During late December, with the cold winter weather settling in, most people are spending their time being perched up in a tree with a gun or bow in their hand targeting a big buck. Not me. I’ve got a rod and reel in my hand targeting big pre-spawn largemouth bass that are looking for an easy meal.
With falling water temps this time of year, the fish tend to be a bit more finicky and more lethargic than usual. This causes them to have a much smaller strike zone, so accuracy and bait presentation are key. They’re looking for a big, easy target that they don’t have to work very hard for, and during the cold pre-spawn months can usually be found in a little deeper water on ledges, channel swings, and deeper flats close to main spawning areas. And that’s exactly where I found these fish.
On Christmas Day I could see my breath and there was frost all over the front deck of the boat. It was a good bit colder than it had been the past few days in Rapides Parish, so I knew I needed to slow down my bait presentation a good bit. But I didn’t want to sacrifice size in doing so.
I picked up my 6th Sense Fishing Provoke 106X jerk bait in Ghost Threadfin Shad color. This bait is perfect for these conditions because of the extremely realistic color schemes they have and it’s a suspending jerkbait, so you can fish it as slow as you need to and pausing it right in front of them to entice a strike. I head to a channel swing right next to a flat that has produced quality fish for me during the spawn before. With the conditions and time of the year, it just made sense. I made several casts fanning across the area really picking it apart and working my jerkbait extremely slow with very subtle twitches of my rod tip and pauses in between as long as 9-10 seconds long.
A nice Christmas present
After catching a few dinks I made a long cast and started my sequence of twitching and pausing. After a long pause I felt a bite right as I started working the jerkbait again and I set the hook. The fish took off directly towards me so now I’m playing a game of catch up before the fish gets too much slack in my line and I lose the fish. I’m still clueless of how big this fish is because I haven’t felt it pull yet. I finally catch up to her and my reel immediately starts screaming as she’s pulling drag. I knew then I had a big fish on so I didn’t try to horse her in and just let her tire out. She finally came to the surface to give me my first view of her. As she slow rolled at the surface before making one more final plunge I remember just being shocked at how long she was. I finally netted her, got her in the boat, and put a measuring tape and scale on her. She measured 26 inches long and weighed in at 9.12 pounds.
A final sweet surprise
A few days later on New Years Eve I went to the same lake, same channel swing, and picked up the same 6th Sense Fishing Provoke 106X jerkbait in Ghost Threadfin Shad color, and caught another stud. This one measured 23 inches long and weighed in at 7.42 pounds.
The year 2020 was interesting to say the least, but the good Lord blessed me with catching some really good fish to end it and I’m hoping for many more in 2021.
– Jordan Tull, Deville, La.
Pro Staff for 6th Sense Fishing