John's Journal...

Where and How to Catch Bass in the Winter with Denny Brauer, Davy Hite, Michael Iaconelli, Skeet Reese and James Niggemeyer

Day 3: Catching East Coast Wintertime Bass with Davy Hite

Editor’s Note: Davy Hite ( of Ninety Six, South Carolina, ranks as one of the top-10 money-winning anglers of all time.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewIn cold weather, I’ll fish South Carolina’s Murray and Greenwood lakes. But during January and February, I prefer Lake Greenwood, since I’ll have many opportunities there to catch an 8-pound-or-better pre-spawn bass. Typically, the water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40s. If neither a warm front nor a cold front moves through, I’ll primarily fish soft and hard jerkbaits over deep water close to shallow water. With a severe drop-off, the bass can sit in staging areas and move up or down the water column easily. You have to decide what the fish prefer on the day you’re fishing - brush piles, rock and/or sandy or clay banks. On a map, the bottom contours with the lines really-close together indicate sharp drop-offs close to shallow water, where generally you’ll locate bass.

Most of the time in the winter, bass will be suspended in a water column, instead of relating to the cover or to the bottom. I’ll fish the Rapala ( and Lucky Craft ( jerkbaits because they’ll sink slowly down to the lethargic bass and entice them to bite. My favorite soft plastic is the Berkley PowerBait Saltwater Jerk Shad ( I’m not big on scents, however the scent in this Berkley bait makes a difference in whether the bass bite or not in the winter.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewIn open water, I prefer to fish a hard jerkbait. If the bass just nip at it, those treble hooks will catch them. However, if the bait’s falling all the way down into the cover, I like a Texas-rigged, soft jerkbait. I’ll fish shad-colored jerkbaits, or in stained water either a black- or purple-black-colored bait on 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene Maxx line or Trilene Pro Grade Fluorocarbon line. I use a twitch-twitch-pause rhythm and sometimes give a three-count before I move the bait. You have to determine the rhythm of retrieve the bass want. At this time of year, our area may have 25- or 75-degree weather. But any day I fish Lake Greenwood in January and February, I expect to catch a 7-pound-or-better bass.

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament,” “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman,” or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Michael Iaconelli on Catching Northern Wintertime Bass

Check back each day this week for more about Where and How to Catch Bass in the Winter with Denny Brauer, Davy Hite, Michael Iaconelli, Skeet Reese and James Niggemeyer"

Day 1: A Jig Will Catch Wintertime Bass with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips
Day 2: Fishing for Midwest Wintertime Bass with Denny Brauer
Day 3: Catching East Coast Wintertime Bass with Davy Hite
Day 4: Michael Iaconelli on Catching Northern Wintertime Bass
Day 5: Catching Wintertime Bass on the West Coast with Skeet Reese and in the South with James Niggemeyer

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Entry 804, Day 3