This spring has been very frustrating for the fisherman.
It seems we have had a cold front move through on a weekly basis. Water temperatures aren’t even close to where they are normally are by this time of the year either. Nothing is more frustrating than a major cold front during your spring bass fishing trip to the lake.
Unfortunately, weekend anglers don’t get to pick and choose on what days they can go fishing and are forced to deal with the hand that Mother Nature throws at them on the days they can go fishing. While a major cold front in the spring can make conditions miserable for anglers, with a little adaptation to your methods, you’ll be able to be successful on your next trip.
For starters, don’t be afraid to go fishing as a front is arriving. Weather conditions may not be the most comfortable for you, but we tend to find that the fish go on a feeding frenzy as the front starts to arrive. The change in barometric pressure triggers them to go on a binge feed to fill up before the high barometric pressure arrives. During this time, fishing can be fast and furious and you can fill up your livewell in a hurry, especially with large fish.
Where things get tough is the day or two after the front as already passed through. For us humans, this can be a physically comfortable time; clear sunny skies with cooler weather. For the fish though, the high barometric pressure that accompanies the cold front causes them to nearly shut down until lower barometric pressure arrives. Why does the high pressure affect fish this way? We aren’t sure, but many theorize it affects the fish’s swim bladder.
Once the front settles in and the barometric pressure starts building, that is when conditions typically change. Sunny, “bluebird” skies and diminishing north or east winds are classic indicators. Water temperatures drop dramatically after the front as well.
During warming trends, bass often move up onto shallow flats and roam widely. After the front, bass typically move slightly deeper and much tighter to cover than where they were hanging out before the weather changed. They typically will be found along channel bends in the creeks running through spawning flats or on points at the mouth of a flat. Some bass won’t move at all, instead burying themselves in the thickest cover available. Often times the bass will bury themselves in the thickets weed mats that they can find. Others will bury themselves in thick wood piles. The base of old tree stumps are a great example.
The good news is that once you relocate the fish, they are are often in large groups; so productive spots can produce a lot of bites. The longer and more severe the cold front, typically the farther towards the mouth of the coves and the main lake the bass will move.
Once you have found the post frontal fish, success is based on three key components; downsizing your lures, presenting your lure in the thickest part of the cover, and slowing way down. I really like a smaller jig and pig in this situation. Pitch the jig as tight as you can to the stump or log or in the thickest part of the weeds and present the lure in a very slow manner.
This is a time where you may need to pitch or cast to the same spot multiple times until you entice them to strike. Pitch your jig precisely to the heaviest cover you can find and work it as slowly as you can possibly stand, making repeated casts to likely areas. Many bites will come when the jig is setting motionless on the bottom, and only after casting to the same place multiple times. It’s almost as if you have to hit them on the head to get them to bite. Patience and persistence is extremely important.
Other great options during this time period include suspending hard plastic jerkbaits, yo yoing lipless crankbaits, or slow rolling spinnerbaits, especially in areas with less cover.
Cold fronts result in slow fishing, at least until you find a concentration of fish. Big schools of bass in small areas after cold fronts can result in a successful fishing trip even if the weatherman tells you otherwise. Just remember to slow down in every thing that you do and remain patient during the trip and you will survive until more favorable weather returns.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.