As I pulled my boat up to the ramp at Lake Cumberland on that cold, windy late December day. The thoughts running through my mind ranged from where I should start fishing to how long I could brave the cold weather.With the air temps in the low 30's and the wind chill dipping below freezing at times. You had to be careful to not get the excitement of the fishing trip before being safe and using common sense.
This can be a productive time of year to fish and a dangerous time to be on the water also.One thing that was for certain was the bait that I was going to use that day to catch the large mouth and small mouth bass was the hair jig. The hair jig is with out doubt one of the most effective and versatile baits that you can use. This is a bait that can be fished in deep or shallow water, in and around the heaviest cover you can find and this is a bait that will catch any fish that swims any time of the year when modified to match the situation you are faced with. As I pulled my boat off the trailer and backed into the chilly water I could only think of the chance of hooking up with a good bass quickly. So I dropped the trolling motor and started working my way toward a part of the bank that had a big flat that dropped off into a channel that run close to the bank. I found this area by watching my fish finder and thought it would be worth the time to fish it. And I was right on this guess. Because on the second cast with a red and brown hair jig I caught a nice small mouth bass in the two pound range.
After two more cast to this area I hooked into a good large mouth bass pushing the three pound range. This made the stop here very rewarding. This just proving that the hair jig fished slowly in cold winter water can be a very good choice of a bait to use. Remember that the colder water slows the speed and metabolism rate of the bass way down. The bass will not move as fast or as far to hit a bait. So this makes the choice to use the hair jig even more desirable. This is a bait that when cast close to productive cover and fished slow enough it can produce good quality bass at this time of year. In the winter you want to fish the darker more natural colors. Like black, blue red, brown, orange and green or any combination of these colors. Fish the jig on light line in the 6 to 10 pound range. Use a clear fluorocarbon line for best results. Target areas that have cover in deeper water or areas that have deeper water close by.
Places like main lake points, bluffs, flats with a channel drop or cover close to a channel are all good places to start fishing a hair jig in winter water.Make the cast and wait for your jig to fall all the way to the bottom. Watch your line as the jig falls this is when most of the strikes occur, as the jig is dropping. If you see your line stop or jerk sideways set the hook. If your bait makes it to the bottom then slowly start working the bait with a slow reeling and crawling action. Most of the bites will only be a small peck or pull on the line .
So be as aware of what you bait is doing as you can. As the day went on and I fished several different areas with different colored jigs I managed to catch five keeper size bass and a couple smaller ones. All on the hair jig fished slowly.
Give this style of fishing a try and you will catch fishing fever.