Dealing with cold fronts

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

This past week has been tough on most of us in the middle of the country. A serious cold front blew through and really put the brakes on our hot spring bite. The good news is that it’s supposed to warm up over the weekend. The bad news is that we’re guaranteed to have another couple of them before summer.

I’m almost glad it happened, though. I went out with a guy from the Bass Pro Shops right in the middle of that darn cold front and learned something that’s important. I have to admit, though, that I learned it the hard way. He put a serious butt whipping on me. In a half a day he had nine good ones. I had two small ones. That’s the kind of lesson you don’t forget.

On the water I didn’t understand what was happening but after we got we got back he told me what he was doing. We were fishing with my new short-arm spinnerbait, The Flame Jr. At the time I thought he was killing me because of the color of the bait. But that wasn’t it at all. He was killing me with sound.

The Flame Jr. has two blades. He was throwing one with two, big willow leaf blades. He’d slow roll it along and every so often — maybe every four or five cranks of the reel handle — he’d stop the bait and shake his rod tip a little. What was happening is that the blades were clacking together.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to get a bite. Most of our fish are highly pressured. That means they’ve seen just about every fishing lure there is. Add a cold front to that and you have a problem. If you can present them with something different you can make them bite. They’re predators. They hunt and kill all the time. It’s really all they think about except for reproduction.

My friend was using a silver and gold combination of blades. I caught them the next day with two silver blades. I honestly think two gold blades would have done the same thing. This isn’t about color. It’s about sound. Don’t worry about color. Get yourself a short-arm spinnerbait with two blades and go fishing.

Another trick that’ll help you catch cold front smallmouth is to downsize your lure. We had been fishing with 1/2 and 3/4-ounce Flame spinnerbaits. But this blade clacking technique works better with a 3/8-ounce lure. I’m not exactly sure why. It might be that you get more sound out of the lighter weight bait. As long as it works it doesn’t matter why.

One final thought that has nothing to do with spinnerbaits or smallmouth bass: I’ve been seeing a lot of guys out fishing who aren’t wearing their life jackets. That’s a big mistake. This is a dangerous time of the year. The sun and the air might feel really warm when you’re setting in a boat. If you fall overboard you’ll find out right quick that the water’s still cold. Stay alive.

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