Largemouth bass will bite all winter long, but they tend to sit near bottom along ledges and edges in deep water most of the day. And thanks to their lethargic behavior in the chilly water, they aren’t very interested in chasing after fast-moving baits. In this situation a small bucktail can be your ticket to success. While many anglers think of bucktails as saltwater lures, they work great in this situation, too. Here’s the skinny on bucktailing for winter bass:

angler with a big bass caught on a bucktail lure
Mollie tied into this beautiful bass while fishing with a bucktail.
  • Choose a bucktail of the minimum weight that will allow you to feel for bottom in the depths the bass are sitting.
  • Add a trailer that gives some action with a very slow retrieve. Real or imitation pork rind, long skinny Mister Twisters, and live minnow are all good choices.
  • Position yourself so you can retrieve the bucktail parallel to the drop-off, or from shallower to deeper water. (Try to work the bottom from deep to shallow and in many cases, you’ll encounter a lot of snags).
  • Cast out and allow the lure to hit bottom. Then point the rod tip directly at it and reel up all slack line.
  • Swing your rod tip up pivoting at the wrist (not sweeping with your entire arm) until it’s at about 11 o’clock.
  • Slowly drop the rod tip back down until you feel the bucktail tap bottom.
  • Take in line while continuing to drop the rod tip until it’s pointing at the lure again.
  • Repeat the process until the bucktail has left the target zone, or you feel a bite. When you do feel a bite, set the hook immediately.