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FISHING

Adjust your bait to fish in winter weather

Mike_Sweeney.jpg

Mike Sweeney sports fishing

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By Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Saturday, January 20, 2018

When the winter weather is at its worse like it has been lately, I tend to change my largemouth rods to just a few baits.

There is one with a jig, a Rattle Trap and one with a hard body jerk bait.

This jerk bait has put more fish in my boat in the winter time than any other bait in my box.

There are a lot of manufacturers with these baits but my all time favorite is the Smithwick Rogue.

This bait has an action that sends the bait in a back and forth motion and will pause then suspend in the water column.

This drives the bass crazy and no matter how cold the water the fish will hit it.

In the lakes and ponds I like to throw these baits to the banks and points and fish them back out to deeper water.

I will work the bait down a few turns of the reel then twitch the bait back to me with a long pause in between the twitches.

In the rivers I work the points the same way but when I am in between the points I fish parallel to the bank at an angle so I cover the entire the water column.

Don’t be surprised if you have a fish hit right at the boat because they will follow the bait sometimes all the way till they strike.

I cant tell you how many fish I have seen hit the bait while I am parked 50 yards or so off the bank.

You want to make as long a cast as possible and get right to the bank then work it back. If the water is cold like it is now make your pause longer.

When the sun warms up you can speed it up a little but keep an eye on the water temps and the way the fish strike the bait.

You want to let the fish dictate how long the pause should be.

You can also score more than one fish off the same point because the fish tend to school this time of year especially on the points so if you catch one fish then go back for another.

What’s biting, where...

The fishing reports are still slim with no boats fishing out of any marina that I can find.

I know they thawed out but still nobody has made the run.

The bluefin tuna should be out there is someone is willing to go get them.

On the beaches we have a steady report of fish being caught at the point and Buxton.

Good numbers of drum and even some trout have been coming in on bottom rigs with shrimp.

Gulp baits on jig heads have also paid off on the drum which means they are close to the shore within casting range.

You don’t know what a good fight is till you catch a 30inch drum on a trout rig with light line.

I have reports of stripers on the bridges in the sound with Rattle Traps and stretch baits bringing them to the boats.

I went out to Coinjock after the thaw and fished in 39-degree water with only a few short strikes to show for my struggles.

I found the fish and they are exactly where they should be but with no live bait it was tough to get a bite.

If anyone gets out this week send me some pics and a report to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

We also have the first meeting of a brand new kayak fishing club here in Elizabeth City this Saturday.

The meeting is at noon at the Golden Coral restaurant in E.C. and all are welcome.

Hope to see you there.

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