As the water temperatures dip into the low 50s across much of the southern half of the United States, diehard bass anglers often turn their attention from shallow water to deep structure in order to catch winter bass.
Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer has found that even in cold water, there are times that a shallow-running crankbait can load the boat in winter.
Relying on a Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 square-billed crankbait, Niggemeyer targets a combination of shallow cover like hydrilla clumps, scattered stumps, and standing docks. He says that with a square bill and round body, the crankbait shines when it comes to deflecting off of cover. "A lot of anglers worry about getting hung on cover, but this bait was designed to come in contact with cover and deflect off of it," he explains. "The fish will be sitting in ambush points around the targets."
Focusing on water between 1 foot and 4 feet in depth, Niggemeyer matches his color selection and bait size according to the conditions and prevalent baitfish in the area. "If it's stained water, I like to throw a bait with chartreuse," he says. "You also want to try and match the hatch, so if the bait is bigger, I'll use the bigger model crankbait." Niggemeyer says that the way the bass eat the lure often tell him whether or not he is using the right size and color.
"You want to make sure that you're keying in on how the fish are taking the bait. If the bait is really deep in the bass' mouth, then you're throwing the right color and the right size. "A lot of the time, you will feel a small tick and the rod will load.
What happens is that the fish has totally engulfed the bait in its mouth and that's the initial tick that you'll feel. That's a good sign that you're matching what they're feeding on."
(Provided by Z3 Media)