John's Journal...

How to Vertical Jig for Winter Bass

Day 3: How to Catch Wintertime Bass with the Jigging Spoon with Bass Pro Paul Elias

Editor’s Note: Wintertime bassing can be some of the best bassing of the year, if the outdoorsman knows three-important ingredients for successful bass fishing – where the bass are holding during the cold months, how to locate these bass with a depth finder, and how to catch them.

Click for Larger ViewProbably the most-effective bass lure for wintertime vertical jigging is the jigging spoon. The heavier the spoon, the deeper and the quicker it will go down, and the easier it is to fish at deeper depths. Most of the time I prefer a 1/2- or a 5/8-ounce spoon. But just because you have a bait in front of the bass at the same depth as the bass doesn’t mean that the bass always will take the bait. Fishing the jigging spoon is an art form that can become highly sophisticated when practiced by the masters. A fallacy that prevents many anglers from vertical jigging for bass in the wintertime says that if an angler pulls his boat right on top of a school of bass, he’ll spook the bass. If the bass were in 6 to 8 feet of water, that theory may be true. But most of the time, in the winter, the bass will be much deeper. The presence of a boat over their heads will in no way inhibit the bass’s desire to take lures. However, common sense dictates that dropping an anchor in the bottom of a boat or kicking-over a tackle box may run-off the bass.

Click for Larger ViewThe real expertise in catching bass on the jigging spoon in the wintertime is to know exactly how the bass wants that jig presented before it will take the lure. Longtime bass angler Paul Elias of Laurel, Mississippi, like many other bass-fishing professionals, knows that the jigging spoon is one of the top bass-catching baits for this time of year. He explains, “The jigging spoon can be lowered-down to the depths where the bass are holding at this time of year and also can be fished vertically right in front of those deep bass. Wintertime bass aren’t very aggressive and often will be holding close to a school of baitfish, so that they won’t have to expend much energy to catch their prey. If a fisherman can drop a flashy jigging spoon right in front of the bass’s face, so that the bass doesn’t have to travel any distance to take the lure, the bass will more likely hit that bait than any other bait.”

Click for Larger ViewAccording to Elias, “The jigging spoon requires very-little action on the part of the angler. As the spoon falls, it wobbles back and forth. Basically all a fisherman has to do is jig the spoon up and down and keep it in front of the bass. Remember that the bass’s metabolism is slowed down during the wintertime, and the bass aren’t interested in a fast-moving bait. By jigging the spoon ever so slightly, you often will attract more bass to the lure than if you rip the bait up from the bottom and let it fall back. An angler may take 12 to 30 bass out of one school, if the bass are active. But if the bass are inactive, no matter how many bass are down there, you’ll be hard pressed to catch any.”

Click for Larger ViewOne of the places where anglers can discover schooling bass in the wintertime and catch them on the jigging spoon is on the edges of old creek channels where the timber has been left standing before the lake has been raised. Although bass will suspend above these submerged treetops, sometimes the bass will move down into the tops of the standing timber. Many anglers are hesitant to put any bait into thick cover, especially where there’s a possibility of losing a lure. But Elias says that the jigging spoon is one of the easier baits to work in heavy cover. “I use a 1-ounce jigging spoon. If you don’t bury the hooks in past the barb, the spoon will hang-up. However, then you easily can jiggle the bait free, because the weight of the lure pulling back against the hooks will cause the spoon to fall away from whatever it’s hung-on.” Many anglers keep a jigging spoon tied onto one of their rods when wintertime bass fishing, whether they’re vertical jigging, worming or cranking. Sometimes in the winter, especially if a warm day occurs, large schools of bass will start to come-up and feed on the surface. Although the jigging spoon primarily is fished vertically, the lure will take bass on the surface and in mid-water during the winter months.

Tomorrow: Fishing the Plastic Worm and the Flutter Spoon for Bass in the Winter


Check back each day this week for more about "How to Vertical Jig for Winter Bass "

Day 1: Locate Schools of Baitfish to Find Wintertime Bass and Deep Drops on Points with Paul Elias
Day 2: How to Locate Wintertime Bass with a Depth Finder and Denny Brauer on Jigs
Day 3: How to Catch Wintertime Bass with the Jigging Spoon with Bass Pro Paul Elias
Day 4: Fishing the Plastic Worm and the Flutter Spoon for Bass in the Winter
Day 5: What Tackle and Equipment to Use for Wintertime Bassing with Paul Elias


Entry 601, Day 3