However as each year passed and I get a little older I find I can sit for longer periods of time so maybe I should give dead sticking for bass a shot and see how long I can last, just sitting and waiting.
In the early spring and late fall when the water temperature is 50F/10C or lower the bass are usually in deep water, just waiting for the temperature to rise enough for them to get back to living and reproducing.
How Does Dead Sticking Work?
Largemouth and smallmouth bass tend to shut down when they find themselves in a cold front or when water temperatures drop below 50F/10C and usually won’t chase a bait, unless it’s right on their nose. The colder the water gets the slower your presentation gets until your presentation has to stop and just sit there.
If you are patient you can offer a bait, although it has to be close to them, and just wait for them to do something. Often they can only go for so long before doing something with the bait. If you can out wait the bass you win.
When bass are pre-spawn they are very territorial and will often attack your bait just to get it out of their territory. So remember to be quick to release these bass and try to put them back close to their nest.
Casey and I went muskie fishing November 12th which is the latest I have even been out fishing for anything other than Atlantic salmon. It was my first time muskie fishing as well as the first time I’ve seen the water so void of fish.
The water temperature was sitting at 45F/7C and we had to get into more than 20 feet of water before we saw any fish marking on the depth finder.
What Does One Need For Dead Sticking
Between your hands and that smallies mouth there are ‘four plus one’ things one needs to catch them, especially while they are suspended deep or guarding their nest and not really feeding. Those things are your fishing rod, reel, fishing line, bait/lure and plenty of patience.
1. The Rod to Use: For dead sticking you want a rod with a stiff backbone for setting the hook. It’s good to have a medium to heavy action rod about 7 or 7 1/2 foot long for this.
2. The Reel: A sturdy baitcasting reel with lots of fishing line as there can be some big fish down there and they can run a long ways, in a flash.
3. The Fishing Line: When fishing suspended or pre-spawn bass you will need to set the hook hard and you don’t want your line snapping on a fish of a lifetime. Plus these bass really know how to take your line through an obstacle course so be prepared with heavy line.
4. The Bait: Here you have a plethora of choices so you’re not limited to just a few baits that will work. You want a bait that will sit there and look real. Maybe a bait that appears as a hurting fish.
5. Patience. Dead sticking is a waiting game so patience is required. Lots of patience but can be so worth it.
The Waiting Game
Patience isn’t one of my strong points but for this game it’s about who blinks first so it’s important to give the bass every opportunity to strike. The closer you can get your bait to the fishes face the better and then wait until their instinct eventually takes over.
For late season suspending fish this could take a while however with pre-spawn bass it might not take as long, especially if your bait is close to their nest. They will see it, not as food, but more as something invading their territory so they may just smack it but they could also chomp on it to kill it.
Once the bass strikes it’s too late to check your setup so make sure you have your drag set correctly as they can give quite a run.