What To Do When A Cold Front Roars In
Most of us don’t have the luxury of perfect weather for those days we wet a hook. If the day turns out to be beautiful that’s great, but more often than not a fisherman will have to put up with a certain amount of wind, rain, and even sleet, especially during the next few months. If you are one of those “die hards” that will be on the water regardless of the conditions outside, then this article is dedicated to you. The following are a few tips on how to put together a successful fishing plan when one of those “blue northers” heads your way. A cold front is the leading edge of a cool air mass moving into an area of warmer air. The barometer will take a sudden plunge, clouds and rain are almost certain, and sprinkled into all of this may well be some severe wind and lightning. The positive side is that bass will often go on a feeding frenzy right before the front hits, and immediately after the front passes. The negatives associated with the passing front are tough to ignore. A rising barometer will normally curb the feeding activities of the fish and the front may drop the surface water temperature significantly which will make the bass sluggish. Another negative is that a drop in humidity will cause ‘blue bird’ skies. Bass don’t like that added sunshine and will usually head for heavy brush or deeper water. Here they will position themselves directly in the center of a bush or treetop or near the deep water side of a point or drop-off. Now is the time to use a very slow moving lure. One such lure is the jig and pig combo. History shows that this may well be one of the most effective baits you can have on the end of your line during these post front conditions. Select a quality lead-head jig such as those produced by Stanley, Texan Lures, Strike King or Lil’ Hustler. Make the color selection simple with either a black, brown or blue color combo. Place a chunk of black pork bait trailer or plastic crawworm on the hook and you are ready to go. A weedless jig and pork can be worked slowly down into cover that most fishermen would avoid just because it looks too difficult to fish. Use a heavy action rod with at least 20# monofilament spooled on the reel for this kind of fishing. Cast the bait out and work it back with a slow, stop-go pumping action. The strike can vary from a light “tap” to one where the bass will try to jerk the rod out of your hands …so be alert! Another good bait for post-front conditions is a “slow rolled” spinnerbait. Spinnerbait colors are as varied as the rainbow, but a white/chartreuse bait with a gold/chrome blade combination or a large single gold blade is tough to beat on Toledo Bend. Work the bait back to the boat with slow pumps of the rod, maintaining contact with the throbbing of the spinnerbait blade. If you feel something out of the ordinary or if the blade suddenly stops “thumping” .. set the hook! Toledo Bend bass and a slow-rolled spinnerbait have historically gone together like red beans and rice. Some anglers feel there is not a better bait for times when bass drop into deeper water than a 1/2-oz to 1-oz jigging spoon. Quality baits are those produced by Mann’s, Texan Lures, Cotton Cordell, Hopkins or Kastmaster. Allow the bait to freefall until it reaches the bottom, then snap the bait up quickly and allow it to freefall back to the bottom. Be sure to maintain a slight pressure on the line as the bait is falling. Most strikes will occur as the lure is falling toward the bottom but occasionally a fish will suck in the bait when you pop it up and the bait just won’t fall back to the bottom. When this happens set the hook fast! A jigging spoon looks like an injured baitfish as it flutters to the bottom ….and that is an easy meal for a big bass. There will still be lot’s of bass in shallow water after a cold front hits, provided they have adequate protection such as boat docks, weeds, brush, or partially flooded trees. These bass are tougher to catch since they burrow up in the thickest cover available. Regardless of whether the bass are shallow or deep they will seldom leave their sanctuaries to chase a bait. You will have to work the bait down there in the thick stuff to get their attention. One of the biggest mistakes anglers make when fishing after a front is to fish way too fast. Forget those summer “run and gun” techniques, this is the time to thoroughly work each fishing location. Bass can be unpredictable, and front fishing is described by many as “feast or famine”. But one thing I am certain … You will never catch any of these big ol’ bass sitting inside looking at all of those stupid reruns on television. Big bass and cold weather are a dynamite combination. Now is the time to get in on some of the action. See you on the water.
My name is Eric Melson, I work for a non-profit called Public Land Solutions (PLS). We’ve been contracted through the state of New Mexico’s Economic Development Department and the