Skeet Reese Talks About Cold Stained Water

When the water temperature is low and it is cold outside fishing can be tough

About the author

Skeet Reese

Skeet Reese

Skeet Reese is a 7-time B.A.S.S. winner including the 2009 Bassmaster Classic and 2007 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. 

When the water temperature is in the 40s or low 50s, the fishing can be really tough. And few conditions are tougher than cold water that's stained or muddy. In fact, it may just be the worst scenario for winter bass fishing.

 When I'm faced with those conditions, I reach for a 5/8-ounce Terminator Pro's Top Secret Jig in a dark color like black or brown or some combination of those two. Dark colors offer a great silhouette, and that's critical when the water's dirty and the bass' visibility is low.

 I like to fish the jig with a Berkley PowerBait chunk-style trailer in a color that matches up with the jig itself. Again, a dark color is good because of the contrast and silhouette. The other reason I like the PowerBait chunk is that it leaves a strong scent trail. That's what's so great about the PowerBait and Gulp! materials. They're helping to attract bass even when you're not moving them.

 I cast the jig on 17- to 20-pound-test Berkley Vanish on my signature 7-foot casting rod (Lamiglas SR705C). Just drag the jig along and maintain contact with the bottom. The fish are going to be pretty lethargic at these water temperatures, so don't move the bait too fast. In fact, the old joke about wintertime fishing really applies at this time of year: If you think you're fishing too slowly, you probably need to slow down.

 The good news is that this is the time when I typically catch my biggest bass of the year since the biggest bass are usually the first to move up. You'll want to target bass that are staging somewhere between the main lake points and the spawning areas. Use your electronics to find harder bottoms and locate the best areas.

 If the water's not quite so dingy, you can probably catch more bass on a jerkbait like the Lucky Craft Pointer 100 in chartreuse shad or ghost minnow. The key to this bait in the early season is to deadstick it, and most anglers simply don't have the patience to fish it right. I fish it on another 7-foot Lamiglas casting rod (SR705R) and jerk it down two or three times before I pause the bait the first time. It may take a minute or more for lethargic wintertime bass to come get the bait, so you have to be really patient. It's a lot like worm fishing.

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