Catch more river bass in cold weather with these tips

Focus on sandbars, and you'll catch plenty of river bass in cold weather.

Focusing on sandbars are the key to winter river bass

This month, bass anglers can find plenty of fish biting in rivers, and knowing a few tips can help them catch their share. It’s generally true that the bite isn’t as aggressive this month as in other times of the year, but anglers like John Long of Columbia, S.C., know how to get their share of bites from river bass in the cold.

“When you find sandbars in the river, especially if they are along the banks as opposed to in the middle of the river, the areas just above and just below those sandbars will have the least amount of current. That allows the water there to warm up more than the surrounding water. Bass are looking for that warmth this month,” said Long.

Long keys on those areas with a number of different lures. Jigs are good, he said, and Texas-rigged soft plastics also do the trick.

“You can’t go wrong making a cast every now and then along the edges of the sandbar, because these fish will move back and forth between the areas above and below the sandbars, but they are spending most of their time above and below, and seem more willing to eat when they are in those areas,” he said.

The one time Long abandons this line of thinking is when a warm front pushes the mercury up into the 60s or higher.

“It happens almost every year across the Carolinas that we have a few days where the weather is unseasonably warm. When that happens, these fish will resort to feeding more like its spring or fall, and you can catch them in many other areas of the river,” he said.

But Long would rather it stay cold all month.

“I think it’s easier to find them this time of year. Besides the sandbars, areas behind downed trees or any place there is a lack of current is where you’ll find the bass when it’s cold. Moving water means cooler water. So they stack up in slack- water areas, and if an easy meal comes along, they aren’t going to just bite it, they are going to fight each other to bite it first,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2783 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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