|Go Lipless for Cold Water|
Cold Water? Lipless Crankbaits!
By Alton Jones
When the water temp drops below 55 degrees, few lures are as effective for catching really big fish as lipless crankbaits. Especially in lakes that have abundant submerged vegetation such as milfoil, hydrilla, or coon tail moss. Here are a few tips that will help you be quite effective with these baits during the winter and early spring.
· Lure selection – in water less than 3 feet deep, or when the grass grows to within 3 feet of the surface, use a Cotton Cordell Super Spot. The Super Spot is actually slightly lighter weight than other lipless crankbaits. That allows me to work the bait more effectively in skinny water. When the depth is 4 feet deep or more, or when the grass is at least 4 feet beneath the surface, I always use the XCalibur Xr50 Rattle Bait. The Xr50 is slightly heavier and is very effective in probing that 4 to 10 foot depth range. The Xr50 also has the most realistic finish in the industry.
· Retrieve – I always start with just a steady retrieve, hoping to gently “tic” the top of the weeds. Basically, if I’m feeling weeds, I speed the retrieve up. If I’m not feeling weeds I slow it down until I do. Another great retrieve is simply chunk it, and wind it in rather fast. This usually best on windy or rainy days. And, finally, my secret weapon is to hop the Rattle Bait through the grass. Let it drop down into the weeds then rip it out and let it fall again. Jig it back all the way to the boat. Most of the strikes will occur on the fall so be ready!
· Color does matter – my number one color is Rayburn Red because it is such a good match for the wintertime crawfish that are abundant in the weed beds during cold weather. But, on sunny, calm days I also use a chrome/blue or gold black. I can almost always catch some good fish on these colors, under almost any conditions.