How Understanding Weather Helps You Catch More Bass with George Cochran
Day 1: How to Catch Bass During Cold Fronts and Rising and Falling Water with Pro Fisherman George Cochran
Editor’s Note: With the 2014 Bassmaster Classic taking place at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, February 21 – 23, Night Hawk talked with George Cochran, a past Bassmaster Classic winner about ways to always catch bass. Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, passed a milestone in his fishing career, earning over $2 million in tournament winnings. According to Cochran, “I believe my understanding of weather and its effect on bass has helped my fishing career. Any bass angler who wants to regularly catch more bass must know what various types of weather do to the bass he’s trying to take.” To help us get a better understanding of the importance of weather in successful bassing and how you can change your fishing patterns to react to the weather like the bass do, I’ve asked Cochran to pick weather situations, tell us what happens to the bass under each weather condition and explain how his fishing changes with the weather.
“Even when a major cold front hits an area, several days may be required for the water temperature to change very much,” Cochran explains. “The water that’s affected most drastically by a severe cold front is the shallow water. If bass are in shallow water when a cold front hits, they may stop feeding and seem to be almost disoriented for a day or two. These bass probably will be holding very tight to cover in shallow water. To make these fish bite, the angler may have to present the lure again and again to the bass to make the bass mad enough to cause them to bite. However, if the bass are in deep water, they won’t be affected nearly as much by a cold front. But they won’t be as aggressive as they were before the weather changed so drastically. Therefore, the angler should fish slow-moving baits like a pig and jig, a plastic worm or a deep-diving, slow-moving crankbait that can be reeled slowly near the bottom. Something else that happens when a cold front hits is that the baitfish the bass feed on often are stunned or killed by the cold if they’re close to the surface. As these baitfish die-off, they begin to flutter to the bottom. I’ll either fish a spinner bait close to the bottom, reeling it very slowly or hop a spinner bait off the bottom and let it fall back to the bottom like a dying shad.”
Rising and Falling Water:
“Bass follow the water,” Cochran reports. “If you know whether the water’s rising, falling or stable on a lake, then this information can tell you what the bass will be doing on that lake. If the water’s rising, the bass will follow the water and be feeding shallow. If the bass are in a creek, and the water starts rising, they generally will move as far back in that creek as they can. If the weather’s cloudy and rainy, bass will swim up shallow in rising water and feed. Minnow-type baits and spinner baits fished just under the surface and a pig and jig cast onto the bank and reeled off the shore often will produce bass when there’s rising water conditions. Usually on rising water, the bass is looking to the shoreline for its food. If the bass are in very-shallow water, the bass may be spooked when the lure hits the water surface. Instead I cast a plastic worm or a pig and jig directly to the bank, let it land on the bank and then drag it into the water. If the water’s rising on a clear, bright day, the bass still will be in that shallow water but will be holding tight to cover on a bush, a stump or a log. More than likely you’ll have to flip a pig and jig or a plastic worm into that thick cover to get the bass to strike.”
As Cochran continues, “When the water’s falling, the bass will follow the water away from the shoreline to the outside of bushes or to the edges of creek channels. As the water begins to fall, the bass become very skittish. By fishing the outside of bushes with quiet lures like minnow-type baits, a swimming worm or a spinner bait just under the surface, you should be able to get some bass action. If the bass are on the creek channels, they’ll be less aggressive. Slow baits like the plastic worm or the pig and jig will be your best bet for catching these bass.”
To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics” go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.