In many areas around the country where anglers live and fish, tackle selection can be somewhat limited to whatever is left at the local tackle shop. Limited selection makes it difficult to be creative or scientific in selecting the correct color to match forage and water conditions on any given day. However I have seen some amazing jigs made by a mother and her son that own and operate Bass Attacker Lures. The family ran business reflects fishing know how and true lure artisanship that shows in their custom tackle. Seth Sutton recently won first place as well as big fish in a tournament that he fished alongside adults and seasoned anglers. The victory was not just a testimony to his fishing skill but an overwhelming acknowledgement of his understanding of fishing conditions with colors choices that can match the forage. Seth was more than happy to share his winning tactics with me. I will share his story and some other winter color selection tips to help you catch more bass.
I asked Seth to tell me his secret to the win at the recent event in East Tennessee and he shared this, "The day of my tournament it was cold and a little over cast and what I was looking for was big bass feeding on crawfish in stained water were wind was hitting a 45 degree angle bank. I was using the Bass Attacker pivot football jig head with a big crawdad bait." I was very impressed with this young man’s knowledge and the fact that he and his mother Christy; together are making some of the best custom jigs out there. His insight about bass is remarkable for his young age. His passion for fishing can be seen in his expression as he talks about bass fishing. Even his younger sister Alesha is involved in the family business and can flip and pitch with the best of anglers.
In the winter moths flipping jigs are a popular go to lure for largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers. Jigs for bass feature a low profile designed so that bass can pick them up or strike them swimming or falling. The sizes range from 1/8 oz to 3/4 oz, the lighter weights are excellent for finesse fishing for smallmouths, while the heavier jigs are popular for punching through cover by anglers fishing for largemouth in any remaining vegetation. The skirt pulsates as the jig falls through the water and will shudder as the jig is bounced or crawled along the bottom. A bass jig paired up with a trailer to imitate a crawfish and other forage has proven very effective in the changing cold water of the winter. The advancements of colors, salt and scent in these trailers have made jigs popular all season long for many bass anglers. This was something that Seth at Bass Attacker lures understood when I told him that I preferred a natural color that resembled the forage in the small lakes that I fish most often.
Just to keep it simple lighter colors are a good for bright and sunny bluebird days and darker colors are better suited for the overcast days as winters gloom closes in. Depending on the forage of the water you are fishing at times a bright or abnormal color with a darker color will produce on sunny days. Sunlit days are also favorable conditions for the glitter and sparkle of a colorful jig skirt. The multi colored skirts mimic bait such as bluegill and perch and other baitfish. Specific conditions such as clear water and bright sunlight influence color where as minor color influence overcast days and dingy to dirty water. Water clarity and wind, which creates waves at this time of the year, will also affect the amount of sunlight or heat energy that penetrates to certain depths. Colors change appearance quickly the deeper a lure goes with red being the first to change to black, and black and white being the last to change. Variations in colors are more or less a personal preference once these rules are followed. Contrasting light and dark colors gives the angler a natural affect as well as give a visual presence to the lure in changing conditions.
In cloudy weather during the winter bass may not hold as close to cover as when the sun is bright. Stained water usually indicates that bass will relate to the bottom or structure such as the steep banks that Seth mentioned. The 45 degree banks allow bass to easily move shallow and deep without burning needed energy and calories. Bass are not as likely to suspend in stained water as they do in clear water. The bass are becoming more lethargic with each degree the water drops. A great method for the cold water bass it to slowly present a correctly colored jig to each piece of cover by slowly dragging the jig across the bottom near cover and structure of the bank. Often the bass will pick the jig up several feet from the cover or structure. In darker water and overcast windy days, when bass are not holding tight to cover they tend to follow, but not chase bait. This reaction is more of an instinctive curiosity than to feed; however a top predator needing to maintain weight and size can’t pass up an easy meal.
When fishing cover such as stumps and laydowns, pitching to the target bumping it and then allowing the jig fall straight to the bottom is a great cold-water method. A reaction bite on the initial fall will often occur. Let’s face it, a jig does not look much like a fish, for this reason it is important that the color and presentation match the condition of the day. Vary the presentation and contact Seth Sutton and his family do a great job in helping you closely match the forage of the lakes that you fish. His quality custom jigs, hand poured soft plastics and spinnerbaits are second to none. To learn more about Bass Attacker Lures visit their site at: http://bassattackerlures.com/
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