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Champion Angler Reveals Cold-Water Bass Secrets

Patience is the key when stalking lethargic spring bass. “Slower presentation in colder water is very important,” said Gail Criswell, a recent Bass’n Gal tournament winner. “They don’t want to chase after anything.”

She said the technique that won her the tournament will work for anglers who are after cold-water bass. First, look for warmer water. Often it’s along a lake’s north shore, which tends to get more sunshine.

“What I normally look for is a flat area that is close to deep water, with a drop or channel to it for a migration point,” she said. “I normally look for grass (any type of water weeds) in lakes with grass. In lakes that don’t have grass, I’ll look for drops, ledges, humps, some type of structure.”

Fishing those areas, she brought in a two-day limit of 10 bass that weighed 40.38 pounds and won her $22,910. Criswell uses a combination of lures that have two things in common - they will run slow and they will run deep.

“Early in the morning I will start with a deep-running crankbait,” she said. “Later in the day as the water warms up, I’ll go to shallower running bait, a Rat-L-Trap, something that runs a little faster, a little shallower.”

Fish the crankbait slowly. “Let it run into something, then let it rise,” she said.

“I make several casts even to the same spot, if it looks fishy. Hit it hard,” Criswell said. “If it has the type of structure on there I think holds bass, I’ll stay in the area quite some time and try different things.”