UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Running Ditches for Winter Bass

Running Ditches for Winter Bass
David Williams

It’s not often in the South you can have an entire lake basically to yourself and catch tons of fish, but according to FLW Pro Circuit vet David Williams, that’s exactly what can happen around the Carolinas this time of year for those willing to put the gun or bow down and pick up a rod instead.

While Williams admits it can be tough for him to stay out of the woods in search of deer, the fact of the matter is that he knows some of the best fishing opportunities he’ll have all year happens between November and February, and it’s a relatively simple program to run – which is more than enough to lure him out to the lake.

 

Eliminating water

Fishing in the winter can be a little tough, especially if you haven’t been on the lake much lately to keep tabs on where the bass set up shop for the winter. Williams, however, has a simple rule of thumb to point you in the right direction.

“Around here on a lot of the lakes, the fish will actually get pretty far back in the creeks, like the last third of creek,” says Williams. “If you have a couple cold days in a row, the fish drop off into the ditch. Then, if we get some of those 65-degree days and it warms up the red clay bank, the fish come out of ditch and move onto bank. You get a little bit of heat on that stuff and they’ll move to it pretty quick.”

Knowing where to look on a map is a good start, but now is when your eyes and electronics really factor into finding fish.

“I like to idle through an area and see who’s home,” he explains. “If you find the bait, the fish aren’t far away. Usually, you’ll see clouds of bait sitting up pretty high with some fish around them. Most of time the stripers and hybrids stay in the bait more, and it seems like the spots and largemouths stay down below them.

“This time of year, the birds will give them away a lot, too. “You can ride around until you see birds. They won’t lie to you. The birds usually feed early or late, so if you see them diving, you know they’re going to be around the bait.”

What makes this program even more appealing, according to Williams, is that once you locate where the fish are holding in a given pocket, you can usually run the pattern across the rest of the lake. So, if the fish are holding on a flat next to a ditch or creek channel, you can look at your map and find similar areas that will likely be productive.

“There can be a lot of unproductive water this time of year, but once you find them, there are a lot of them there.”

 

David Williams

Keep your baits simple

There are a lot of times in bass fishing when overcomplicating a lure choice isn’t hard to do. This isn’t one of those times.

“Typically, if it’s cold, I pretty much stick to an A-rig or a jerkbait,” Williams says. “The fish will gang up pretty good in the ditches, and you can sit there and catch them every cast with an A-rig. But, if they’re suspended more, that’s when I go for a jerkbait.”

For his umbrella rig, Williams runs Zoom Z Swim swimbaits (shad colors) on 1/8-ounce heads. He’s not fishing terribly deep – generally 20 feet or less – so there isn’t a need for super heavy heads. On the jerkbait side, his go-to is the Duo Realis 100SP or 110SP (also shad colors) because they aren’t huge jerkbaits, so they match the size of the baitfish pretty well.

For those warmer winter days, Williams knows to reach for a crankbait to cover the bank in the same areas he would fish when it’s cold. There are several crankbaits that fit the bill, like a Rapala Shad Rap or Strike King 1.5, but William’s favorites are either a Duo Realis M62 5A or M65 8A, depending on the depth. He’s a big fan of craw patterns for his winter cranking.

 

David Williams

Give it a try

There are a lot of excuses to not go fishing this time of year. Though, if you like catching bass and avoiding the crowds, you should definitely consider keeping the boat hooked up to your truck instead of the 4-wheeler.

“I’ve had some of my best days ever on the water this time of year,” Williams adds. “I’ve had days where I was sitting there catching 13-, 14-inchers every cast and then, when they come up schooling, I’d catch 4-, 5- and 6-pounders. It might not be like that every time, but you can catch a bunch of fish right now. Plus, there’s less pressure, so you may be out there and not see anybody. It’s nice to be out and have the lake to yourself.”

Tags: lake-hartwell  -lake-murray  -lake-lanier-pro-tips-weekly  kyle-wood  article 

ICAST Cup Winners Announced

ICAST Cup Winners Announced

The ICAST Cup presented by FLW, a popular part of the ICAST tradeshow for the last five years, kicked off ICAST Online as a fish, photograph and release tournament Saturday and Sunday with 50 anglers across the country fishing their local waters to raise money for Keep America Fishing. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – July 11-12

BFL Winning Patterns – July 11-12

The weekend of July 11 featured seven Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across six different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 5

FLW Classics – Week 5

Even though tournament action is back in full swing, we decided to keep dipping into the archives for some tournament highlights from yesteryear. Below is a batch of classic FLW TV shows from 2008 to 2010, with more on the way.  READ MORE »

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

As part of the American Sportfishing Association’s first-ever ICAST Online fishing tackle tradeshow later this month, FLW is partnering with Keep America Fishing to host a special virtual ICAST Cup fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

On June 27, 16-year-old Noah Crogan’s big wish came to fruition at the Apple Island Marina on Lake Champlain when he became the owner of a brand-new Tracker aluminum bass boat. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Vermont, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and local anglers – including Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series angler Cole Harris – Crogan was surprised at the marina with the boat, along with plenty of rods and tackle to get him on the water. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

Wrapping up competition for the month of June, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine saw four divisions compete this past weekend, which included a pair of double-headers. Due to the heat and a desire for the best fish care possible, one of the tournaments took place with a three-bass limit instead of the usual five-bass limit. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” will debut on the Outdoor Channel, Friday, July 3 (7 to 9 p.m. EDT). READ MORE »

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Second-year Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jon Canada enters the first of three Super Tournaments down the stretch run of the season ranked third in Angler of the Year points. After a 10th-place finish at Sam Rayburn to start the season, he tacked on a 20th at the Harris Chain and 21st at Martin, and he’s looking to keep that consistency rolling on Chickamauga this week. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Chickamauga

On the schedule this week is 24 hours of streaming on-the-water tournament action with hosts Travis Moran, Todd Hollowell and Marty Stone, who joins the crew for the first time ever. Daily weigh-ins will also stream live from Dayton, Tenn. READ MORE »

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Dylan Hays has been fairly consistent throughout his four years as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and he’s currently on pace to have his best season to date. He made the last two top-30 cuts and finished 31st at Rayburn to start the year, and because of his consistency, the Arkansas pro currently finds himself fifth in the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Birge Back on Track After Boat Fire

Birge Back on Track After Boat Fire

Major League Fishing pro Zack Birge is back on the water for day two of practice for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga after scrambling overnight to deal with a boat fire. READ MORE »

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd is a rookie by definition only. Despite living in Ohio until joining the Bethel University fishing team, it hasn’t taken long for the young phenom to make his mark on the Tennessee River, from Kentucky Lake to Guntersville, Pickwick to Chickamauga. Floyd was gracious enough to allow me to ride along with him for the first day of practice on Chickamauga for a firsthand look at how he’s preparing to get the job done. READ MORE »

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

With fishing tournaments back in full swing and the summer bite starting to heat up, now’s a good time to pick up a copy of Bass Fishing magazine for tips, tricks, gear reviews and all the bass fishing content our readers have come to expect from within its pages. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 13-14

BFL Winning Patterns – June 13-14

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine season is in full swing again with six more divisions holding competition the weekend of June 13, including three double-headers. READ MORE »

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

From the moment registration opened for the second year of FLW Zimbabwe competition, it was obvious that FLW was here to stay. With Zimbabweans Roger Cousens and Denis Todd winning the International Division titles at the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in November 2019, and Roger having been awarded a pro berth to compete on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit in the USA in 2021, every aspiring angler was out to be the next in line. READ MORE »