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Some Thoughts On Winter Days Fishing

I Love Fishing Winter Days

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These two nice spotted bass were caught at Lake Russell in Georgia in March.

These two nice spotted bass were caught at Lake Russell in Georgia in March.

2009 Ronnie Garrison, licensed to About.com
There is something special about some winter days when out fishing. Every so often a day will be just perfect, cool in the upper 40s and low 50s with clouds but no wind. The lake is hushed with little activity and no noise to disturb the fishing. The whole world seems to be pausing in quiet to make my day more enjoyable.

On days like that I hate to crank my gas motor. It seems like I am suspended in the middle of nothing with the gray sky and water and subdued colors on shore. And fog just makes it even more surreal. Every plop of a lure in the water is magnified by the quiet. Any sound is intense. >p> The smell of wood smoke drifting over the lake is another favorite thing in the winter. Just a whiff of burning wood or pine straw seems to warm me like I was standing beside the fire. I want to inhale deeply and hold it in to keep that feeling.

A few years ago I was on Jackson Lake one January day like above, fishing back in a creek. From a cabin nearby the sounds of a mournful jazz song seemed to float across the lake. The female singer’s love song was perfect for the day and I wish I knew the singer and song so I could get a copy, but repeated playing of it might make it less special.

I like the feel of being bundled up against the cold and the comfort of a chemical hand warmer keeping me toasty even though the air touching my nose and hands makes me want to burrow down in my snowsuit. And I like the feeling running down the lake when I am warm all over except one small spot where the wind gets in to bare skin. That makes the rest of me feel even warmer.

Big bass can make a winter day exceptional, too. I have caught more bass weighing over eight pounds in January and February than the other ten months put together. It is not unusual to fish all day for one or two bites but those are more likely to be from wall hangers.

Some problem, like water freezing in rod guides and locking you line, are specific to very cold winter days. Monofilament and flurocarbon line gets stiff in the cold and has more memory, meaning it holds the shape of the spool even after casting it out. Your hands don't work as well and if you use grease rather than a light oil on your reels it can gum it up and make it unworkable. But there is nothing quite like watching a crankbait you just cast skid across a thin sheet of ice on top of the water!

In one January tournament at Jackson Lake many years ago we blasted off just before sunrise. As I ran down the lake at 45 mph, huddled behind the windshield, a grinding, crunching noise made me stop. I just knew I had blown a motor. But as the boat settled into the water I realized I had been running thorough a thin sheet of ice in the middle of the lake. I could not see it in the low light. That was quite a relief, finding out I still had a good motor.

There is something about being out in cold weather that makes me feel like I can withstand bad things if prepared for them. But at the end of the day it really feels good to get in the truck and turn the heater on full blast!

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