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Shallow Cranking for Cold Water Bass

When the water temperature starts dipping down to the coldest of the year, many anglers put away their rods and think about spring. The ones that do get out on the water typically focus on fishing slow and deep, assuming it is their best bet to catch those chilly bass. However, not only can you catch bass in under 10 feet in cold water, but it might just be the best bite on the lake!

The November Lucky Tackle Box has a fantastic bait for fishing shallow in the coldest water of the year. The Bagley Pro Sunny B is an exclusive new product that is not available for sale until January 2018 and it is the perfect crankbait for cold conditions.

Why Should You Fish Shallow?
Everyone knows that bass go deep in the cold, where drop shots, small worms, jigs and other finesse techniques are primary. What a lot of anglers don’t know, however, is that many bass live shallow year round. Particularly in areas like rock walls, points, ledges or riprap.

If you can find darker rock that will hold heat during the warmer parts of the day, that’s even better. Also, think vertical. Bass like to move up and down to feed in the winter, so if they have an easy transition from deeper water to shallow with a bank that is steeper, it will be a bass magnet.

Choosing the Right Crankbait
When you’re focusing your efforts on shallow water in the summertime, a traditional wider wobble squarebill or medium diving bait can do the trick. In the winter, when the metabolism of the bass is low and feeding is more intermittent, you need a crankbait with a different type of action. The Bagley Sunny B has that action. It was deliberately designed with a tighter movement and tremendous buoyancy that only a balsa bait (Bagley’s signature) can have.

The Sunny B also runs in the perfect depth zone, 5-7 feet which allows you to work the bank in those heat holding, shallow areas mentioned above. In addition, because it’s made out of balsa, it deflects really well off of structure and will go through heavy cover with ease. Since bass tend to stay much tighter to cover in the cold, getting right in the middle of the thickest stuff is important to getting that reaction strike.

Fish Fast, but Slow
Your winter fishing doesn’t have to be spent scouring the deepest depths of the lake, but even when you’re fishing faster in the shallow water, think slow. Get yourself a lower gear ratio reel (something like a 5:1.1) to maximize that slow retrieve. You can even spool up with less line to get the ratio down even more.

Creeping that bait along will allow your crank to be in the strike zone longer and make your chances of getting bit even that much better.


You don’t have to labor away fishing ultra-deep this year. Think shallow with the Bagley Sunny B and you’ll be having a lot more fun on the water, while other anglers are sitting at home.

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  • This may be true in other parts of the Country but in south Florida you can throw out the fishing book that most of the fisherman know and live by. South Florida is a different animal temps here don’t get very cold and the water temp doses not dip as low as up north I wish that I and others here who fish could count on the hand book of yearly weather changes and temps but here in Florida we have a different book to go by.

    Bill Trout on
  • What fishing line type would you use , rod actions .

    Erik on

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