Even with “Old Man Winter” threatening to apply his icy grip, there’s time to break out the bass fishing gear and hit your favorite big bass haunts!
How can you catch some of the biggest bass of the year?
A great technique to help catch more of the hawgs migrating from to and from their winter-time, deep-water havens, is to slow roll a spinnerbait right across their nose…
Once the late fall to early spring Sun sends water temps toward the mid-forties, sluggish bass begin their ascension down and up the points and drop-offs to stage for their seasonal migrations.
A skillful bass angler, equipped with the right tackle and knowledge can take advantage of this pattern by presenting a slow, thumping lure through cover and right into the strike zone of these very hungry finny creatures.
The Right Stuff – Nitty-Gritty Details of Slow Rolling for Bass
Rod, Reel & Line Combo – The most common rod and reel combo set-up for slow rolling spinnerbaits includes a 6.5-foot to 7-foot medium heavy action, trigger stick (casting rod) with a quality baitcasting reel spooled with 12 to 20 lb. fluorocarbon line. The fluorocarbon line combines minimal stretch with great sensitivity and ultra-low visibility which can be important in the clearer waters of early spring.
The Bait – Any spinnerbait is fine so long as it is a single spinnerbait attached to a light wire arm with a quality ball bearing swivel. Lure weight and blade size varies with the water depth being fished (3/4 oz. lures with larger blades for water deeper than 15 feet; 1/2 an 3/8 oz. with medium blades for 5 to 15 foot depths; and 1/4 oz with a smaller blade (Vibra-Bug) for water < 5 feet deep). Typically, nickel/white blades are used for clear water, gold for stained and fluorescent painted or copper blades for dirty water. Spinnerbait head and skirt colors vary depending on water clarity and type of forage present.
The Retrieve – Make long casts across structure being fished letting the bait flutter to the bottom. Once bottom contact is made, start a slow, steady retrieve such that the bait remains in contact with the cover. It sometimes pays to experiment with the retrieve so try either a yo-yo or stop and go variation depending on the mood of the bass.
Structure and Cover – Obviously varies with the body of water but look for deep water wintering areas at the base of moderately sloped banks or points connecting with shallow spawning areas. Start working the deeper sections of the structure first working towards the shallows until contact with bass is made.
Taking the time to learn how to slow roll spinnerbaits through cover will allow you to literally drop your offering on the nose of some truly huge and very hungry bass looking to “power-up” before the winter doldrums or spring spawning rituals begin…
P.S. – Though a great cold water presentation, I’ve also found slow rolling even works well during low light conditions any time of the year, particularly if the bass are in a neutral or negative mood 😉