can ambush forage species with minimal effort. In addition, contact with the winter air will chill the surface and shallower portions of a lake, driving large predatory fish into deeper pockets of water that have more stable and warm temperatures. So, we know that these fish will be congregated at the bottom of the water column in areas of deep water, especially near structure. Blessed Bayou is pleased to be able to offer full bathymetric lake surveys, allowing anglers to have confidence in the location of both the structure and deepest areas of their lakes and ponds, allowing them to still be on the bite during the winter months. Concerned about the quantity of structure within your lake or pond? Blessed Bayou can also offer MossBack artificial fish habitats (seen in photo above), allowing for you to provide your game fish with the structure they seek during the winter months.
Now that we’ve established fish location, we must consider lure/bait presentation. We must remember that when predatory fish do feed in the winter, they are lazy and close to the bottom. Therefore, lures such as jigs, and soft plastic worms, swimbaits and grub baits are king for largemouth bass. These lures should be bounced off the bottom and a slow retrieval speed should be utilized, in order to entice lazy fish to an easy meal. With catfishing, presentation is much the same as during other seasons, with real baits such as nightcrawlers and chunks of shad being perfectly functional during this time of year.
Understanding presentation and fish location are critical components of staying on top of the bite in any time of year but are even more essential to success during the winter months, when fish undergo large physiological changes to suit their environmental conditions.