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It is no secret that the passage of weather fronts can have a tremendous effect on the bass bite, or rather, lack thereof. Hot fishing action can stop on a dime, as an apparent case of lockjaw seems to fall over all the bass on a given body of water. In many cases, circumstances of this nature present anglers with difficult times, and leave many scratching their heads.
However, legendary tournament angler and 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Ott Defoe, takes these challenging conditions in stride, knowing full well he has a plan to combat the difficulties which are presented. The following is Ott Defoe’s breakdown of how he fishes each stage of a passing front, in order to find continued success.
Day 1 (First Day Post-Front)
While many anglers cite significant hardship from the beginning to the end of a front passage, Defoe feels that fishing tends to be as good in the day directly following a front, as it was before the front’s arrival. “A lot of times, if a front passes today, tomorrow will see bright bluebird skies, but be windy. They will bite good on that first day when it is windy,” said Defoe.
“On that very first day after, the fishing can be almost as good as the day before, as long as you have good wind,” Defoe continued. “On that day, if you have wind, a moving bait of any type will typically produce. A crankbait, swimbait, spinnerbait, or jerkbait are all pretty effective.”
Day 2 (Second Day Post-Front)
While Defoe feels that the first day after a cold front pushes through means business as usual, he says that the next day is when tough fishing typically occurs. “That second day after the front is when fishing can really get tough. The fish tend to suspend a lot, and they are just much harder to get to feed. That is the day that you need to find heavy cover or some current,” Defoe said.
As for Defoe himself, he favors areas with flowing current above all other locations when post-front lockjaw sets in. “That second day, finding moving water on the body of water you are fishing is key, whether it be a creek running in, a river drainage, or an area below a dam.”
As far as what Defoe chooses to throw on these tough days of fishing, he still feels that a moving bait that is capable of drawing a reactionary bite is best. “I’m much more likely to try to get a reaction bite going, if at all possible. I would rather burn a crankbait up trying to draw a reaction, than I would drag a Carolina Rig around hoping for a bite. That is just my style of fishing,” said Defoe.
Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough
The next time that you are faced with difficult post-front conditions, take the time to iron out a high-impact game plan, and act accordingly. Much of your efforts going forward will be based upon a working knowledge of the body of water on which you are fishing, as well as an understanding of which lures and presentations you feel most comfortable with.
By dedicating yourself to those areas that feature some form of moving current, and working to coax reactionary strikes from bass that are not actively feeding, you will be well on your way to boating post-front bass, in much the same way as the nation’s most renowned pro-anglers.