Ice Out Smallmouth Bass
After ice-out, ice out smallmouth bass begin making tentative movements atop hard-bottomed structures in the main lake. Cast neutrally-buoyant crankbaits, using slow retrieves with frequent pauses.
Ice-out is a special time of year for smallmouth bass anglers. The fish are just coming out of their wintering holds, and the water is still cold. In this article, we’ll look at how to target smallmouth bass in cold water, and the strategies and lures that can be used to get the most out of your time on the water.
Cold Water Strategies
When the water is cold, the key to getting bites on smallmouth bass can be a long pause. If the water is in the 50s, you can usually fish with a spinning rod and braided line, making the bait fly around erratically. But when the water is in the 40s, a baitcaster with mono slows the action of the bait down, and you can let it sit for several seconds. This can be especially effective when fishing deeper cuts close to flats, or structures that are close to the spawning flats.
When it comes to early season search lures, there are three favorites that are difficult to beat. The first is the X-Rap, which is one of the all-time greatest smallmouth bass lures ever made for cold water. Another great option is the Shad Rap, and a third option is a grub swimming a grub.
The color of the lure can also be important. When the fish are neutral or negative and the water is clear, a subtle, lifelike bait can be the ticket. But in dirtier water, a more vibrant color like hot head can create a halo in the water, providing visual cues to the fish and opening up the strike window.
Smallmouth bass can be a lot of fun to target soon after ice-out. By using the right strategies and lures, you can maximize your time on the water and get the most out of your fishing experience. With the right approach, you can be sure to have a successful day on the water.