How to catch post-front bass
B.A.S.S. Nation champion shares tips
By Andy Crawford
never fails this time of year: You have a weekend tournament or plan to spend your weekend on the water and a cold front blows through.
You know it’ll be tough to catch bass, but sitting home twiddling your thumbs isn’t an option.
But New Iberia’s Caleb Sumrall, who in October won the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship to earn a slot at the 2018 Bassmaster Classic and an invitation to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series next year, said you can still catch fish.
Success simply requires adjusting for the conditions.
Here are his tips to putting bass in the boat right after a cold front jacks up the prospects:
• Thicker is better — Sumrall said fish are predictable when the post-cold front barometric pressure skyrockets.
“Nine times out of 10, those fish are going tuck under heavy mats (of vegetation) or in thick cover,” he said. “I’m going to fish the heaviest cover I can flip.”
It’s a matter of meticulously picking apart the cover until he finds fish willing to swallow his bait.
• Downsize your rig — This isn’t a time for big, bulky jigs, the budding pro bass angler said.
“I’ll use a smaller profile bait, like that Missile Baby D Bomb,” Sumrall said.
He matches the smaller lure with a more petite weight, although the thick cover is the deciding factor on just how light he can go.
“I put that bait under the lightest weight I can use to get under the mat or into the cover,” he said. “I generally go with ¾ to 1 ½ ounces.”
He sticks with 65-pound braid because of the gnarly conditions in which he is fishing.
• Slow down and pay attention — Fish aren’t likely to be aggressive when high barometric pressure and colder temperatures move into an area. So don’t expect fish to chase your bait.
“The fish will definitely be a little more lethargic,” Sumrall said. “A lot of times you’ll have to kind of hit them on the head.”
And the bite will be very, very subtle — that means it’s pretty easy to miss fish.
“A lot of times when they do eat your bait, they’re not going to knock the snot out of it,” he said. “You’ll think you’re hung up on grass. It’ll feel mushy or weird.”
He said the key is to be patient when you suspect a bass is at the end of your line.
“I just sit there and wait for the fish to move,” Sumrall said. “They’ll typically hold onto the bait, so you can just wait until you feel it shake its head.”
• Go deep(er) — Shallow water cools down quickly, so Sumrall said he focuses on those bayous and canals that have some depth.
“Stay on the deeper banks and canals,” he said. “I’m still going to fish points, bends, curves — any irregularities in the banks.”
• Follow the bait — While fish won’t be out in the big, main bayous, they don’t run and hide in the dead-ends, either.
“The fish aren’t going to travel far,” Sumrall said. “They move out of the current, but they’re not going all the way back into the dead-ends.”
They’re going to be following the bait, so anywhere you see some shad flickering will be likely haunts.
“Egrets and blue herons are good indicators of where to fish,” he added.
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