Winter Baits to Feast On
In the dead of the winter, baitfish are moving slow and are an easy meal for bass. Swimbaits on jig heads and underpins are top choices. Depending on the size of the baitfish and activity level of the fish, there is two different baits you will want to key in on.
The Incredi-Swim is deadly, when there is warming water after a three day period of mild weather. When fished on a jig head of either 1/2 oz or 3/8 oz is deadly on flats and points adjacent to deeper water. These are the places the fish pull up to feed and warm up. Being an aggressive presentation for the winter, you could fish this as much as you would a crankbait or jerk bait. Pacing is important, the Incredi-swim has a very distinctive kick and body roll if you get the pace of your retrieve right. Make sure you watch the bait and get your retrieve speed just right. Experimenting beside the boat will give you a better idea of how the bait swims, and at what speed.
You need relatively clear water for all swimbait fishing. Two and a half feet of visibility would be ideal, but you could get away with a foot and a half.
When colder weather has set in and you need to get on deeper schools a little faster, you need a smaller bait. The 3’’ Riptide Mullet is a perfect bait for fishing on an underpin. An underpin is a jighead with a blade below for additional flash. The Riptide Mullet is secretly fished by bass anglers regularly, as it gives the bass something different to think about. The Riptide Mullet is geared towards saltwater fishing, and has helped many anglers hook into trophy Redfish. You can see how this bait would also work well on largemouth!
The Mullet has a subtle kick and does not overpower the underpin, which allows it to fall through the water column. Baitfish colors are preferred and paired with 10-12 lb Fluorocarbon line to help keep the bait down on a slow and steady retrieve. Consider a 3/8 oz head when in water less than 8’ and an 1/2 oz head down to 20’ and beyond. In the rare occasion you would need to fish deeper than 20′, be sure to have 3/4oz underspins on hand.