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As lakes warm in the spring, largemouth bass move into shallow cover in coves, canals, and harbors. They seek warming water offered by these spots that also provide plentiful baitfish. Bass are eager to feed, but not yet aggressive in the cool water.
River currents prevent these waters from freezing when flatwater impoundments are ice-covered. With careful presentations, river largemouth can be caught. First, look for areas with minimal current where bass move for the winter. The upper ends of backwaters or dug-out ponds and harbors off the main river are prime locations.
One of the hottest tactics on the pro bass trail is working deep structure with jigworms, sometimes called shaky-head worming. Once it gets cold, largemouths favor steep rocky banks along the main body of the reservoir.
When water temperatures tumble below the low-40?F range, bass often move from mid-depth flats to more vertical structures. Fast-breaking edges allow bass to change depth easily, without traveling long distances.
Smallmouths can winter deep in reservoirs, down to 50 feet or deeper. Wherever 50-foot flats exist, that's where they'll be - whether it's in a creek arm or the main reservoir. The classic approach is to find them with sonar and work them with jigging
On my favorite spinnerbait, I add a 3 or 4" Gulp! chartreuse grub to enhance the catch rate of this versatile lure. Give me a Berkley 7" Ribbontail worm in june bug color and I can catch bass any where they swim. The 4" Gulp! Sinking Minnow has become my favorite lure on a Carolina rig.
Fall summons river bass to a major feast before winter sets in. Fish feel the urge to feed heavily, storing energy for the long cold period when activity is minimal. To make the most of this bite, key on ambush points in tributary creeks and backwaters, where groups of bass feed.