hen you follow Josh Parris
Fishing Guide, you are in
store for big bass eye candy. Image after image of giants fill the albums.
Predominately snapped at the Mother Lode
lakes in California, Parris calls home to the trout
Here is his winter approach to the bass that
conveniently have a trout drop at their door.
HARD AND SOFT
Parris ties on both hard and soft swimbaits. On his must-have list for hard baits is the foot-long Madness Balam 300, the Deps Slide Swimmer 250, 175 and 145.
His soft bait boot-tail go-to’s include the eight-inch Optimum Papa Boom Boom, the Butch Brown Thumper Tail and the Separ 9.
“In wintertime, I start switching back and forth,” he said. “The traditional Hudd-style bait has a vortex profile and is typically something we are slow rolling. As we start getting into January, February and March, I feel the fish start getting pressured on that bait style and I will start leaning towards a boot-tail bait and fishing them faster. I am making the fish give a reactionary strike to the bait, making them say yes or no right now versus just following the bait and then making a decision. The boot-tail forces them to react.”
The three lures he uses for the biggest bass are the 250, the Balam 300 and the Papa Boom Boom.
CALIFORIA COLD WON’T STOP THE BITE
Although many will suggest a downsize in bait profile for winter weather, that is not necessarily Parris’ agenda.
“Even when the mornings are in the high teens and the water temp is in the low 50’s to high 40’s, the bass will eat those bigger baits, said Parris. “And I will still get quite a few bites a day. Obviously with those bigger baits, I am looking for less bites, but I am still getting five to seven.”
SHALLOWER THAN YOU THOUGHT
Another common school of thought for cold-weather fishing is to move deep. Again, Parris has a flip side to that.
“In trout-plant lakes, I find that largemouth are up the winter,” he said. “And the winter is when a lot of the smaller largemouth tend to disappear. They are going out deep, but the three-pounders and bigger stay shallow, targeting the trout. That is where those bigger baits come into play.
GO WHERE OTHERS FORGET
Launch the boat, make a run to your favorite spot, pull up and throw out the first cast. It seems a simple enough description of how to start a fishing day, but again, Parris does not agree.
Deps 250 Balam 245
big target for
a trout plant
lake is around the
ramp,” he said. “It is an area that I pay attention to all year.
A lot of people just put their boat in and drive away from it. I
use it as a starting spot. It is definitely overlooked.”
The basis of Parris’ targets center around distinct characteristics.
“I am looking for that one little rock outcropping, a big tree lane in the water, that one hump with a single rock on it – anything that is unique. Unique is something that the bigger fish will hold on. Also, many times that one unique thing will create a trap point. For example, if you’re slow rolling hills and you come upon a rockpile, the rockpile will be the cut-off point where the bass will feed and target trout and that is the place you can find them.
“It seems like from late fall to spring, fish use rock more and paying attention to that becomes more valuable to me. But with a big bait category, you get less bites than a worm. So, trying to duplicate the bites that you do get and pattern those is a way to capitalize.”
SLOW IS NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER
Slower retrieve speed with lower temps is another topic that takes Parris against the grain.