As soon as the water warms up enough, bass in Table Rock and Bull Shoals will begin thinking about eating! Right now, most fish are suspended at a comfortable temperature and oxygen level. When surface temperatures are in the 30s, bass are not really in an eating mode, because their metabolism is so low, that they do not need much to eat. Water surface temperatures are climbing into the low 40’s now, and with warming water, the bass will begin to need food.
Right now, dead shad are at the bottom of most lake coves, and pelicans are gorging themselves on this fortuitous delicacy! Soon, our bass will be doing the same thing!
The Alabama rig is working now! This is an exciting bait to fish, and many anglers have caught more than one fish on a single cast!!! Ask a fishing associate about this rig, how to fish it, and how to rig it. Take a rig home, and try it out on the lake.
The suspended jerk bait is tapering off a bit. This bait will still work, but hungry bass in warmer parts of the lake, are easier to attract with the greater food value presented to them in the form of the Alabama rig.
Do not give up on the jerk bait, though, since, as the water begins to warm up, this bite will be back on. Suspended black bass, positioned in the water column at a depth that offers both the comfortable temperature and oxygen level, will attack a dying shad, if it looks real, and it stays around long enough to attract attention. Present the shad imitation above the suspended bass, and employ a jerk and wait retrieve. The longer the wait, between jerk retrieves, the better, as this allow the fish to react and attack.
There is a jig bite now. Crawfish spend most of their time on the bottom. A crawfish imitation needs to move slowly, from behind one rock, to the next rock. It is hard to fish this bait too slowly. Right now, bass are at all levels, looking for the most comfortable mix of oxygen and temperature they can find, from 4-45ft. Look for them, especially off or next to, main lake and secondary points. Try a 1/4 to 5/8oz. round or football head jig, brown, peanut butter and jelly, or green pumpkin in color, and add a trailer, green pumpkin, watermelon candy, or cinnamon purple. Add scent to your jigs. The jig bite really comes on, as the water warms up. As bass patrol the lake points, looking for a meal, there is an interest in crawfish!
Try fishing a drop shot rig, vertically. Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is. This technique works well, on suspended fish! You can also fish this drop shot rig like a finesse Carolina rig, by casting it out and retrieving it the same way you would a Carolina rig.
Cold weather increases the need for home heating, which can increase power consumption. Dam generation creates power. Generation from the dams causes current off main lake points, attracting the shad. Therefore, do not pass up any main lake point that looks good to you, during this time of the year, since fish congregate on and around these points, looking for shad and crawfish.
Black bass can be particularly difficult to find during the late winter. As the water warms, though, keep looking, and you can find a group of hungry fish, waiting for you!!!
They are out there!!!
Good Luck and Good Fishing!