Gary Dobyns Strategies for Cold Weather Spotted Bass by David A. Brown

wintertime fishing for spotted bass at Shasta

Winter 2021

time to fish this lake. Weather drives specific bite periods, but the coldest months can be absolutely on fire.


For sheer numbers of fish, Dobyns said it’s hard to beat a nail-weighted Senko. Keeping his color choices simple, he likes the stalwart green pumpkin, along with watermelon/green pumpkin laminate; but he’ll also work baby bass into the rotation.

“Day in and day out, this is the way you’re going to catch a lot of fish and some big ones,” Dobyns said. “It’s a guaranteed way to catch a lot of fish, but you have to be able to catch the right ones.”

Fishing no deeper than 20-feet, Dobyns uses a nail weight appropriate for the target depth He ties it on 8-pound Seaguar InvizX using on a 3-power spinning rod. His top- three rod choices are the Dobyns Champion 733 SF, DX 743 SF, or the Xtasy 753 SF.

Subtlety goes out the window with this presentation, as nothing short of a violent shake will consistently deliver.

“I fish it pretty fast,” Dobyns said. “Those spotted bass are aggressive, and they’ll bite it like that.”

Occasionally, the fish sour on the nail-weighted presentation, but they remain active in that relatively shallow zone. This is when Dobyns will switch to a green pumpkin Yamamoto tube.

“I’ll fish in the same exact places I’d fish the Senko, but sometimes, the tube just happens to work better,” Dobyns said. “That’s why I always have a tube laying on my deck. It’s always a one-two for me.

“It’s amazing;

sometimes I can’t get

another bite on the tube,

but I’ll pick up the nail-

weighted Senko, throw it

out and catch my best fish of

the day. I use both, but there are times when I get more bites on a tube and certain times, I get more bites on a Senko.”

Other productive presentations for Shasta include:


The Hula Grub is a top choice for a deep bite. Dobyns fishes this bait on a 1-ounce football jig and targets depths of 40- to 60-feet. His preferred colors are green pumpkin or cinnamon purple.

He ties it on with 12-pound P-Line CXX and throws it with a Dobyns Champion 744C, a DX 744C or an Xtasy 754C.

“I’ve had tournaments where all I do is drag a 1-ounce jig with a Hula Grub,” Dobyns said. “A lot of times when I’m dragging that jig around, I’m inside the points and I drag a lot of the walls.

“I do that a lot when we have a north wind and high pressure. Those conditions shut down the shallow bite and the fish just tend to be active deeper.”

Worth noting: Even though he’s fishing deep, Dobyns likes fishing windblown banks. He admits it’s probably more habit than anything, but Dobyns finds a lot of highly productive banks that happen to catch a lot of the north winds common to the winter season.

“I think a lot the fish are shallow until a cold front hits; then they go deeper,” Dobyns said. “The good thing about spotted bass is that they will always bite, and that deep bite is always there.