Five winter bass-fishing lures you need to try

February can be a tricky month to fish bass, but Strike King bass pro James Niggemeyer doesn’t have the option to sit home and wait for more-stable conditions. So he has found lures produced by his sponsor that will produce bites from fish in late-winter and prespawn patterns.

Here are his top Strike King choices:

• Red Eye Shad ­— Niggemeyer’s choice for this lipless crankbait is the company’s chilli craw or gold sexy colors.

“The reason this is my No. 1 choice is because it’s such a great tool, with its tight-action vibration and rattling sound, for drawing strikes from fish that are in cooler water,” said the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Texas. “It’s versatile and you can cover a lot of water, and it works from slow to fast retrieves — and even a pumping retrieve, which activates its built-in shimmy action when falling on a slack line.”

• Hack Attack Jig — His choices range from 3/8- to 1/2-ounce, with green pumpkin model is paired with a matching Perfect Plastics Chunk used on bright days. He turns to black/blue on overcast days or in stained water.

“The jig is a tough lure to beat when fish aren’t willing to chase a lure or are tight to cover on bright, sunny days,” Niggemeyer said. “Fished slow on the bottom and in contact with any cover in the water, the jig produces when others won’t, and on average (bass) will be larger.”

• Ocho stick baits — This lure produces whether fished Texas-rigged or wacky style.

“This lure’s salt content and high-quality plastic give it an enticing, shimmy action on the fall,” Niggemeyer said. “Cast it to any cover options you have (such as rocks, wood, grass, etc.) and let it sink on a slack line to the bottom. After a pause, I will lift and let it drop again, as most bites come on the fall when its tail shimmies back to the bottom.

“Remember to let it sit there motionless or with subtle twitches for extended periods when bites are hard to come by.”

• KVD jerkbait — A warming trend will pull fish up in the water column, and that’s when the KVD jerkbait can really pay big dividends in stained to clear water conditions.

“The Strike King KVD jerkbait in a gold sexy shad or chartruese shad pattern are good choices, as fish will be picking off shad that also hover near the warmer surface temperatures,” Niggemeyer said. “I like to vary the retrieve and pause the lure between jerks for various lengths of time until I find out what works best.”

• KVD 1.5/2.5 square-billed crankbaits — When you find stained water on shallower flats with drains or in ditches and creeks, you can be sure bass will be present to take advantage of warmer water conditions. And that’s where square-billed cranks shine.

“A square-bill worked around these fish relating to cover is extremely productive,” Niggemeyer said. “Red crawfish, shad and chartreuse colors are perfect for catching these fish, and using these lures is one of my favorite ways to catch them in February.”

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Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.