Quality bass will bite multiple lures during winter
Lake Monticello is South Carolina bass pro Andy Wicker’s go-to lake for big bass in the winter.
“January is a really good time to catch some big fish on Lake Monticello,” said Wicker, from Pomaria, S.C. “There are a couple of different ways I like to target big bass on Monticello in January. My first option is to throw an Alabama rig around points, humps and drops.”
Wicker said he is targeting fish in 15 to 30 feet of water with the Alabama Rig, letting it sink to the bottom and then starting a slow retrieve.
“For my baits on the rig, I will use most any type of 3 1/2-inch to 4 1/2-inch swimbait rigged on an open True South Lures jighead — either 1/8- or ¼-ounce, depending on the depth. And I normally use shad-colored baits in the winter.”
Another option, he said, is to jig a small spoon vertically in 30 to 40 feet of water.
Finding bait is key
“The presence of bait is key with this pattern,” he said. “You will not always see the fish on the depth finder this time of year because they will be hunkered to the bottom, so seeing the bait is crucial.
“Locations are also important. I spend a lot of time idling around until I find an area with bait. I’ll then troll around with the trolling motor until I start catching fish,” he said.
“I like using a Berry’s Flex-It spoon or War Eagle Spoon in ½- and 5/8-ounce weights. You will catch tons of white perch doing this, and that is a good sign that the big largemouth are not far away.”
While weather can be a small factor this time of year, Wicker said water temperature is not a concern because fish are in the middle of their normal winter pattern, so a slight variation in temperature does not change them very much.
“Cloudy, cold days are best with the Alabama rig. For the spoon bite, I like it sunny with a slight breeze. Dead slick conditions are normally the worst.”