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Wednesday, 27 December 2017 13:49

Cold Water Fishing Tips from St. Croix

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For many anglers, the end of fishing season arrives along with the cold weather. However, the family-owned and managed high performance fishing rod manufacturer, St. Croix Rod, believes that this doesn’t have to be the case. 

These folks have been making fishing rods since 1948, so they know a thing or two about angling. This is also why they maintain that all you need to fish year round is a little willpower. For those who are still doubtful, here are a few cold water fishing tips from St. Croix that might motivate you to brave the elements for your next fishing trip.

The Smallmouth Bass Is Still Out There

Any angler who tried catching smallmouth bass during the late-fall to early winter season will know that these fish can be particularly elusive during this period. In fact, even with sonar you might not be able to find them, which has caused more than a few anglers to give up on catching any until the warm weather returns. According to St. Croix, the only reason why this is happening is because smallmouth bass are packing up into tight knit pods during this time of the year.

Their suggestion is to find the spot in your favorite reservoir or lake where the warm water might be flowing in from either a river or a creek and then cast the shallows with an A-rig. For the best results, use something like the 7'10” Mojo Bass “Swim/A-Rig” casting rod and thread 20-pound-test fluorocarbon through the guides before you fan-cast thoroughly.

Even very late in the season, when the smallmouth bass school up even tighter, isn’t too late to reel in a couple. All you need to do is adjust your tactics and use a hair jig under a float to thoroughly fish the water column. In this situation, St. Croix recommends something like their 9’,6” Mojo Bass “Float N Fly” spinning rod. Simply tie the jig to a 6-pound test monofilament before casting it over the school. If you are not sure how the smallies look on a fish finder during this period, St. Croix suggests that you keep an eye out for something that looks like a Christmas tree. If you’ve done everything correctly, you just need to sit back and keep an eye on the bobber. As soon as it twitches, you set the hook and fish in the net.

It’s Still Possible To Catch Largemouth and Spotted Bass Too

Winter is the time when Largemouth and Spotted bass tries to feed up for the months ahead, which means they’ll be chasing bait. To find them, you need to look around key structures in the deeper wintering areas of reservoirs or larger lakes. This means you should target areas such as offshore bars or main lake points for the best results. If shad are plentiful, use shad-shaped baits to target the fish, otherwise opt for paint schemes that mimic panfish.

If you are finding that the fish are suspended in deeper water, 25 to 50-feet, a better tactic is to switch to jigging spoons. St. Croix recommends pumping 1/2 to 1-ounce shad-profile/patterned spoons on 15- or 20-pound braid with a fluorocarbon leader. This provides the necessary shock-absorption and invisibility need to snag these fish. Freefall the spoons to a depth just above where you’ve marked the fish before tempting the fish with a few waggles. In many cases this will result in immediate impact, but if this is not the case you just follow a pattern of dramatic snaps followed by limp line drops. You’ll find that your upstrokes will often result in hooksets.

To tip the odds even further in your favor, go for a proven combination, such as a 6'8” medium power, fast action St. Croix Mojo Bass rod with a low-profile baitcasting reel. All you need then is a box of spoons and some Mojo.

Even Walleyes Can Be Caught In Winter

If you have mastered the time-tested method of vertical jigging, then you won’t have any problems adding a couple of Walleyes to your haul either. You’ll find them collected below dams and in deep holes along river bends. Even better, Walleyes can’t resist soft plastics when water temperatures begin to reach the 40’s. Add some 2.5 to 5-inch paddletails, flukes, ringworms and similar soft baits with moderate actions to your arsenal and you should be good to go. For flukes, consider the Z-Man StreakZ™ or shorter StreakZ 3.75; the Z-Man MinnowZ knocks down the paddletail category.

St. Croix also recommends using a jig that will get down fast, and stay there when you rig your plastics. Jig features that are helpful for soft baits include wire bait keepers, long-shanked hooks as well as current-cutting head designs. When vertical jigging depths of about 15-30 ft. use ¼-3/8 oz. jigs. Also make sure that you tie your jog on a low-stretch line. Braided lines work well, but as soon as air temperatures start to fall below freezing the braids tend to lock up, which makes jig presentation very tough. So, if you find this happening, it is better to switch over to a high-performance fluorocarbon, like Seaguar AbrazX. For superior line and bait control most vertical jiggers prefer shorter rods, which also makes it easier to keep the jigs inside the sonar beams. If you are looking for good suggestions, St. Croix has a 6’ medium-power, fast action Avid spinning rod as well as a 6'3” medium-power, extra fast action one. Both of these will get the job done with ease.

We’ve all seen those Christmas time fish photos on Facebook, but thanks to these helpful tips from St. Croix, it is time to actually go out and snap some too!

Read 738 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 January 2018 14:23
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website.  If you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

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