Baits To Use
If the water is warm, over 50 degrees, I have good luck running the banks with crankbaits. If it is colder I usually stick with jigging spoons.
At any temperature, a jig and pig worked on rocks or wood cover is a good bet for bigger fish. I usually do not catch as many while fishing a jig and pig but they tend to be bigger bass.
If the water is fairly clear, a #7 or #8 Shadrap is my choice. I throw it on a medium to heavy action spinning rod and reel loaded with 10 or 12 pound test line. I tend to move it fairly fast but with frequent pauses. I will pull the plug with the rod time while reeling then move the rod back toward the plug while reeling, giving the crankbait an irregular action.
Cover And Structure To Fish
Although I run the bank and have caught fish on all kinds of cover, I have my best luck on clay banks and points or around rocks. I also watch for brush or stumps and cast to them. When in good looking water I slow the boat down so I can make a cast ever few feet. When in water with muddy bottoms I tend to move fast and make a cast every dozen feet or so, hoping to attract any cruising bass.
Anytime I am around rocks, brush piles or tree tops, I will stop and pick up my jig and pig. I like a black jig with either chartreuse or blue strands in the skirt and hook on a black or blue pig. I think a real pork frog works best, but use plastic for convenience some times.
I cast the jig and pig to the cover and let is sink. I will hop it several times and if it is over a limb will raise and lower it a couple of times before moving it on. I usually do not move it far from cover, reeling in and making another cast when I clear the structure.
Jigging A Spoon
Back in the mid-1970's I had my first bass boat and depth finder. I kept seeing something near the bottom but could not get them to hit. I experimented and found I could drop a Little George down to the bottom and jig it up and down, and catch bass. I caught a lot of them in 12 feet of water that year doing that.
I soon found a jigging spoon worked, too, and could catch fish much deeper. I look for fish near the bottom on ledges, long points and humps, and get the boat right over them. By dropping the spoon to the bottom and then popping it up about two feet and letting it fall, I get them to hit. The bass usually hit on the fall so it is important to keep a tight line as it falls.
I like a 5 1/2 foot bait casting rod with the reel spooled with 14 to 17 pound line. The shorter rod helps me pop the lure off the bottom better, and I seem to have more control.
Give bass a try in the cold water. Try these patterns, you might be surprised!