Baits for Cold Water Bass

May 3, 2018

Paul McCue FishUSA Ambassador Cold Water Bass Baits

The weekend brought moderating temperatures to most of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Finally! In the Great Lakes, the long winter looks like it’s behind us, the days are getting longer, and the air temperature is inching towards t-shirt weather. However, cool nights and water temperatures are still keeping the bass in late winter/early spring mode. After two days of fishing, the warmest water I found was 51 degrees and the bass are still a little sluggish. This makes for slow fishing most of the time, but it is a great time of year to catch a giant. As we get closer to the spawn and anglers get antsy to throw jigs and cranks for territorial fish, preparation will be the key to success.

Before casting the first line, remember that the water is cold this time of year, and can be dangerous. I wear the new Simms Challenger Jacket and Bibs to block the wind. They are waterproof, extremely comfortable, and make for a great set of outerwear when you’re fishing cold water. Something that I think many anglers forget after a long winter is that even when the sun is warm, the cold water you are fishing in can dramatically lower the air temperature around you. Be sure to wear your life jackets as well. With water temperatures in the 50's it will only take minutes for hypothermia to set in.

Baits for Cold Water Bass with FishUSA

When it comes to the business end of things, we all have our preferences. If I only had three baits for cold water bass, here is what they would be:

  • A jig. Simply put, this is one of the most versatile baits around. I like to fish them slow in cold water and keep things simple. Black and blue on dark days or stained water. Green pumpkin or brown on bright days or clear water. I also like jigs with a bulky body or paddle-tail, like the Keitech Fat Swing Impact, that can move a lot of water, even with a slow presentation.
  • A jerkbait. My top choices are the Megabass Vision Oneten (yes they are worth the money), Lucky Craft Pointer, and Smithwick Rogue. I like to mix up my retrieve, but cast to same spot several times before moving. Alternate between very short and slow jerks, moving the bait about 4-6 inches, and longer and slower jerks where the bait is moving 12-18 inches at a time.
  • A spinnerbait. With the invention of the chatterbait, I feel many anglers overlook the spinnerbait. It can be fished high or low in the water column, over weeds and brush, and fast or slow. I am a big fan of War Eagle spinnerbaits.

We’ve all experienced the tight-lipped, coldwater fish that are tough to get to bite. But those first fish of the season are some of the best. When fishing reports are scarce early in the year, it comes down to getting yourself out on the water, fishing where you know fish are hiding, and throwing the kitchen sink at them until you get bit.

Good luck and tight lines!

Related Products

Offer AvailableKeitech Fat Swing Impact
Keitech Fat Swing Impact
27 Colors available
The Keitech Fat Swing Impact takes swimbaits to the next level with its unique swim motion at any retrieve speed. These baits are balanced by Keitech's two-tone color injection process and feature tapered and ribbed bodies, which helps give the paddle tail its swimming action. With a natural swimming motion and durable construction, the Fat Swing Impact is a valuable addition to anyone's bait arsenal. These baits are packaged snugly in blisters in order to protect their integrity and help keep t...
$5.99 - $6.79
Offer AvailableLucky Craft Pointer Jerkbait
Lucky Craft Pointer Jerkbait
11 Colors available
The Lucky Craft Pointer Jerkbait features a revolutionary design that utilizes special brass weights that gives it a very low center of gravity. This causes the jerkbait to wobble and vibrate when the retrieve has been paused. Short twitches of your fishing rod will create the Walk the Dog action under the water. The combination of slow suspending movements with the Walk to Dog technique perfectly mimics a wounded baitfish. This effective jerkbait is finished with ultra realistic colors, making ...
$14.99 - $16.99
Offer AvailableMegabass Vision Oneten
Megabass Vision Oneten
24 Colors available
The Megabass Vision Oneten is a favorite jerkbait among professional and amateur anglers. The Oneten features a patented tungsten Multi-Way Moving Balancer System that allows for exceptionally long casts and also creates a darting action and flash under water. Combining a lifelike swimming action, realistic color patterns, and three Katsuage Out-Barb treble hooks, this jerkbait will increase your hookup rates.
Offer AvailableMegabass Vision Oneten Plus 1
Megabass Vision Oneten Plus 1
23 Colors available
The Megabass Vision Oneten Plus 1 was designed to float and fish in depths up to nine feet. This jerkbait is constructed with a patented, dual-tungsten, Multi-Way Moving Balancer System, allowing for longer casts in any fishing condition. With the slightest rod movement, it will twitch and dart aggressively and activate its internal rattles, enticing fish from afar. The Vision Oneten Plus 1 is finished with three shark Katsuage hooks, ensuring hookups every time.
Offer AvailableMegabass Vision Oneten Silent
Megabass Vision Oneten Silent
12 Colors available
Megabass Vision Oneten Silent provides jerkbait anglers with a lure that is ready to attack from any position. This jerkbait has a nose down profile that offers a deadly stealth with an unstoppable performance. The Vision Oneten Silent gives off a lifelike quiver with just enough flash, to catch the attention of unsuspecting fish. The Megabass Vision Oneten Silent lure is perfect for demanding North American fishing environments.
Simms Challenger Bibs
Simms Challenger Bibs
The Simms Challenger Bibs provide protection in the harshest fishing conditions. With their durable 2-layer Toray fabric and fully taped seams, they offer 100% waterproof performance. These bibs can be customized with adjustable suspenders and hem. Other great features include hand-warmer pockets, a YKK zipper with storm flap, and even a single leg pocket with reinforced tool sheath. Why settle for less than the best? Get these awesome Simms Challenger Bibs today!
Simms Challenger Jacket
Simms Challenger Jacket
he Simms Challenger Jacket offers best in class waterproof performance. Heavy-duty Toray fabric, combined with fully taped seams, create a completely waterproof jacket for anglers who love fishing in cold, wet weather. Other features include two zippered hand-warmer pockets, multiple draw-cord adjustment locations, dual kill switch anchor points, water-resistant YKK zipper with storm flap, and a 3-way adjustable storm hood that stows away in the collar. With all these great features, you know th...
Offer AvailableSmithwick Perfect 10 Rogue
Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue
32 Colors available
The Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue Lure dives down ten ft. plus, and has the rogue roll that prompts vicious strikes by showing side-flash just like a real baitfish. This lure dives quickly and then produces an erratic action that gets the fish to strike. The Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue Lure has high-tech color patterns that were developed with the input of the best jerkbait fisherman in the world and come standard with super sharp Gamakatsu Hooks.
Offer AvailableSmithwick Suspending Elite 8 Rogue
Smithwick Suspending Elite 8 Rogue
13 Colors available
The Smithwick Suspending Elite 8 Rogues have a loud internal rattle and dive quickly down to depths of 8 feet to grab the attention of large hungry fish. These lures have an erratic darting action when twitched and have color patterns for both clear and darker water conditions. The translucent models are designed for clearer conditions while the chrome and gold models are made for unclear conditions.
Offer AvailableSmithwick Top 20 Rogue
Smithwick Top 20 Rogue
18 Colors available
The Smithwick Top 20 Rogue is designed to dive to depths of 20 feet, with a tantalizing action that no fish can resist. This lure moves in an erratic motion, making them great for trolling at slow or fast speeds. Smithwick Top 20 Rogue comes in a variety of fish-catching colors specifically created to target walleye, salmon, and lake trout.
Offer AvailableWar Eagle Double Willow Spinnerbait
War Eagle Double Willow Spinnerbait
10 Colors available
The War Eagle Double Willow Spinnerbait is an excellent performer for attracting and battling tough bass this year. This spinnerbait is perfectly balanced to provide you with smooth motions in the water. The double willow blade design spins freely and creates flashes that attract bass from afar. It features a colorful hand-tied skirt that produces amazing life-like movements that predatory fish love. If you're interested in catching more bass than your buddy, pick up the War Eagle Double Willow ...
Offer AvailableWar Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait
War Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait
6 Colors available
The War Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait features a unique design with high-end components to become your new favorite weapon against finicky bass. Designed and tournament tested by professional angler Mike McClelland, he wanted to enable anglers from all around to catch their limit of fish quick! And this spinnerbait delivers! The Colorado/Turtleback blade combination paired with the Bass Eagle pro series skirt produces amazing flashes and movement in the water that drive predatory fish crazy. Make al...