Black Bass Fishing…..Location Location Location
The chilly days of winter are still here; however, all hope is not lost when it comes to offshore fishing. There are fish out there and they’re biting, especially if you know where to go, what to fish for, and how. Otherwise, you’re in for a long, lonely, chilly day as well as a frustrating ride if you don’t have your fishing ducks in a row. First in that row should be, “Pick your days.” Make sure the conditions are safe. Winter is not the time to find a sudden change in weather and sea conditions.
When it comes to actual fishing, know what you’re going for. Right now, the Black Bass are biting well off the North Carolina coast in certain areas. Fun to catch and great to eat. Planning is going to be key to your level of success. But that’s no different than fishing any type of offshore fishing.
First, the day before your trip, look at the weather forecast. Next, you’ll want to choose a few locations that have ledges and drop-offs, starting in the 8 to 20-mile range. Tune in your bottom finder to look for small ledges of 1-4 feet then zoom in to look for bait activity. As for me, I look for what appears to be a cloud. That cloud is where you want to aim for because it’s the bait that the Black Bass will be feeding on. Many times, I can also spot the Black Bass on my bottom finder as well. On my last trip, when I located the spot I had chosen the day before on my chart, I quickly found a 20′ cloud, the bait ball I was looking for. I knew then the Black Bass were there.
For rigging, I used rubber minnows rigged as a vertical jig. This decision was confirmed as a good choice when we started catching fish. Once we had the Black Bass on deck, they were spitting out bait from 5-7 inches that closely matched our bait choice. As an alternative, I also use the Blue Water Candy “Roscoe Jig” 3-4 inches with a 4–6-ounce weight. The strong current actually allows your rig to move and take it away from the main leader. If you want to use frozen baits, Spanish Sardines is a good option. Just hook them through their eye with a circle hook. You can also use Squid Strips in 1″ pieces.
I recommend that you only keep the Black Bass that are sixteen inches or more.