Understand the change in water temperatures

Regardless of the time of year the bass react differently to falling water temperatures.  I have seen the effects of water temperature changes for many years now and understanding the change is essential. Cold months, like March, with temperatures dropping, are different than the cooling temperatures in the fall. The water temperature taking a quick drop in March really changes the bite to being worse, but cooling temperatures, occurring over a short period of time in the fall, quickly increases activity. Hence, the temperatures dropping from 55 degrees in March to 47 degrees make it tough to get a bite; yet cooling from 82 degrees to 75 degrees in October can really turn the bite on!
To me, this is not only been my experience in the fall and winter but also in the middle of summer. I have seen times when we had 90-degree water and we were catching fish on top water all day long and suddenly a cold front comes through drops the water temperature a few degrees and we are struggling for a bite. It’s like a shock to their system and a perfectly good few days on the water becomes a struggle. Knowing this can happen, and preparing for it, can make your fishing day much better.
The real questions are: what happens? And, what you can do to find active fish? I believe to find them under these conditions you must first understand what’s happening so you can relate to the issue and the result. The real answer is that the fish need to be hand-fed while the water temperature stabilizes, or comes back up. This is the ideal time to go to slow-moving and precise fishing. I like working a jig or a worm, a shaky head, or even a Carolina rig, very slowly, around the edges and drops, very near the areas I was catching fish the day before. This also is a perfect time to go to a suspending bait to let the bait rock and entice a bass while its body is recovering from the shock of the temperature change.  
Dropping water temperature means activity slows, fish slower-moving baits, but this is generally just for a short period of time. Hence, when it stabilizes, it gets stronger again and you can deal with it.

 Captain Mike

Dunham's Sports

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