Florida seldom sees deep chills, but even ordinary cold fronts have a big impact on our bass fishing.
Florida largemouth bass are famous for chasin’ and chewin’ right before a cold front, but when the front passes, ushering in those high pressure “bluebird” skies, the bite slows down. Way down.
Living in a mostly mild-to-warm environment, Florida bass simply never become accustomed to significant weather changes. They grow bigger, for sure, but they aren’t as tolerant of cold snaps.
If you have to fish after a front, here are some tips:
>First, realize you’re probably fishing for only a handful of bites all day. Make every cast count and focus on disciplined presentations. No lazy winding.
>Understand that your playing field has shrunk considerably. Even if the temperature drop is not dramatic, cloudless, post-front skies bring intense sunlight that pushes fish farther under weed mats and docks and tucks them tighter to laydowns, cypress trees and stumps.
>Fish small: Try a finesse jig with a short, bristly skirt and diminutive trailer. Or fish a shaky head with a slender finesse worm. The Ned Rig, a mushroom-style jighead and 3-inch stick worm, is another good cold-weather rig. These make easy and attractive targets for sulking bass. But don’t get too caught up in the tiny baits. A full-size jig with a subtle chunk-style trailer represents a bigger meal that a bass might find more favorable. (Notably, a heavier jig provides better target accuracy.)
>Make it easy for the fish. Focus on those target-oriented presentations rather than the water-covering techniques (topwaters, swimbaits, etc) you’d use at other times. On the other hand, slow-rolling a big spinnerbait near the bottom or bumping a swim jig along a laydown could convince a fish to make his one-and-done move for the day.
>Reconnaissance is critical between late fall and early spring. Know your waters. Spend time in your favorite areas graphing for submerged wood, deep grass beds, springs and other attractive features. Check local docks for additional debris nearby. Identifying places bass will likely hold during post-frontal conditions makes you more efficient, enabling you to focus on patient presentations.
>Post-frontal conditions take the edge off that legendary Florida largemouth attitude. They get lethargic. You can get away with using lighter line, which usually translates into more bites. Use this to your advantage. FS
Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2018