Saturday, January 7, 2017

Cold Weather finess Fishing in the Delta by Matt Guthrie

I had the chance to do a lot of fishing during the holidays out in the Walnut Grove area. Originally we were looking for bass, but stumbled onto a school of crappie and panfish. So, over the next few days I went out with an assortment of crappie jigs, kastmasters, and trout-worms to fool these cold weather fish. I ended up catching sunfish, crappie, spotted and largemouth bass, and even a real nice striper.

I used a few different techniques to catch these fish, I started with the kastmaster as my go to and did catch fish but it was slow fishing.  Then I tried hair crappie jigs which also caught fish, but the best bait I found to be working was 1.5in Kalin's curly-tail grub. I cycled through a few colors from pink to motor oil and they all seemed to work. I did notice that I'd have to change up now and then because they would stop biting on a particular color. Jigging or casting these baits worked well but the real killer was just a slow drift with the current about 2ft off the bottom. These fish couldn't help themselves!

I also put a bit of effort into bass fishing between the ultra-lite fishing with some success. Everything had to be fished very slow but I was able to pick up bass on a Yamamoto Hula Grub with a flipping jig head. I suggest the flipping jig head over the football because it comes through weeds and brush well, if you are fishing mostly rock I'd go with the football head. This bait was crawled very slowly over the bottom with a foot or so lift between. When the bait gets stuck for a second on a limb or some grass that is the perfect time to lift it and let it sink on a tight line. Most of the bites were happening on this fall.

Lastly I was doing well on a small 3in swim bait from Gambler lures. I was fishing this on a 1/8 oz ball jig head and 6lb test. Letting the bait hit the bottom and doing a slow steady retrieve back to the kayak. I like this technique because it caught bass, large crappie and stripers. Even one sunfish took a wack at it and came to the boat. Any swim bait I'm sure will work in the 4in or less size and the best colors were natural shad colors.

Don't let the cold put you off your fishing. Downsizing line, lures, rods and reels can make the difference in a day of cold weather fishing. Loosen those drags and tight lines!

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