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Winter is no excuse to get all down on yourself and let seasonal depression take over! If you have the best winter bass fishing lures, you’ll have no problem catching bass even if you have to shovel the boat launch off yourself.
When the temperature starts to dip into the 30s and 40s, it’s easy to pack up your gear and tuck in for the winter, but you’re accepting defeat if you do that. As long as the cold water isn’t frozen over, there are still plenty of opportunities.
Let me tell you a little secret. Winter is actually a great time of year to catch bass because… no one else is on the water. You get the lake, pond, or river to yourself and if you’re fishing in the early part of winter, forget about it. It’ll be a field day because the bass are feeding heavily as they prepare for winter, and most of the whiners have already packed it in for the year!
There are some significant changes to keep in mind when it comes to winter bass fishing, though, and we’ll cover all of that below. First, let’s take a look at the best winter lures you’ll want to have on you at all times.
Our Review Of The Best Winter Bass Fishing Lures
Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait
These lures are great for generating a strike as they cut aggressively through the water. They come with a long-casting design that creates a loud and attractive rattle to capture the attention of nearby bass.
SteelShad Lipless Crankbait
This lure casts a long distance, and you can cover a lot of water with it, so it works well if you’re searching for bass in unfamiliar territory. One of the best things about these blades is the reflection they create from the sun, so use them on bright days for the most success.
Croch Micro Jigging Spoons
When using falling jigs like these, it’s important to use a spinning rod and reel combo. This works best because it allows you to create the right amount of slack line when the bail is open. Once you get that down you, want to let it sink to the bottom and retrieve the slack before starting to jig.
5 Arms Alabama Umbrella Rig
Bass are opportunistic predators, so I think it makes sense to include an umbrella rig as one of the best lures. Bass aren’t going to travel incredible distances to chase down bait, so they might take an opportunity to catch more than one shad or shiner at once. That’s where this lure comes in!
Abu Garcia Revo X – 2X10
One factor that is important to remember about these is that you’ll want to use another real or artificial bait if you expect to attract anything. I would go with Berkley Powerbait bass attractant and rub some of it all over the skirt.
Berkley PowerBait Power Worms
I’m a huge fan of Berkley Powerbait, and these worms work for me no matter what the water temperature is. The main differences you need to deploy in the wintertime are sizing down the worms, using the ribbon tail because you’re fishing deeper water closer to the bottom, and always use red.
Winter Bass Fishing Tips
As I said in the beginning and throughout the reviews, you must understand the “how” behind fishing in the wintertime. There are many changes you need to make as you think about the habits of bass and how cold weather impacts their behavior. Let’s take a look.
Knowing what bass lures to use during the winter months is not enough; you need to know how to use them. The first and most important thing you need to know is that slowing down the presentation is not optional.
During the winter, a bass’s metabolism slows down, which means they don’t require as much to eat, and they don’t have as much energy. Their oxygen levels fall as the oxygen in the water drops, so this means you need to reduce the overall speed at which you retrieve your lures.
This factor is a big reason why I recommended many sinking and diving lures above. These might dive quickly, but the presentation you create is slower because you’re not reeling them in as fast.
In addition to the bass not moving as quickly, they’re also not feeding as much, and they won’t want to roll into a battle with a giant lure that they think will put up a big fight. As a result, you should use smaller lures in the 1-2 ounce or less range.
I like to think that bass are “scared” predators, but they are opportunistic. They will feed on something even if they aren’t trying to eat simply because it could be an easy meal.
By using an umbrella rig sized up with incredibly small soft jerk baits you’re creating a great opportunity for the bass to have its cake and eat it too.
Get it While it’s Hot
I’m a huge believer in timing when it comes to fishing. I am super precise about the time of day I fish because I really believe it plays a role in my success.
When the nighttime temperature drops below freezing, I think this becomes even more important. Bass feed when the water warms up because they need that warm-up to have any energy.
That said, if you experience any days that are unusually warm or if you wake up to a jet blue sky, those are the days you need to get out and hit the water in the late morning and throughout the afternoon. The strategy changes completely.
During the spring and summer, we fish early morning and late evening. During the winter, you want to fish in the middle of the day because it’s when the temperature is the hottest, and the sun is the brightest.
Play Their Game
Fishing is a lot like golf. It’s you against the fish, and that’s it. If you can think of a million ways to outsmart the bass, you’ll have a million fish. One of the smartest ways to outsmart a bass for winter fishing is to always try and create the impression that your lure is a hurt baitfish.
Do whatever you need to do to design this presentation. I make sure to use red lures, paint them red, and I use deadsticking or injured fish techniques.
One great example I shared above is vertical jigging. When you let the lure fall straight to the bottom of the water while slightly jerking it around to create that motion, it makes the bass think it’s hurt.
Remember that they’re opportunistic predators who will prey on the weak. When you combine that presentation with the right colors and lure types, you increase your chances of success.
So you might be asking yourself, “which lure should I choose?” I want to help answer that question. My answer is, all of them.
You want to have a variety of lures to choose from because you never know what will work for the situation you find yourself in. On another note, each lake and pond provide different structures.
For example, you might want to use a blade bait on a bright sunny day, but in two hours, it quickly becomes overcast, and it’s time to switch over to a soft plastic worm.
You can’t go into any fishing situation short-handed, so I highly recommend getting as many of these lures as you can so you’re always prepared.
I’ve provided you with my perspective as well as many suggestions on the best lures for winter. All of the options recommended above are excellent choices and should appeal to bass anglers of all levels and locations.
As mentioned, please focus your efforts on technique and strategy as opposed to thinking the lure will cure all your problems. Winter fishing is tricky, so you need to get the finesse right.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and that you’ll take advantage of some of the tips and tricks outlined here to catch more bass this winter!
Now you have an excuse to get out of the house when the weather is crappy whether it’s late winter or early spring, get to it!