Sometimes as fronts move in and out this time of year youíre forced to really slow down your presentation; I find that many of my customers really donít understand what that really means. You can slow down just about any bait you just have to understand a few dynamics to do so.
The easiest bait to fish slow is some sort of soft plastic bait the dynamics of this is a couple of things; if you lighten the weight it takes longer to get to the bottom so you can slow it down just by changing the weight. I believe this technique helps add numbers to your day, but if you want a bigger fish keep your heavier weight but be patient with letting the bait stay on the bottom; shake it, drag it or just bump it along the bottom. This way the bait stays in the strike zone longer and allows those bigger fish to be enticed by its presence on the bottom. Many of us forget that reaction baits can also be slowed and there are many different ways to do so; one way is to go to a slower speed reel, if you change from a 6:3:1 reel to a 5:3:1 the bait will slow even if you do nothing else different because it takes more turns of the handle to get the bait back to you. It is also easy to add bulky skirts to baits like swim jigs, spinner baits or chatter baits, the bulky skirt add buoyancy to the bait and allows you to slow your retrieve without having the bait hang up in the grass or wood and rocks on the bottom.
Jigs are ideal winter baits because they can be slowed easily and many of the same principals apply here, you can slow the retrieve speed by changing reels, you can drag the bait on the bottom you can shake it in the strike zone or you can add a different skirt that has more buoyancy or add a bigger trailer to the jig. The result is the same slowing it down with different methods and many times trying to change your technique to one of these slower presentation changes your whole day.
I believe when you find the right speed during these late winter days you can load the boat; work the dynamics of your baits to change speeds and you will catch more fish.