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Strategies for Springtime Cold Fronts
By: Chad Morgenthaler

It can be feast or famine when fishing for bass in the springtime.  Just like the majority of anglers, I live for a beautiful spring day when the sun is out and the weather is stable.  Unfortunately more often than not, a dreaded cold front will come in and threaten to spoil a great tournament or fishing trip.  As a touring angler Iíve certainly encountered my fair share of windy cold front conditions.  I canít count the number of times Iíve located a good group of fish in the spring only to have my prize spot destroyed by foul cold weather.  One thing is for certain, the worst bi product of a cold front to overcome is cold muddy water.

In the springtime when the water starts to warm and the fish become active they swim toward shallow water areas and protective coves to warm-up and feed-up for the spawn. This is the most volatile of all situations because the shallow water cools much quicker than the deep water located in the main lake.  When Mother Nature throws a cold front curve ball, the fish respond by becoming lethargic and shutting down.

Normally when a cold front approaches the bite will start to slowdown.  From my experience the second day of a cold front is always the worst, especially when dealing with a Florida strain of bass.   At first, combat the situation by immediately slowing down and scaling down, which is what a lot of anglers do.  Next, if previously catching bass on a moving bait, try to get a reaction bite by switching to a lipless crank bait such as a Berkley Frenzy.  Try working the same area with a little bit more of an erratic action.  A lot of times if the depth is right, Iíll also try throwing jerk baits such as a Lucky Craft 100 Series.  Soft plastic baits can also be productive, like Berkley ís Sinking Minnow or the 6Ē Jerk Shad. 

Jerk baits are very versatile baits during cold front conditions because of the ability to work them in a real erratic twitch, twitch motion.  You can also allow the bait to sit and pause for long periods of time.  This creates the best of both worlds while trying to figure out if the bite is just slow, or if you can still get a reaction bite. 

If the bite comes while the bait is sitting still, try spending quite a bit of time with the bait sitting still.  If the bite comes when trying to rip it free from something, or giving it a swift twitch, then work the jerk bait in a more erratic action.  A lipless crank bait, such as a Berkley Frenzy, ripped off of the bottom or through the grass can also cause a bite to occur.

Quite often during cold front conditions not only does the water temperature start to drop, but high winds will cause productive areas of the lake to become muddy.  In this situation Iíve found that itís just best to change areas.   Keep in mind that areas found in practice that was not productive at the time, might become very productive on the second day of a cold front.  More than likely the fish will migrate quite a distance in a short period of time to find areas that are not muddy. As unfortunate as it is, view this as a great opportunity to use your Lowrance GPS/depth finder unit, such as the LMS-520C, and locate surrounding structure.

In the springtime itís really important to spend practice time scouting wisely and have a back-up plan.  Always be on the lookout for other areas to fish in case a cold front with high winds rolls in and muddies up your prize fishing hole.

A special ďThanksĒ to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Penetrator Weights, Reaction Innovation, Nameoki Village Marine and Solar Bat.

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