Don’t let bass ‘snow’ you

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

As snow pummels those of us around the Midwest, it brings to mind some of my experiences fishing tournaments in snowstorms.

Now, a lot of anglers think a snowstorm shuts down fishing, but it really doesn’t. In fact, I’ve seen the opposite hold true.

As I noted in a recent blog, bass get more active during the winter months than most people realize. Indeed, there are days when winter fishing is terribly slow and conditions are tough.

There’s a big difference between a 36-degree day and drizzle and one when it drops to 28 degrees and snows. The bass don’t care if it’s snowing, but it’s that low pressure system that accompanies the snowstorm which triggers the feed.

The general thinking of most anglers is that fishing would be a lot better during the winter if you have a warm sunny day. However, I’ve found the opposite to be true.

There’s no question that the warmer days make the angler feel better about fishing, but the bass get more active on the nastier days.

A case in point is when I won the 2010 Bassmaster Classic at Lay Lake. During one of the official practice days, the weather got brutal. The water temperature was in the upper 30s, the temperature dropped and the rain turned to snow. It was late in the practice day and a lot of guys had already gone in. It was very cold and very uncomfortable and made it difficult to be out there, but I knew I had to find a good school of fish.

About the time the temperature dropped and the sleet turned to snow, the fish started biting real well.

And while I’m used to fishing cold weather, I was pretty surprised the fish were as active as they were. In fact, when I went out that morning, I wasn’t sure I could even get a bite!

But when that front moved in a bass literally choked my Red Eye Shad and I knew I was onto something. I caught about 12 to 15 that afternoon including two 7-pounders.

The fish were shallow and crushing my Red Eye Shad. I even caught some in 2 feet of water during that snowstorm!

Once the tournament got started, I ended up catching them in the same areas with the same kind of techniques. It was cold – like in the 20s – when the event started and it warmed up gradually as the week went on.

My point in all of this is that don’t assume bad weather drives bass deep or that you always have to fish slow and methodical.

And, because our cold weather clothing is so good these days, anglers can endure a lot of bad weather if they just give it a chance.

So, the next time you see a low pressure system moving into your area this winter, go fishing and don’t be afraid to check out shallow water patterns.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

advertisement

advertisement