and clear is not the best weather report for a Sunday morning fishing
trip, but a lot better in winter than in summer.
warmer weather, I try to fish on cloudy days. And some of the reasons
hold true in winter as well as summer. Fish tend to move away from
cover when the sky is dull gray and stick tight to cover when the
sun is bright.
after weeks of extreme cold, I am grateful for the sunshine and
willing to work tight to cover to catch a bass. Besides, shadows
on south shores are long in winter, providing a fairly large area
for the fish to hide in.
bass, of course, are more likely to move shallow on the north shore
of reservoirs this time of year, forsaking good cover for water
warmed by the sunshine. That means shallow fishing can be good in
the sunniest areas on warm winter days.
many experts like to spend their winter days fishing deep with spoons
and jigs, I seek out the spots where the bass move shallow and use
crank baits and spinner baits. Undeniably, a jig and pork-rind combination
can be the best lure even when the bass move shallow in late winter.
But I love to fish a lure designed to move fast, even though such
lures have to be worked slowly when the water is cold.
secret to success with crank baits and spinner baits can be using
a stiff rod, boron or graphite. Bass seem to mouth slow-moving lures
gently in winter. A sensitive rod offers a special advantage.
that bend easily are great for working crank baits when the water
begins to warm, because bass hit aggressively and fight powerfully
then. But now is the time to use the stiff worming rod for cranking.
selection is absurdly easy in winter. Crawdad brown with orange
trim seems always to be best in clear water, while shad-gray is
perfect for dingy water. The secret, of course, is finding warm
water that holds bass. Any color crank bait is likely to work where
big bass are concentrated.
main thing is not to miss a day of late winter bass fishing. The
action can be the best of the year.
fishing, of course, is always likely to be great this time of year.
Crappie, like bass, may be absurdly shallow, even though spawning
time may be weeks away in most parts of Arkansas. Look for the best
crappie fishing over deep water, however. The slabs aren't likely
to get far from deep cover until they are ready to move to the shore
along the edges of old creek channels are my favorite casting targets
when working jigs for crappie this time of year. I refuse to use
a float to keep my jig near the surface, so I usually catch fewer
crappie than anglers who use bobbers to control the depth their
jigs fall. But when I hook up with a nice crappie in winter, I feel
extra proud, since it usually means I have concentrated well and
kept my lure working just slowly enough to attract strikes but fast
enough to stay at the right depth. Sometimes the challenge is too
great and I give up and use a float. It is stupid to persist in
resisting a proven method when those all around you are catching
10 fish to your one.
succeeding by a method slightly different from the one that most
other people are using is always an extra pleasure enjoyed only