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Jerkbait- Though this bait is definitely getting attention all year long; winter is where it historically shines the best. In winter you are not going to see a “Top 10 Winning Lures” list without a jerkbait on it. This is mainly because of its unique ability to suspend. In cold water temperatures fish move slower, so a suspending target gives them that extra time to get to it. Another thing I’ve noticed is its ability to catch fish off guard. With my Lowrance ActiveTarget, I’ve seen multiple fish speed up to chase the bait on the twitch then when it pauses they are going so fast they either have to open their mouth to eat it on turn away to avoid it. Most of the time they eat it.

Crankbait- Kevin VanDam is one of those anglers that can flat catch’em on a crankbait. Winter is no exception. He has logged several great finishes in the cold of winter on a crankbait. With all the different brands and models of crankbaits you can literally find a crankbait to fit any situation. From shallow muddy water to deep clear water, you can catch them on a crankbait. No matter the cover (grass, rocks, wood) you can find a crankbait to fit the bill.

Dropshot- This is one technique that I think you can catch fish on any time of year, but especially in winter. It has the same suspending affect a jerkbait does while reaching any depth the fish are gravitating to. I always used worms on my dropshot, but in recent years shad shape baits have become more common. Keep this in mind next time you are in that situation where the fish are eating shad near the bottom. Could be a perfect combination.

Jig– Another lure that I literally have tied on all year long the jig is exceptional in the winter. Fish in winter will sit sometimes with their bellies on the bottom or hide in the thickest of cover. A jig is great on these occasions. It doesn’t take much effort for a fish to chase down a slow moving jig. Also, this is a lure that can be fished at all depths and around all types of cover.

Spoon- No this is not the spoon you use to eat your figgy pudding on Thanksgiving. Jigging spoons are a great way to target fish straight below the boat that are suspended gorging on shad. My boat never goes out in winter without a jigging spoon tied on. Especially with the advancements in fish finders it proves to be a fish catcher. See the fish, catch the fish. It’s really that easy with a spoon.

A few extra key tips for winter fishing below

Dress appropriately– You can have everything go right and the fish could be chomping but if you didn’t dress appropriately you will have to stop fishing early. I’ve been there done that.

Pack a change of clothes- This is a time of year an accidental dip in the water can be horrible…just ask my buddy Brandon. He went for an early morning swim before blast off during an unusually cold morning at an Anglers Choice Team Tournament. Having a change of clothes saved our day.

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