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Trying To Catch Bass After A Cold Front

Bass Catching Is Tough After A Cold Front

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I caught this bass at West Point on a cold, windy day.

I caught this bass on a cold, windy day in late February.

2008 Ronnie Garrison licensed to About.com
The second Sunday in February a few years ago, at Lake Sinclair, 13 members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our second tournament of the year. The cold front that came through, producing bright blue skies, high pressure and wind, did the usual to the bass - made them not bite at all!

There are a lot of theories about why bass do not feed after a cold front. Some say the high pressure affects them and makes them feel bad. High pressure can give people headaches, so it might affect bass, too. I often wonder about that, though, because a change of a few inches in depth of water will change the pressure on a bass much more than any cold front possibly could.

The bright sunlight is another factor that may make the bass less likely to feed. Bass are ambush predators and darkness and shadows help them get close enough to their food to catch it. When the sun is bright, they tend to feed less. They definitely stay closer to cover after a cold front produces bright sunlight.

Wind associated with a cold front often makes it very difficult to fish. That affects the fisherman much more than the fish, but it can contribute to the problem of catching bass. It is hard to cast on target, boat control is difficult at best, and the cold wind makes exposed skin miserably uncomfortable.

Some bass can be caught. The 13 of us managed to bring in a total of four bass after eight hours of trying. Greg Calhoun caught two of them and won it all with a total weight of 1-12! His partner Bruce Goddard had big fish and second place with one bass weighing 1-1. And my partner George Hamby had the other bass, a 15 ounce keeper, for third place. The other 10 of us watched the weigh-in with our hands in our pockets.

George and I tried all the usual patterns at Sinclair to catch a winter bass. We fished grass beds with spinnerbaits, riprap with crankbaits, brush piles, docks, deep points and other structure, all without a strike. During the day we talked about how much luck can be involved in finding bass to catch in a tournament. A press release I received the week before highlighted this to me. I told George how a fisherman finishing in the top five at a big BASS tournament said he accidentally found the structure holding the bass. He was riding in his boat and saw something on his depthfinder. He checked it out and caught enough bass to win several thousand dollars.

At about 2:30 PM, 90 minutes before the end of the tournament, I pointed out a sudden drop that showed up on the depthfinder as George and I idled away from a place we had fished. The bottom dropped from 26 to 35 feet deep and there was brush on the edge of the drop. When I turned and went back across the drop, we saw what looked like fish as well as more brush. I stopped the boat and started jigging a Little George, probing the bottom and the brush.

George started fishing a worm on a Carolina rig and suddenly set the hook. He landed his keeper bass! A few minutes later, after switching to a Carolina rigged lizard, a fish almost jerked the rod out of my hand when I was not paying careful attention. It was the only bite I got all day, and I missed it! We stayed on that drop off for over an hour, and George caught a small crappie that hit his worm. We found the drop had rocks as well as brush on it. It is a place I will fish in the future for bass as well as crappie. I am sure it will hold both kinds of fish year round, and I look forward to catching more there.

Although the spot did not pay off for me in the tournament, it did produce a keeper for George. If we had been lucky enough to find it earlier we might have caught more than the one bass. As is was, we were lucky to find the spot, George was lucky to catch a bass there, and I was unlucky, or unskillful, and did not catch anything when I got the chance. Someday I wish I could get skillful and not have to depend on luck to catch bass!

How do you fish after a cold front? You can also post information about it for others on my message board - you must register to post but can read the board as a guest.

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