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Ken Cook: Catch bass in winter by fishing slowly, using lighter tackle

Former Bassmaster Classic champion says his most trusted equipment is an Abu Garcia Revo 30 spinning reel and a 7-foot Fenwick medium action rod.
By Ken Cook, For The Oklahoman Published: January 5, 2013

If the water is relatively clear, like Tenkiller or Broken Bow, I will rely on the Shad Rap. It provides good action at a slow retrieve.

But the fish have to be somewhat shallow, less than 10 feet deep for this to work. If the fish are deeper I switch to a jig simply to get down to where the fish are found.

If the water is somewhat murky, like parts of Eufaula, I throw the Wiggle Wart. The extreme wide wobble of this bait is a better attracter for the fish. Remember, the water is cold, the fish very lethargic.

They won't be able to see this bait but they will detect the action. And the murky water tends to allow the fish to lurk a bit shallower, in two to six feet deep, so reaching the bass with this technique may not be a problem.

Don't be shy when it comes to searching new water. Give each spot a lot of repetitive casts but if not producing move on. Once you find a fish don't move. A school of winter bass can be a bonanza for multiple catches in one hole.

One philosophy is to use a jerk bait, like the Berkley Jerk Shad in the winter. While this can be a good search bait to find reactionary bites, I typically I reserve my jerk bait techniques to late January and early February.

When the water takes that first rise after being so cold for several weeks is like turning on a switch to the bass and the reaction bite is unbelievable.

But Groundhog Day seems so far into the future right now and finesse or crankbait fishing will be my plan for catching fish over the next few weeks.