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Inactive Winter Bass

How Cold Is Too Cold

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Since fish are cold blooded they get less active as the water they live in gets colder. January and February in Georgia can be a very inactive time for them and they can be real hard to catch.

Rule of Thumb for Water Temperatures

Over the years I have developed a "rule of thumb" for water temperature and catching bass. If the water is above 50 degrees I am fairly confident bass will feed and I can catch a few. Water temperatures between 45 and 50 discourage me and I think the bass are very inactive and very hard to catch. If my temperature gauge shows lower than 45 degrees I get a hopeless feeling.

I have caught bass in water colder than 45 degrees but not often. Clearer water helps. I have a little hope if I am fishing Lanier and can see down several feet, but if I am at Oconee and the water is murky I don’t expect to catch anything.

These temperatures hold up for middle Georgia. Up north they catch bass under the ice during the winter, and in south Florida I understand the bass shut down when the water is about 50 degrees. I guess it is what they are use to.

January Bass

In mid-January Al Bassett and I went to Jackson. Al is a member of the Lake Oconee Bassmasters and they had a tournament scheduled for Jackson for that Saturday. He asked me to show him some places I like to fish since he seldom fishes Jackson. He knew I had won a tournament there in December, too.

We put his Triton bass boat in at Martin’s Marina and turned on the temperature gauge. It showed 45.1 degrees and I told him I was afraid we would not catch anything at all. The weather was not good for fishing, either. Tuesday morning was bright, clear and cold since a high pressure front went through. I swear bass get headaches when there is a high pressure area over the lake!

Everything combined to make our chances look bad. At least the water was fairly clear. I told Al I was going to throw a jerk bait, a jig and pig and a crankbait. A Rattleback jig with a Yamamoto Twin Tail trailer was still tied on one of my rods and I showed it to Al and told him that was the jig I won the tournament on in December.

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