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Bass Fishing Heating Up in Cooler Weather
by Tom Lester

Old man winter has finally awakened and cooler temperatures are here and holding steady. For quite some time, we fall bass fishermen have been anxiously awaiting a cool down that would in turn our lake water temperatures lower. Although, today is the first official day of winter, the water is cooling off nicely. It's time to go fishing.

Personally, I love fall pattern bass fishing. It is the time of year bass gorge themselves with food getting ready for winter. When they are filling themselves up, I like to be on the water catching 'em. Generally speaking, if you can find them, they are pretty easy to catch, and catch and catch.

As the water cools down on our lakes, the shad (one of Mr. Bass' primary dishes) move into the creeks and guess who is following right behind them? That's right, ole man bass. Now that we've got 'um cornered and hemmed up in the creeks, its time put your boat in the water and get ready for some fun.

I generally start out on the points of main creeks. It is a good place to find bass that are moving into the creek or coming out. They will literally "stack up" on the points as they move around to feed on the shad.

My bait of choice on the points is a Norman's crankbait. My overall favorite is the Deep Little N (DLN) in any of the numerous shad colored patterns they have on the market. The Deep Little N crankbait is a medium diving bait that works really well when the fish are suspended off of the points. It is also about the same size as the shad this time of year. It has good action and sound with the built in rattles.

I use 10-12# CXX P Line year round, when cranking. My friend, Eric Talley of Corsicana, TX, turned me on to using the smaller lines. I'm glad he did because it has greatly improved my numbers since I switched. The smaller line allows the bait to dive deeper and have a better action than the larger lines do. If you are like I used to be, using 15-20# line while fishing a crankbait, try sizing down your line. I bet you catch more bass, like I did.

I know what you're thinking; what if I get a $4 or $5 crankbait hung up and all I have is 10 or 12 pound test line on? It's a gonner, right? Not always. You can improve your odds of retrieving that bait in two ways. First, try using P Line. It is a copolymer line that has tremendous tensile strength making it super strong. Strong enough to bring in a big fish and strong enough to help you get most of your baits back, yet small enough to let you bait perform properly in the water. For more information on P Line fishing line, see their web site at or email me at the address below.

Secondly, there is a new lure retriever on the market that is second to none. I like it because it is simple to use, inexpensive and mainly because it works. It's called the Easy Retriever. Basically, it is a 2 ounce lead weight with a special, film-coated, clip on it that clips right onto your line and slides down to your bait. Once it is in contact with your bait, simply use it to bounce your bait off of the snag and reel both the bait and the Easy Retriever in. For more information on the Easy Retriever, you can visit their web site at or you can email me at the address below.

Once the fish are in a feeding frenzy along the banks of the creek, it's time to pull out the spinnerbaits and jigs. The spinnerbaits work well, and in the right situation, can catch you a lot of fish. Use white spinnerbaits in clear to slightly stained water and chartreuse in off colored to stained water. I prefer a combination of gold and silver Colorado and willowleaf blades. Again, because of its strength, I use P Line in 15-20# test depending on the amount of cover (trees, logs, rocks, etc.) I'm fishing.

If you're looking for the big guys, whip out a jig. Once you find a part of the creek that is holding fish, pull off of the shoreline and find the main creek channel. This is where the hawgs tend to hang out waiting for that unsuspecting meal to swim by. My favorite is a 3/8-1/2 oz. Bulldog jig. I like the lighter baits because they fall slower allowing the fish more time to eat 'em.

In clear to stained water, white is my favorite color. It better represents the color of the fish's forage than any other does, even though I will use the traditional black/blue, too. Be certain to use a trailer, either a pork rind or one of the soft plastic ones will work fine. It gives the bait more bulk and slows the fall down even more. 20-25# P Line will work nicely for you with a strong reel and stout rod. Pitch the jig up close to large trees, stumps or lay downs and allow it fall slowly beside the cover. Watch your line closely. Often this time of the year, the big fish are suspended off of the bottom. They can pick up your bait and be swimming off with it, and you'll never know it if you're not watching your line. If it starts moving off to the side, set the hook and hang on. It could be the fish of a lifetime.

This is also a great place to use the crankbait. Cast the bait beyond your target and slowly reel it in. When you think the bait is at or near your target area, stop it momentarily to allow the fish that might be sitting there time to strike it, then continue reeling it in. Change the retrieve from time to time to give the fish different looks. It might make a big difference.

Fall and early winter can be a great time to catch large numbers of bass. Keep in mind, however, the danger associated with cool and cold weather outdoor sports. Hypothermia is a silent killer. If you or your fishing partner gets wet, find a place to get out of the weather, get dry and get warm. It doesn't have to be below freezing to die of hypothermia. Please be careful.

Until next time, enjoy the Texas outdoors.

Tom Lester.

Author Information.

Tom Lester owns and operates Four Seasons Lawnscape, a landscape and lawn maintenance service, in Corsicana, Texas.  He has fished for most of his 36 years to some degree or another.  He fishes competitively in bass tournaments and is beginning his professional bass fishing career in the BASS invitational circuit and the Everstart Series.

Tom lives with his wife, Kelly, in Corsicana, Texas, only a few miles from Richland-Chambers reservoir, one of the hottest new bass lakes to open in Texas in the past ten years.  He formerly resided in Cleburne, Texas, where he guided part-time for largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Tom is currently on the field staff for Abu Garcia, Norman Lures, Inspiration Lures, and Bill Lewis Lures, and on the pro staff for Kalin's, CastAway Rods, P-Line, and Nuwave Products.

Tom enjoys fishing, hunting and writing his outdoor column for the Corsicana Daily Sun and freelance writing.  He is a former high school Agricultural Science instructor and animal health pharmaceutical sales rep.  He graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S in Agricultural Education and a Master of Education degree.  Tom likes being his own boss so he can take off to go fishing, whenever he likes, and leave his wife in charge of the business.

Email Tom at
Visit Tom at his web site: Fishing Pro Staff

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