What is not to like about cold winter months! The chilly temperature, the cold wind, ice every where, the air smelling like freshly baked cookies and cakes, lots of holiday cheer and so on. But ask a fisherman and he will give you more reasons of why he does not like the cold wintry months. This is the only time of the year when he cannot go fishing and that is what makes him unhappy. He packs his tackles and stores them away only to be taken out again as soon as the ice starts to melt away. But even then, ardent anglers look forward to some ice fishing, which has its own charm.
May be the water has not frozen yet and you want to fish in the cold water, there are certain ways to do so. You know that fish are cold blooded. They tend to slow down as the water temperature drops and their bodies get cooler. The fish naturally don't feed much, also when they feed, they don't move far or fast for food. Instead they semi- bury themselves in a muddy bottom for some warmth and insulation from the mud. You will thus need a slower bait presentation to make fishing effective. Slow crank bait or a jig head artificial lures are found to be effective. But be patient.
A good trick to fish in cold is to look for fish in deeper water. Fish have more brains than we give them credit for. They migrate to slightly warmer water like in creeks, channel cuts etc. What do we do when it is cold? We go indoors to get warmer and avoid the cold. The fish does the same thing- only in water. If you are planning to fish in the cold water, you have to be very patient. It could take hours before you actually hook a fish or two- so be prepared.
Another useful tip is to look for shallow flats. Shallow water will warm up in sun lit days, the bait fish will swim up to the warmer waters with the predator fish right behind them! At high tides aim for mud flats and grass flats. If you wait till 2 or 3 in the afternoon and allow the sun to warm up the shallower water, and the fish to move onto these flats, you are creating a good fishing condition. Now that the water is comparatively warm, your lure selection will also vary. Matching what the fish are feeding is a good idea. Shrimp, crabs and small bait fish are your trump cards. You can consult local fishing guides for more detailed info.
Biologists tell us that the fish ‘feed up' ahead of a cold front. The water is stirred and the bait becomes harder to locate and catch due to the winds and storms. So, the fish become a little active and feed ahead of the cold front as they know they won't be feeding until the front is over. This is your cue to go fishing ahead of the cold front and make the most of it. Therefore, it is a smart move to watch the weather and plan a fishing trip accordingly.
Go out fishing when the weather has warmed up a bit and the sun is right and shinning, try and follow these above tips to catch some fish in the cold water. Then, even you would have a reason to like cold wintry months!
Allan Simons is a experienced angler from the Down Under. He is also an accomplished authour of several outdoor articles.