Winter Rocks

Winter rocks
by Greg Bohannan

I enjoy some of my best fishing around Christmas. When I think about fishing this time of the year, I think about rocks.

In cold water the bass in the highland lakes like Bull Shoals and Table Rock hang around boulders that have 5 to 20 feet of water over them. It might be because the water is typically clear and the rock absorbs and holds the sun's warmth a little bit more than other types of structure. That in turn kick-starts the food chain as crawfish and minnows are drawn to the rock.

Whatever the reason, the bass are there, and I like to throw three types of lures: a suspending jerkbait, a crankbait or a jig. One of these might produce the most fish on any given day, but you'll catch fish on all three of them. A Wiggle Wart is my go-to crankbait. I fish it slowly on 8- to 10-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line with a 7-foot, medium-action Razr Rod cranking model. If the water is really cold and the fish seem to be a bit sluggish, I go to a 3/8-ounce BassX spider jig in green-pumpkin with a Berkley Chigger Craw of the same color. The best boulders will come off a bluff or be along a ledge that might stair-step into deeper water. Clear water is a key, and so is sunny weather.

-- Ranger pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark.