December 24, 2023
Of all the main points Darold Gleason considers together with his winter bass catches, dorsal coloration is probably not the very first thing you’d suppose he examines. In reality, it’s typically a key signal of the habitat the place the fish has been residing.
In lots of circumstances, that deep habitat comprised standing timber.
“We all know bass are ambush feeders, so the bass use not solely the tree itself, however the shade gives a spot the place they will conceal,” Gleason stated. “Historically, if you see a fish with a darkish again, we all the time consider grass fish. However quite a lot of instances within the winter, we’ll catch darkish fish and I feel they’re hanging out within the shadows, and so they camouflage themselves with darker coloration.
“I’ve actually caught fish earlier than and introduced them to a weigh in and have guys remark, ‘That one got here out of the grass,’ however it got here out of tremendous deep water with timber. You have a tendency to think about deeper fish being pale, so there’s something to that.”
As he defined, standing timber can play an almost year-round position, however the late-fall by winter interval actually brings its advantages into focus.
“Sometimes, in a lake like Toledo Bend or Sam Rayburn, there’s a bit of little bit of a drawdown; only a pure development of the lake degree dropping down, so there’s not a ton of canopy for the shad to (make the most of),” he stated. “This time of yr, the grass is getting sparse and there’s not quite a lot of docks within the water and issues like that, so standing timber is likely one of the few issues the shad have that can truly present a spot for them to cover in and it gives shade for the bass to cover in. It’s one of many final choices to hang around.
“The opposite main issue right here is that quite a lot of instances, our timber goes to be close to creek channels and ditches and drains, contour adjustments and issues like that. For this time of yr, it’s an excellent place to focus on bass due to the deeper water. This makes everyone extra comfy with the cooler climate.”
He stated he finds a mixture of sizes within the timber. However whereas the youthful, smaller fish usually tend to be discovered wolf packing on shad, the older—wiser—massive fish want to cover behind a bit of standing timber and look forward to the groceries to return to them.
Discover the Fish
Whereas this proximity to deeper water stands paramount, Gleason refines his web site choice even additional by factoring in his previous expertise with a distinct seasonal focus. Basically, figuring out the place he’ll discover fish typically comes right down to the place they’ll quickly wish to be.
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“I take a look at March and April (of previous years) and I take into consideration the place essentially the most spawning fish had been after which I work my method out,” he stated. “I’ll search for a funnel or a ditch that leads right into a spawning flat and work out from there.”
Additionally, as a result of bait colleges are such a essential component of winter bass positioning, he retains look ahead to feathered fish finders.
“Search for pelicans and loons (which disclose the bait location),” he stated. “They’re sort of a cheat code.”
Inside the timber, a discerning eye is the perfect time-management instrument. May the bass be wherever in a discipline of flooded timber? Sure, however shortly deducing the targets of excessive chance means extra time within the strike zone.
“Greater is best,” he stated. “Meaning the diameter of the tree, branches on the tree, the roots of a tree.
“Most of what we now have on Toledo Bend is (flooded) pine forests. Most of it’s thinner pine timber, however I feel the larger and the gnarlier is best than pole timber.”
Gleason has discovered a various assortment of baits will produce within the winter timber, however consistency comes by figuring out the place the fish can be positioned.
“The one key factor within the winter is to determine in the event that they’re on the underside or suspended up within the water column,” he stated. “In the event that they’re suspended up, that’s when the forward-facing sonar comes into play, as a result of I’m throwing the jighead minnow (Damiki).”
To maximise his fishing time, he makes use of the Strike King 3X Child Z-Too Smooth Jerkbait, made from Z-Man’s extraordinarily sturdy ElazTech materials. Becoming this on a 3/16- to 1/4-ounce ballhead jig, he makes a disciplined solid that creates an irresistible presentation.
“I’ll solid close to the tree the place I see the fish and let it pendulum above them,” he stated. “The secret’s to maintain it above them. It’s like pitching bushes—you wish to trigger a response.
“It’s just like the Jaws music; you’ll be able to see the fish coming towards your bait. You’ll be able to truly see the disturbance within the water once they cost the bait.”
Gleason additionally works suspended fish with a small paddletail swimbait like a Keitech Swing Impression to match the seasonal bait dimension. Right here, he’ll rig the bait on a 1/4- to three/8-ounce ballhead, relying on depth.
If the fish are on the underside, that’s when he goes to a dropshot with roboworm type hand-poured worm. He’ll additionally work in a soccer jig with a smaller grub type trailer, or a Carolina rigged creature bait. Pure colours like inexperienced pumpkin and watermelon work finest.
“It’s a lot in regards to the fish’s temper and their response,” he stated. “That’s the place my electronics shine as a result of if I see some on the underside, I do know that’s the place I have to be in search of some time.
Leaping again to the finesse stuff, Gleason stated the power to observe the enjoying discipline on forward-facing sonar, retains his winter timber recreation tight and intentional.
“I’m not saying baits and colours don’t matter, however your presentation is vital,” Gleason stated. “With the Damiki rig and the swimbait, you wish to get it shut sufficient to the construction to get their consideration, but additionally ensuring you don’t throw over the construction and get hung up.
“You simply wish to sneak it into their home and get them to do what they do—react. It’s the component of shock, as a result of a bass doesn’t have arms arms to defend themselves, so quite a lot of instances, once they chew, one thing obtained close to them and struck their curiosity. All they know to do is assault it.”