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Cracking the Fall and Winter Bass Fishing Code: Tips and Strategies from Luke Lipanovich

Winter fishing doesn't mean it's time to hibernate! Get ready to uncover the secrets of cold-water fishing with expert angler Luke Lipanovich.

Introduction: Catching in the Cold

You're probably wondering if winter is a time to stow your fishing gear and call it a day. After all, the water's colder, the fish seem less active, and the lure of a warm, cozy man cave beckons. But before you retreat, hear us out. Winter fishing is not only possible; it can be fantastic. Today, we're diving into cold-water angling with Luke Lipanovich, a seasoned pro at Sweeney's Sports, who is here to unlock the mysteries of winter fishing.

The Fall Transition: Preparing for the Chill

As fall gives way to winter, fish aren't hitting the snooze button; they're gearing up for the cold months ahead. Just as we humans bundle up for winter, fish prepare by bulking up and putting on their "fur coats" (i.e., gaining weight). To fatten up, they need to feed, and that means they're actively hunting. The aggression level of these fish in the fall is cranked up compared to the sultry summer months.

The Temperature Tango: 60s, 50s, and Beyond

Water temperature holds the key to understanding fish behavior. In October, when water temps hover in the 60s, fish are on the hunt. They're putting on the pounds before winter. During this time, fish are excited, and this is when you should work your magic. Cast baits that mimic baitfish in this season. Your go-to could be the Lucky Craft LV 500 or a Lucky Craft pointer jerkbait. Work these baits using a yo-yo technique to entice strikes. As winter creeps in and temperatures dip into the 50s, fish remain eager to feed. The slight drop in temperature isn't daunting yet. Lure them with jigs and worms. Jigs imitate crawdads, which are also on the move as they prep for winter. Worms offer versatility, especially in various setups such as shaky head, drop shot, and niko rig. Adapting your bait to water clarity is crucial.

The Winter Challenge: December, January, February

Now, you might think fish are dozing through the winter, but you'd be mistaken. These months are a goldmine for anglers. Fish are still active, just a tad slower. Adjust your approach to a more laid-back, slow-paced game. Maintain longer pauses between your jerks, casts, or lure movements. The key is to keep your bait in the fish's face without overwhelming them with fast, erratic movements.

Match the Hatch (Almost): Lure Color Logic

Keep in mind that fish are selective. Baits that match the local baitfish population work best. Avoid extremely flashy or unnatural colors, especially in winter. If you're fishing for more aggressive species like striper, you might get away with brighter colors, but remember, even then, it's essential to match the local forage as closely as possible.

So, don't let winter intimidate you. Instead, gear up, slow down, and use the right bait to make the most of the cold months. While the fish might not be as active as in summer, your strategic approach can turn a chilly fishing day into a heartwarming success.

Whether you're an experienced angler or a curious newcomer, give winter fishing a shot.

Stop by Sweeney's Sports in Napa, CA for tips and gear. Book your guided fishing trip to learn first hand, subscribe to our Youtube channel or shop fishing gear online.

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Thanks for taking time to help us out. Really appreciate a site to go to learn bass fishing tactics for lake Berryessa, my absolute favorite lake.


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