Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season and got to spend some quality time with your families. Hopefully Santa dropped off some new fishing gear under your tree for you to try out too!
In most of the country December and January means winter fishing. Cold water typically means fishing reaction baits or fishing plastics and jigs super slow. While you can get bit doing some of those things at the moment, that’s not the main way I am fishing. Here in Austin, we are fortunate it doesn’t really get that cold. Right now Lake Travis is very much in a late fall type pattern. The water temperatures really aren’t that cold yet, which has a big impact on fish. So what does this mean for the bass fishing right now?
The water temperature on Lake Travis is currently around 64-66 degrees. I’ve seen it as low as 61 degrees recently though. Keep in mind that during this time of year cold fronts, rain, and wind can cause the lake temp to change more than normal. Paying attention to these factors, and especially the water temp helps me decide on where I want to be fishing. During the fall, weather plays a huge role in how I fish and what baits I tie on.
On windy overcast days, especially if the barometer is dropping from weather moving in, I like to get on main lake points and shorelines getting hit by the wind. I look for areas where bass can move to feed on bait that moves into these areas. Often times the choppier and windier the better. An Alabama rig is my go to bait for this type of situation. A jerkbait and a swimbait on an underspin head can also be very productive. Fish baits that are fast moving, throw off a lot of vibration, or have some flash to them. You are getting these fish to react to it.
At times I like to tie on a bone colored spook with a feather on the back treble and fish fast. I like a spook since I can work it quickly yet still pause it at times. Lately the top water bite has not been stellar; admittedly there are better baits. However, sometimes I just want to see the fish blow up on the bait! If you’re like me you don’t mind trading those blow ups for better numbers. Little tip for yall: fish your topwater spooks with 30# braid and a 2 foot leader of 15-17 pound monofilament. The braid casts far and is extremely responsive when you twitch the rods tip, and the leader prevents the braid from tangling up on the hooks mid cast. Mono floats, hence why I recommend it. Do not use fluorocarbon for topwater, it will ruin the action of the bait.
On those calm days I tend to slow down a bit, however a crankbait can still be very productive. I recommend rigging up a ½ ounce jig in a brown or green pumpkin color and working banks with large rock. Make long casts to get away from your boat and target 10-25 feet of water. Fish the bait slow and really try to get a feel for the bottom. Bites will be subtle but typically they’ll feel like one light thump. Hook sets are free! Don’t be afraid to swing away. A Texas rigged worm such as a rattle snake or senko can also be a good option when the conditions call for a slower presentation.
When I have clients in the boat who can cast well, I love to cover water with a medium diving crankbait. A Rapala DT-10 or a Storm Wiggle wart are two good options. Have a crawfish pattern and a shad pattern ready to go. I typically start with a brown craw color this time of year, but if I’m not getting bit on it I will quickly switch to a shad pattern.
This time of year can be very productive! Don’t let some cooler weather stop you from getting out there. Some of those days with less than ideal forecasts can be some of the best fishing! Winter is my slower season and I have more open dates. I am all booked up this week, but next is pretty open! If you’ve been looking for a Lake Travis fishing guide and wanting to get out of the house and catch some fish, visit my website and book a trip!