John's Journal...

How to Vertical Jig for Winter Bass

Day 5: What Tackle and Equipment to Use for Wintertime Bassing with 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 ViewWhen vertical jigging in the wintertime, the angler needs an immediate, solid hook set. The bass realizes quickly that the chunk of lead in its mouth isn’t a tasty baitfish. So, a bass will blow the jigging spoon out as fast as it sucks-in the lure, if the hook isn’t set immediately at the time of the strike. Probably a cue stick with a winch on the end and a piece of cable is the optimum tackle to make the strongest hook set in the shortest time. However, since most anglers are reluctant to use this type of apparatus, a stiff worm rod or a flipping stick is more preferred. Click for Larger ViewA baitcasting reel with a fast retrieve adds speed and power to the hook set, and 20-pound-test line with little or no stretch yields the best results. However, these general tackle rules aren’t applicable to all winter bass-fishing/vertical-jigging situations. If you’re fishing in a highland reservoir with clear water and little or no structure in it, you can fish a lighter line. But if you’re angling a lowland lake with a great deal of timber in it, then 25-pound-test line may not be heavy enough for you to fish.

Many anglers use sonar units with GPS chartplotting and trackplotting to locate schools of baitfish and bass. “I prefer to use a GPS and fish finder combo sonar unit on my boat, so I can see exactly how the bass are positioned on the structure,” Bass Pro Paul Elias of Laurel, Mississippi, says. “From my sonar, I’m able to tell if the bass are positioned right on the bottom, up in the structure or holding on top of the structure.

Click for Larger ViewOnce I know where the bass are, then I can better determine what type of action to give the bait to cause the bass to eat it. I usually will locate the bass and their position on the structure with my sonar unit. I mainly want to see where the baitfish are holding on the structure. If I can find the baitfish and keep my spoon in the same area where the baitfish are, I usually can trigger a strike from the bass. Click for Larger ViewOnce I’ve read my sonar unit, I move to the front of the boat where I have a flasher with its transducer mounted to the foot of the trolling motor. By having the transducer mounted to the foot of the trolling motor, I can see exactly where I’m fishing. The signal coming back to the flasher records what’s in the water where my jig is positioned. In this way, I usually can see the bass and the structure I’m fishing.”

While wintertime bassing, if you find the schools of baitfish and start catching the bass, you often can catch and release 30 to 40 bass in a day. While everyone else is staying-in and trying to keep warm this winter, you can have some of the best bass-fishing action of the year.

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 5