Shallow water January bass action

While many anglers are still chasing that last buck, or squirrel or rabbit, more than a few are chomping at the bit to get onto the water in search of bass. Smaller lakes, ponds and coves tend to warm up fast and they can provide excellent bass fishing action and scrumptious table fare. Last January, we took a break around New Year’s week to celebrate the warm weather and we had a ball catching bass.

Arriving at a small lake it didn’t take long for us to catch a bass. Nathan Hodgins started out with a Bass Pro soft plastic Stik-O and cast along a point and let the lure sink slowly. As the cigar shaped worm slowly sank like a dying shad, a bass swooped in and crushed the easy pickings. Hodgins reared back on the rod and drove the hook deep into the jaws of the bass. As soon as he did, the bass exploded through the water and wallowed on the surface until Hodgins wore him down and brought him into the net. After a quick picture we released the fish and went back to fishing.

Hodgins continued catching and releasing small bass on the June bug colored soft jerkbait and they just kept hitting it although most were smaller eating sized bass. We did catch a few to eat and kept on fishing and catching.

Staging along the points

It didn’t take me long to get in on the action as well, but I switched to a chrome black back Rattlin’ Rogue. As I cast near the bank and showed my young partner how to work the lure in a jerk-pause, jerk-pause retrieve, a lunker bass smashed the lure just as it approached the bank. I swung the rod up and drove the steel home as well and the enraged bass exploded through the surface and fought wildly as it tail walked all the way to the boat.

After a few pictures, I released the 6-pound bass to grow up some more so that we could feel the thrill again and again. It didn’t take long for me to find the pattern on the hard bodied jerkbait as the bass were staging along the points in the lake. I could cast across the point and work it back to the boat in a jerk-pause routine and the bass would crush it when it popped back to the surface and paused a minute.

Time after time I cast near a point and almost every time it was money in the bank as they just couldn’t resist the herky jerky movement of the jerkbait. I continued catching bass on that rig and Hodgins continued catching them on the slower sink and fall retrieve of the soft jerkbait. There’s always more than one pattern if you can find it, and find it we did on this day.

Give the bass what they want

By the end of the afternoon we had caught and released many bass, including a few lunkers, and kept a mess of small bass for the supper table. If you’re looking for some hot bass action in January then try your hand with the jerkbaits and determine if they want it on a slow fall, or in a herky jerky twitch, twitch retrieve, and you just might load the boat.

One thing to remember is that bass oftentimes school up along the top or on the sides of the points in January and you’re liable to load the boat and catch a few lunkers. But make sure that you keep throwing back along and over the point until they stop biting. If you don’t give them another try, you just might miss the whole school or fish by them too fast.

About Michael O. Giles 396 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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