bass fishing here in Oklahoma is without doubt the toughest time
of the year for not only catching bass, but figuring out a
Any bass fisherman in this part
of the country who ventures out on the water during January and
February has seen firsthand the effects of a cold front. For the
most part, the day after a cold front usually means bluebird skies
with virtually little or no wind. Although, this would seem like a
perfect day to fish, it usually means inactive bass and tough
Oklahoma's own Jimmy Houston,
one of the country's top bass pros, says bass can be caught
before, during, and after a cold front if anglers can learn to
recognize how weather affects bass.
"In the winter I use the
same criteria as I do anytime of the year to determine where I'm
going to fish. I take into consideration the type of the lake that
I'm fishing, the type of water conditions, and the type of weather
that I'm going to be fishing in. Obviously if you're going out
there doing a television show or just fun fishing then you have to
look at the weather around you, but if you're in a tournament
fishing then you have to look at the weather patterns in advance.
You have to become in a sense a weather forecaster yourself,
" says Houston.
"What is the weather doing
at this particular time, is the water getting colder or warmer,
and is it coming up or dropping? To me what the water is doing at
the particular time is very, very, important."
"These are the things that
I take into consideration, and after all of the variables, I try
to eliminate certain water."
"A good scenario for a lot
of winter fishing is that the fish will generally be relatively
close to the creek channels and the river channels. They are
generally on as steep a bank as they can find. On some lakes, like
Tenkiller where I live, the bass are pretty much on a straight up
and down bank, but always close to a channel. The jig and pig is
your best lure for this situation."
"I've caught bass on a
spinnerbait in the winter, running the bait on the surface during
a snow storm. Even though that's not a normal situation, it shows
you how as a bass fisherman you have to be versatile."
"If you have a situation
where you have had lots of heavy rain and this brought the fish up
towards the surface, the fish don't care that it's gotten colder
and begun snowing because they are in a feeding mode."
"Personally, I don't thing
that fish move because of cold front conditions away from where
they were. I think that two things happen, that they move tighter
into the cover that they live on and that their strike zone
becomes very small. Although during a cold front there are always
some fish that can be caught, I think for lot of fish their strike
zone is practically nonexistent. I might not be able to catch
them, but somebody can."
"I think that often the
strike zone gets so small and the fish get so deep into the cover,
they are hard to get to. If he's in a brush pile he will be right
in the middle of it. If he's under a dock, instead of being near a
ladder or a corner, he might be back 10 foot under the dock."
"We have to find a way to
present a lure to them, no matter where in the cover they are
located. If the fish are holding tight, then instead of going by a
bush and maybe flipping it a couple of times, we might make 8 to
10 casts into that one bush."
"With low pressure before
the front, the bass have expanded strike zones, and the fish are
on the edges of the cover. After the front passes, the strike zone
is much smaller and the fish less aggressive. The reason that
catches go down is that we can't cover as much water
"I think that weather
affects the fish more so than any other factor. It's not that we
can't figure out what to do to catch bass during or after a cold
front, it's just that it takes us longer to figure out how to
catch them, and do it correctly," says Houston.
This time of the year you have
to pick your fishing days carefully if you plan on catching bass.
There may be days that you don't even get a bite, but usually if
you find the fish cooperative, for the most part they will be
quality size. For example, I fished R.C. Longmire Lake on December
21. I fished in the warmest part of the day, from 1130 a.m. until
2 p.m. I only caught 3 bass, but one weighed a solid 7-pounds,
another went 6-8 and I had one small bass. All of these bass were
caught on a firetiger series 200 Bandit crankbait. A 16 pound
stringer in late December isn't a bad day of fishing.
I will be at the OKC Tackle Show
in February, if you get a chance stop by the TLC Tackle Booth and
Remember to practice