Cold weather significantly slows the metabolism of a bass. This means the distance a bass will travel to strike a lure lessens as well, so slow down the rate of retrieval of the lures during the winter. Rather than reel them in at the same speeds as during the summer, go a quarter of that speed.
In colder winter water, bass have a limited choice of food. Smaller fish and aquatic insects will not survive in the colder weather. This leaves the bass with few good choices for food during the winter months. Bass will not work hard to pursue a small meal but will go after larger creatures, so fish with larger baits. Plastic worms as long as 10 and 12 inches will produce bass. Jigs that have a four-inch pork rind trailer attached will also be enticing.
Bass join up in schools when the water temperatures dip below 45 degrees. At this time, concentrate your efforts on where the bottom of a lake drops off drastically. Also focus on timber that is under the water such as brush piles and downed trees. Drop jigs straight down from the boat to the timber below. People fish this type of lure by bringing it up a short distance and then letting it flutter downward, causing it to resemble a dying baitfish. Bass will hit these lures as they head down, so pay close attention to the lure's movement, watching for a bass to hit it before setting the hook.
Bass are susceptible to ice fishing methods when safe ice forms on northern ponds and lakes. Rig tip-ups with 30-pound-test braided line but tie on a 4- to 5-foot length of invisible fluorocarbon to use as a leader. Impale a shiner behind its dorsal fin on a No. 4 hook and set the tip-up at whatever depth is desired. Some set their bait only a foot or two beneath the ice while others will put theirs a foot or two off the bottom. Watch to see how deep the bass hit their shiners and then change all tip-ups to the corresponding depth.