Bass fishing is an art, but winter bass fishing is both art and science. You can bring a lifetime of technique and experience to the lake, but if you don’t check the weather first, you may end your day emptyhanded.
Here’s how to use science to determine the best time to fish for bass this winter, and how the latest personal weather technology from AcuRite can help you conquer cold-water bass fishing from now until the spring spawn.
Colder Air = Colder Water
Simple enough, right? When the mercury drops on land, it affects the entire underwater ecosystem — from ponds and lakes to creeks and rivers. Water retains heat very well, but by the time winter bass fishing season rolls around, the underwater season has shifted too. So, if you have to throw on extra layers before your first cast of the morning, no doubt the fish are feeling the freeze as well.
Smallmouth bass are one of the most desirable sporting species on Earth due to their fighting spirit and widespread distribution. But no matter where you find them, bass are extremely sensitive to both the calendar and the weather report. Bass spawn in the spring/early summer and are active until the following fall because cold temperatures affect their metabolism. That means that bass reduce their movement to conserve heat in the cold months, which in turn means they require fewer calories to live and don’t feed as aggressively. This might discourage the average angler, but AcuRite has you covered, with weather gear that can help you go beyond surface level to find the hidden hot spots in your frigid fishing hole.
Deeper Than Temperature
The cold and the calendar are just two winter bass fishing factors; understanding weather patterns will help you dive below the surface level. For example, barometric pressure can help you predict both the weather and the aquatic appetites of smallmouth bass and other species.
When the pressure is rising, it may look beautiful up above, but down below, the fish tend to be less active and less liable to nibble. However, once the pressure starts to drop and the weather starts to degrade, fish get aggressive and will bite at anything in their path — up until the moment the skies open and precipitation starts, which can drive fish deeper and closer to cover, and cloud their eyesight.
That’s why an AcuRite Personal Weather Station is a fisherman’s best friend. Build out a custom system that can accurately measure and predict barometric pressure, temperature, and precipitation patterns, and you can identify the best time to fish for bass at your own secret spot or favorite fishing hole without even checking the fishing report. That means no more relying on those gossipy guys in galoshes at your local bait shack for all the insider info — just check your AcuRite weather station each day and use the extensive data to create your own luck with a lure.
The Tools in Your Tackle Box
As with most things, successful cold-water bass fishing is about the right preparation and the right equipment. Opt for smaller lures or bite-sized bait, since chilly bass are less likely to waste their energy going after bigger prey. By that same logic, keep your movements deliberate and contained to give the bass a nice, long look at whatever you’re dangling. This will help to account for their slower reaction time and tendency to hang out near the bottom of the body of water.
Make sure your AcuRite Hunting and Fishing Activity Meter with Weather Forecaster is in your tackle box, and monitor your personal weather station with the My AcuRite app on your phone — using both at the same time will help you know the weather before you go and keep you updated out on the lake. Keep a close eye on the barometer, because an incoming cold front will send barometric pressure up and make bass less liable to bite. If the pressure starts to drop and the weather is about to turn nasty, cast fast and get every line into the water to catch the bass at their most aggressive. A light drizzle can actually help hide your boat from the bass and even oxygenate the water, which can wake up their minds and appetites.
Once your portable weather forecaster says the skies are about to open, however, it may be time to call it a day and start plotting the best time to bass fish on your next angling adventure — with the weather technology you need to keep a hot hand throughout winter bass fishing season and beyond.