Bass aren’t as aggressive in the winter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t eat and that you can’t catch them. For me, it’s a matter of settling on a few lures and following a pretty basic game plan. First thing in the morning, I’ll fish points that taper out to deeper water because there will still be a few schooling bass getting after shad there. Typically I’ll target water about 5- to 10-feet deep, and I'll work the area with a jerkbait such as a Megabass 110. I use a jerk-jerk-pause cadence. If that’s not working, I’ll check contours at the juncture where a creek meets the main river channel underwater, or the mouth of a cove, or a flat where the channel swings fairly close to the bank. Bait will show up as a kind of ball on your electronics, and what I’m looking for around them are arcs all bunched up together near the bottom in what we call “spaghetti” on Lake Wylie. When I see that, there are probably bass present. Here I’ll fish a jigging spoon or an Alabama rig.
If the bass are just suspended up in the channel somewhere off to the side, I’m probably not going to waste a lot of time trying to catch them. If I’m using an Alabama rig, I’ll let it go to the bottom and retrieve it almost like slow-rolling a spinnerbait. Finally, in the afternoon when the water has warmed up a bit, I’ll head up the creeks and coves and fish docks that have bream holding under them. Even in the winter, docks can produce some big bass looking for bream. A jig with a big trailer that makes it fall slowly is a good choice here. Those three approaches cover all the water where bass will be in a typical highland lake during the cooler months. It’s nothing fancy, but it works.
---- Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C.