Staying Warm and Alive in the Frigid Dead of Winter

With the weather forecast finally showing signs of slight compassion, I was extremely eager to get out and take advantage of the rare mid thirty temps by exercising some dormant smallies. Luckily for me, I know just the place.

Yesterday was more of a challenge to get bit and the size wasn’t all fantastic either though the methods employed to catch them made it all worth the trip. I managed to catch around twenty-five smallies and for the majority of them I leaned on soft plastics to produce, though all my big bites came on a Real Prey Alewife Swimbait. The six and a half inch bait put in work on some real nice fish and the viciousness of the bite was mind numbing, numbing because no matter what, I couldn’t put the bait down. The more methodical the cast and retrieve the better the results. I’m telling you, I’m really starting to break the possibilities of these large swimbaits wide open here in Minnesota. Fair warning…..I’m learning.


Dave Cindrich, who originally introduced me to Real Prey’s line of swimbaits also used the exact same bait and had a fantastic time himself. Heck, not only did he introduce me to this swimbait, he introduced me to all swimbaits. I really got to give Dave the credit, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be the believer I am today, which also means when he calls me to tip me off on a bait that is secretly stacking giant stringers, I shut up and listen.


This day we were throwing matching Real Prey Swimbaits but I had the perch and he was using some sort of shad color. Needless to say they both produced and though the day was slow and the big ones were few and far between, it speaks volumes when one bait caught all the big ones that day, the same fish that passed on the small plastics. See the key to these baits is that they are large but they’re just large enough to perfectly imitate the largest forage. As a man, do you want a 6 oz. petite steak or a 14 oz. Porterhouse? Enough said.


Besides the baits perfect “match the hatch” profile, it’s balance is my favorite feature. I can slow roll it or speed it up at any depth and the bait doesn’t roll on itself at all. I also look at the cost vs. durability factor, I mean for a 30 year old aspiring professional bass fisherman, money can not be spent foolishly. These baits are so strong that I have yet to loose one and they all still look like the day I bought them with the tiny exception for one or two battle scars, scars that I’m honored to tell the story of. These baits are so well put together that I plan to be throwing them on my upcoming trip to California’s, Diamond Valley Lake. Can you just imagine a chunky 13 pounder with a Real Prey choked in her throat? I’m literally loosing sleep.

Switching gears to today and the results were completely different as to were the patterns for success. They were snapping today man and a tube as well as a dropshot is what me and my buddy Chris Campbell were using first thing in the morning. The smallies were far more predictable and I was able to pattern them early by attacking the river break lines. Really it was simple, the bass were active today and were eager to jump on whatever was on the move. I just worked small soft plastics through those natural eddy areas were the smallmouth were stacked up in schools hoarding whatever came down river.


Finally after the bite slowed down a bit, I took some early morning advice from my buddy Andy Young who was fishing in a different area and was catching good ones on a crankbait. I followed suite and it was like I was never there earlier whacking on them. They jumped on it. Good ones too. In the end, I ended with somewhere around 50 fish and my buddy Chris finished somewhere around 30. The size was nice to with most lying right around the 3 pound mark and a couple real nice ones sitting in the 4 pound range.


All in all it was a great couple days, just the thing to temporarily relieve my premature spring fever. Hopefully the weather cooperates a bit better in February and provides for a few more highly anticipated trips. Stay tuned..

Welcome to JoshDouglasFishing.com! A site dedicated to my avid fishing career. Join me as I share my honest approach to chasing a childhood dream full of obstacles, failures and successes, while traveling across the nation competing and advancing to the sports highest levels. I’ll share all that I learn from new tips and techniques as well as the hottest tackle and equipment. Join me as I document the everyday rigors of tournament bass fishing from the business as a whole, to the practice and all the way to the weigh-in stage!

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