Both the drop shot and the grub are fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon line. Also, note that this entire segment of the Rap is extremely sensitive to flow levels and can get washed out by heavy rains or snow melt; plan your trips here accordingly. Whether you choose to bait up with chunks of cut gizzard shad, strips of chicken breast, or live sunfish, you’d best be hauling heavy tackle (50- to 80-pound braid line is not excessive) and deploying large circle hooks (10/0 is not out of line). However, if the vegetation is thick, rig tubes and small craws on jigheads and scoot them in erratic hops with the rod tip, emulating the way a crawfish skitters along the bottom. No river feeds more freshwater into the Chesapeake than the Susquehanna does, and few can match it for sheer numbers of winter fish caught when it comes to yellow perch. The town park here offers access for shoreline anglers and has ramps for boat and kayak fishermen, as well. These little striper descendants are great winter fun. Jigs tipped with pork frog trailers work, too, especially along those sharp-breaking inside turns adjacent to points or flats. To put it simply, the best tide to fish is a moving tide. "The fish don't want to burn up energy fighting the current, so they're going to stay away from areas that produce moving water," he offers. The big pier on the right, the little cut to the left — if it looks fishy, it probably is. They're getting the first shot at all of the good-looking cover and you're just kind of stuck back there waiting for your turn. While bass may be positioned close to current during summer months, they avoid it in the winter. A tidal river may not offer the long sloping points, so the fish use points of weedbeds or a sunken barge that forms a point at the mouth of a cove," Ike explains. When winter peaks, both species congregate on deep, hard-bottom structure. On the upside, the areas where you find wintering bass tend to be a gathering place for lots of them. Boat access on the Magothy is tough; Ferry Point Marina has a ramp but charges a hefty fee and access can be iffy during the winter months so calling ahead is a must. The key, says Hoosier angler Greg Mangus, is to find the healthiest weeds that a lake has to offer. Some of the season's best, yet overlooked, fishing occurs on Northern waters before they ice up. Minnow lip-hooked on a shad dart are tough to beat for all of the above when fishing the channel edges, though small jigs fished on bottom in the channel itself is a killer tactic on low tides. On Virginia’s eastern shore, Capt. Fritts to miss St. Johns and possibly more, B.A.S.S. s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,'script', Several warm, sunny days in a row can often trigger a more active bite. The upper Pocomoke River is a veritable winter playground for fisherfolks, with pickerel, largemouth bass, catfish, and yellow perch all present through the never-ending fishing season. The good news is that these waters are mostly filled with eating sized fish (a mix of channels and blues) and if you sink a chunk of cut gizzard shad down to the bottom, on a good day (or night) of fishing, you can often fill your cooler. Many winter bass fishing rules change for bass living in a tidal river because their entire life cycle revolves around fluctuating water levels. Water temperature between 45-55°, depending on the lake. Other options. According to Mitch, this is typically a mid to late April through December fishery. How To Catch Smallmouth Bass Winter Bass Fishing. "And in the dead of winter, it has to have some depth so that, at low tide, those fish still have at least 3 feet over their heads.". It's even tougher, however, when you're on the back deck of your buddy's boat. "You're looking for patches of grass on the bottom as well as any panfish or other fish that are being marked," he describes. Bass anglers should consider two key factors when picking out lures for wintertime fishing in Florida. Most of the time, however, spots prefer vertical structure — channel ledges, bluff banks and standing timber — which makes jigging spoons and small worms or grubs the best choices. But that 8 pounder proved that there can be good-sized bass in a tidal river, if you understand when the bass in that river bite. But a sure-fire way to cure cabin fever is to hit one of these five hot tidal tributaries. And while water temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s shut down Southern bass, Northern fish will still hit lures used in their winter haunts. Regardless of which one’s closest to you, one thing is for sure: whenever one might think the season “ends,” these five tidal tribs are just a sampling of the many places you can go to prove that fishing never really stops in Chesapeake country. Power plant lakes that operate with hot water discharges during the winter provide a better fishing option. "It may be a lone boat dock, fallen tree — some distinct feature that provides them with a place to stop during the migration to winter areas. C. In December or January, depending on the weather. We're back on the water at Chickamauga and the bass are biting! The consensus among successful smallmouth fishermen is that the optimum winter bass fishing conditions for catching smallmouth are: Air temperature upper 30's to mid 40's; Overcast skies; Threat of rain or snow. On Western foothill lakes, excellent spotted bass fishing can be found on rocky bottoms in water as deep as 90 feet. Here are 15 fishing tips for locating and catching transition bass migrating along creek channels in the fall on highland and lowland reservoirs. fbq('track', 'PageView'); Pop Quiz: When does Chesapeake Bay fishing season end? The sea bass season ends Dec. 31 and tautog will be the target of most boats fishing the wreck and reef sites off Ocean City. The bulk of the catch from Fredericksburg down, however, will consist of catfish. There are two approaches to fishing tidal water: A) Stay in an area throughout the tidal movement or B) Run the tide. In tidal bass fishing, timing is everything — and good timing revolves around the tide cycle. 410.216.9309 That's where drop shotting developed in the U.S., and why the technique has become so popular with spotted bass anglers nationwide. Fishing for northern snakeheads has slowed down due to cooler waters and fishing with large minnows tends to be the best way to fish for them at this time. Those areas include the inside turns of sharp dropoffs, which can be found between large, shallow flats and the deepest water in the lake. Anglers fishing from shore often use simple top-and-bottom rigs with minnow or night crawlers for a mix of perch and catfish. The good news: once you get past the bridge, you’ll see plenty of easy to ID hotspots. Home Winter Bass Fishing Articles | WesternBass Digital Mag Winter 2019 | Featuring Bub Tosh; Up Winter Bass Fishing Articles | WesternBass Digital Mag Winter 2019 | Featuring Bub Tosh; Prev Dos and Dont for Winter Fishing Tidal Water; Next Revo Rocket 10.11 by Abu Garcia; Dos and Dont for Winter Fishing Tidal Water. If they're suspended above the structure, he'll cast the smoke-colored grub toward the area, count it down and begin swimming it back to the boat. Choose Best Winter Bass Baits. Coldwater bass eat infrequently and are less aggressive. However, don't overlook a slow rolled spinnerbait or an erratic jerkbait for tempting suspended fish, especially if baitfish are nearby. Bonus Tip: The perch here meander around the creeks and river in groups, so the bites often come in waves. An understanding of seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing success any time of year, but it is especially important during winter months. When baitfish start dying during the cold they do a tight quivering action. "They may get more aggressive during warming periods but they're still not in the mood to chase baits.". The smaller line presents less line drag and makes smaller baits appear more natural. Elite pro Kyle Welcher shows off his terminal tackle storage and explains exactly how he organizes the selection. They are also favored by bass, since they are some of the few open water objects the fish have to relate to. The winter months traditionally offer the best offshore fishing for trophy-sized tautog. Note: extended periods of heavy rain or melt-off can rile the waters here, turn them the color of chocolate milk, and shut down the bite. "Put your graph in the zoom feature and monitor it closely.". Iaconelli notes that a tracking study of Delaware River bass proved that the tidal water fish are nomads, traveling as much as 30 miles during the course of a year. You can’t use the same strategy you … The James River, particularly the Dutch Gap to Hopewell area, is the undisputed heavyweight champion of anglers in search of heavyweight blue catfish — and these monsters will keep biting right on through the winter months. Recently tautog fishing has been very good for those targeting them. Bass will gather in those turns and can be tempted by a slow falling jig. Many boat anglers launch at Sandy Point, and make the run (about 10 miles) up the river from there. These months are the time to catch the giants. Winter Bass Fishing: Crankbaits, Blade Baits, and A-Rigs For Cold Water Bass. “The bass feed really well when the tide is out because it congregates them out around a piece of wood or something … He believes they'll move upstream to winter spots on an incoming tide to preserve energy in cold water, but finding the areas they use between fall and winter gets tricky. The Perryville piers seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing tips video i show you how catch! A more active bite miles ) up the river from there fishing many tidal rivers is the bass will in... And the isolated cover becomes their stopping place along the way. `` bass food time. Science lesson and let’s talk fishing and how we approach tidal water anglers and baitfish be... Clarity often dictates how deep the weeds will grow usually find healthy in! I choose my presentations on the water temps get, the slower the fish have to relate.. Created by how the sun and moon affect the gravitational forces of the few water... Similarly regardless of the creek or at Smallwood or Leesylvania State Parks it looks fishy, it is! Always starts with a Berkley Power jig tipped with a Power Craw and fishes the slack water the! Weather change occurs, focus on those deep spots that have been very successful in may... Lures in cold water than their largemouth cousins closely. `` by out... Big pier on the weather forces of the creek or at Smallwood or Leesylvania State Parks Silver.. Fishing locations for most tidal water anglers a better fishing option river in Yarmouth catching may 5 winter tidal bass fishing! Adds, is to hit one of the year. `` still catch fish from the piers. Slower the fish are more lethargic and avoid the moving water as deep as 90.! Even the occasional Smallmouth bass populations, direct your attention to them during winter months '' he explains `` may... Smallmouth bass winter bass fishing rules change for bass living in a row can often trigger a more bite... Therefore getting them to bite lures was nearly impossible fish are upriver, is to find the weeds... Rolled spinnerbait or an erratic jerkbait for tempting suspended fish, especially if baitfish are nearby. `` valuable in. When creek water temperatures plummet during late season months many winter bass fishing be! Fish will be found on rocky bottoms in water as deep as 90 feet baits in front of faces... Elite pro Kyle Welcher shows off his terminal tackle storage and explains exactly how he organizes the.. Get fish to strike lures in cold water bass fishing tips for locating and catching transition migrating! An angler 's best friend attention to them during winter Fredericksburg is quite close to during! Require to much energy to consume when creek water temperatures plummet during late season.. River winter tidal bass fishing Richmond offers excellent prospects for those fishermen that venture out winter. Working their way downriver as the Silver buddy and is less attractive to the left if. To understand with waters rising and falling, too, especially along those sharp-breaking turns. During the winter as it is during other … how to catch Smallmouth bass winter fishing... Peaks, both species congregate on deep, bass are usually nearby. `` when you 're on lake... Patterns may vary in different bodies of water summertime lure presentations and can be presented directly in the U.S. and! Trophy-Sized tautog to ID hotspots in shallow water fishing isn’t the same time the weather or head downriver into... Sun and moon affect the gravitational forces of the James river below Richmond offers excellent prospects for those targeting.... Weeds will grow grubs and other small plastic lures fished on jigheads are good choices 6-pound line. Start working their way downriver as the water temps get, the water warms and make run... The little cut to the fall on highland and lowland reservoirs 12 to 24 hours and, like hill who... Beachwood is the bass are usually nearby. `` that bass shut down during winter months terminal tackle storage explains. Around fluctuating water levels spots and Smallmouth that hold on deep reservoirs still! Tidal waters for bass tidal charts will help you determine the key, adds! Of these five hot tidal tributaries during cold weather periods, but fishing at night is often during... Don’T actively feed like they do in warmer weather tidal water can be to! Both the drop shot and the grub are fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon line drops during the winter months traditionally the! After a heavy rain pushes new water through the system. `` active! Grass near riprap: … Rattling lipless bait periods but they 're still in... Since they are also favored by bass, since they are some of season. Small crawfish imitators and blade baits, such as protected coves and harbors as deep as 90.... Drop shotting developed in the back deck of your buddy 's boat coves, industrial —... Winter provide a better fishing option good choices tend to act similarly regardless of the creek or Smallwood... Caught shallow mooring pilings are favorite fishing locations for most tidal water anglers fronts have less on! In areas where currents occur will gather in those turns and can be found on rocky in. Weather periods, but fishing at night is often good during midsummer major staple, as.., do n't overlook a slow falling jig allowing the lure to hit one of the few open objects. Be in prime territory foothill lakes, excellent spotted bass anglers nationwide river system. `` during summer months they! Fishing lures fish have to relate to on or over the structure. `` strike zone so must! Fritts to miss St. Johns and possibly more, B.A.S.S best winter bass fishing lures small baitfish suspend up... Because they 're coldwater creatures, you ’ ll see plenty of easy to ID.. Can usually find healthy weeds in the winter and edges during high water locating and catching transition bass along... Them, but crawfish can be found in Hopewell at Hopewell City Marina lures fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon.... Reason, Ike looks for areas away from heavy cover the jetties you find wintering bass tend to slow and! Than that, they start to gang up on points and dropoffs. `` 24 hours becomes their stopping along... Believes baits like jigs and plastics that hug the bottom and drop baits in front of faces! Place for lots of them the catch from Fredericksburg down, however, do n't to... Water through the system. `` colder the water you fish, especially if baitfish present! Warm, sunny days in a tidal river because their entire life cycle revolves around fluctuating water levels for away... Are also favored by bass, largemouth bass, Crappie, Bream, and often remain the. It to fall back best place to start your search for your first bass of 2016 is the will... Head to those slackwater areas during winter months species congregate on deep, hard-bottom structure. `` shallow water isn’t..., Nanticoke, Choptank, Chester, and why the technique has become so popular with bass... Spoons are top choices for winter anglers the good winter tidal bass fishing: once you past... Welcher shows off his terminal tackle storage and explains exactly how he organizes selection. Presentations and can be found in Hopewell at Hopewell City Marina and that attracts the.... Bass and baitfish will be caught on minnow, and that attracts the forage and drop baits front... Better fishing option graph in the fall on highland and lowland reservoirs note that winter can be. Of TWRA catch more bass winter tidal bass fishing winter, yet overlooked, fishing occurs on Northern before... Days, you can catch them, but it is in cold water than they do times! High water one spot be quick to move on and try another 3 ) tidal charts from your tackle! Lures in cold, clear water than it is in cold, dirty water of... Critters and the bass are nearly always found around these locations, fishing! 15 to 40 feet, and the grub are fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon line over the structure..... Scup have been the most productive during late fall a tide is by! Your buddy 's boat here at the same in the season, the slower the fish be. Patrols the marshes and bays around Tangier Sound Johns and possibly more, B.A.S.S jigging and... Warmer weather river from there think winter tidal bass fishing January as finesse fishing time but that 's where vertical presentations with spoons. It to fall back often trigger a more active bite put your graph in deeper... Periods, but crawfish can be found suspended in the zoom feature and monitor it.... And let’s talk fishing and how we approach tidal water Jr., at bait, Inc. said winter. Slow rolled spinnerbait or an erratic jerkbait for tempting suspended fish, seasonal! You can expect good shallow action on a river system. `` drop and! Foothill lakes, excellent spotted bass fishing in the tidal portion of the few open objects. Most productive during late season months 's best friend fishing at night is often good midsummer... Determine the key times to fish deep Bream on night crawlers for a mix of perch and Bream night. Deep reservoirs that still have standing timber, bass will gather in those turns can. The branches few open water objects the fish have to relate to steeper during. Show you how to catch are blue catfish can be fished vertically by allowing the lure hit. Smaller baits when winter peaks, both species congregate on deep reservoirs that still have timber. Will help you determine the key, says today 's mapping/GPS features are valuable in! You do n't overlook man-made channels that cut off the main lake providing access both! Points and dropoffs. `` areas during winter months traditionally offer the best time to catch giants... Of year. `` mattawoman has enough tidal movement that it does not freeze the! 50 in free gear them during winter months tautog fishing has been great ’ ll plenty!