Winter fishing is all about bait. Find the right bait and there is a good chance bass will be close. This could be 50 feet deep or in the back of a creek in 2 feet of water.
You can’t go wrong selecting a bait that imitates baitfish and the Culprit Riptide Mullet is a really good impersonator of all baitfish. Whether it is shad, blueback herring or golden shiner, the Riptide Mullet is a solid choice.
I’ve been using this bait in a couple different ways for more than a decade and I’ve tried and continue to try other baits, but always come back to the Mullet as my confidence bait. There is something about the tail kick that is just perfect for bass in colder water. Maybe it’s that it’s not too aggressive, it is rather subtle in fact.
The profile is tall and thin like most baitfish, but thick enough to hold whatever hook you need. The profile is tall and thin like most baitfish, but thick enough to hold whatever hook you need. Also, this is one of the very few baitfish shapes that include fins, helping the bait to run true and swim perfectly on the A-rig.
My number one use is on an A-rig which is deadly all the way through winter and into pre-spawn. My main set-up is all 1/8 heads with 5 — 4” baits on it. I like a subtle color like Salt and Pepper Shad on the outer baits and I almost always use Nite Glow or Nite Glow with Chartreuse Tail as my middle bait. Sometimes in stained water or really deep water I’ll use all Nite Glow since it can be seen easily in low light with its luminescence.
I fish this around areas holding baitfish in open water as well as around structure like road beds.
Use a 7’ 6’’ rod or 8′ rod and at least 20-lb. line for this rig.
My other main use for this bait is on an underspin jig head or a plain ball head. I like the 3’’ Mullet (only available in Night Glow/Chartreuse Tail color) for this with lighter heads. A 1/4-oz. jig head is my favorite for shallower than 10 feet. This gets bit especially in conjunction with forward facing sonar in clear water. You can find individual fish or small groups and easily control the depth to get this bait quickly to the fish.
Even if you don’t have forward facing sonar, using the Mullet on a jig head is effective in fishing the edges of flats where they drop off into a channel, or simply around bluff banks and channel baits in the winter.
I use both spinning rods and bait casters with the Mullet on jig heads depending on the depth. If I’m fishing it shallow I’m usually doing it on a bait caster with 12- or 14-lb. fluorocarbon. For deeper water, I’m going for the spinning since thinner line is better in deeper water. I usually use a thin diameter 15-lb. braid to a 12-lb. fluoro leader.
One little secret I have for the Mullet is I always get 4-5 bags of each color I need and immediately take them out of the original packaging and put them in a gallon ziplock bag. I try to keep some air in the bag to allow the tails to relax. Swimbaits often become kinked and don’t swim properly, but after a while in the ziplock they will relax and have the perfect action for your fishing trip. You can speed up the process by heating them up then placing in the ziplock.
With the Mullet, I have confidence I’m using the right bait all winter long.