Just because you aren’t getting bit doesn’t mean the bass have left. This week I was fishing a cold water lake and the surface temperature was in the 40’s. The bass were very lethargic. I had previously fished this area a few days back and didn’t get bit. This time I made myself slow way, way down.
I was using a lighter 1/4 oz. Nichols’ stand up crawfish jig with a Nichols’ Sweet Thing. After I cast the lure out in the shallow waters I let the bait lie motionless for several seconds. Then I began a very, very slow retrieve about one inch at a time with frequent stops. I was crawling the bait extremely slow. No hops or quick movements.
The bass began to bite this lure. These were unusually vicious strikes, but when I set the hook nothing was there. I couldn’t understand how I was missing these fish. I wasn’t even sure it was a bass. About 15 minutes later I finally hung the fish and pulled it to the surface. It was a small bass weighing about a pound. They were hard to catch, but at least I knew that there were some bass up shallow near the bank. The bass were in about four to five feet of water.
The biggest surprise came when I tied on a Nichols’ perch-color 1/2 oz. Rattle Shad and cast it out to deeper water (about 10 feet). I let the lure sink to the bottom and began a slow retrieve with several pauses to keep the lure near the bottom. These fish were crappie – not bass. I have never caught crappie in that manner. Crappie don’t normally strike a 1/2 oz. Rattle Shad, but they did that day. That lure produced about 10 fish that day. Fish can nearly always be caught on any given day. But every day you have to experiment with different lures and techniques until you find out what they want and what presentation to use.