Ron Schara: Cold front is no excuse not to go bass fishing

  • Article by: RON SCHARA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 22, 2007 - 9:09 PM

A rapid weather change doesn't mean you can't catch fish, but there might be enough of a slowdown for you to make adjustments.

Minnesota's bass season opens Saturday, just in time for a Memorial Day Weekend cold front.


Bass addicts love cold fronts. They're the ideal excuse:

"Hey buddy, how did you do on the bass opener?"Tough bite, man."You must have been throwing the wrong stuff, dude. I killed them on the same lake last year. You didn't do anything wrong, man. Cold front."Oh. I get it."

Yes, indeed, a severe weather change will impact fish life, although the science behind cold fronts and why fish react as they do remains unsolved. What is a cold front? Generally, a cold front is identified by a change in air temperature followed by a cool wind from the northwest under blue, cloudless skies.

Does a cold front mean you can't catch fish? No, it means that how fish respond to your offerings probably will change, especially 24 to 48 hours after the front passes.

We also know fish vary in how they respond to cold fronts. Examples: A smallmouth bass in a river might seem unfazed by the same cold front that makes lake-dwelling smallmouth pout. A largemouth bass is apt to come down with a much harder case of lockjaw than, say, a walleye. In the meantime, panfish seem to ignore cold fronts, although they might not bite as aggressively.

Because nothing is certain in nature's rulebook, I can think of a few classic cold-front episodes where my walleye action seemed unfazed, although I can't say the same about bass. The largemouth species is a classic cold-front victim.

So, what's a bassin' fan supposed to do if the opener brings a brisk nor'wester and falling temperatures?

Well, you go anyway. There's one angling rule you can always count on: You just never know if they're biting or not.

A few cold-front ploys include: Downsize your hooked offerings, such as pitching a 4-inch worm instead of a 7-incher. Or, tie on smaller crankbaits, slowing the presentation. Check lake shallows visually. If there's not much swimming around, such as bluegills, spend your time in deeper water. Keep casting, keep hoping. Fishing is like a puzzle.

After years of fishing bass tournaments, I've learned that -- cold front or not -- there's always a bass or two that will bite if you solve the puzzle.

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