Top 6 Bass Fishing Baits for January
January can be one of the coldest months of the year. These cold temperatures often scary many anglers away from getting out on the water. However with less competition, January offers a great opportunity to catch quality bass.
In January you have a few different options to choose from. You can slow down and finesse fish, speed up with aggressive baits to trigger a feed response, or up-size your lure and target giant bass.
In this article, I’ll share my top 6 confidence baits for bass fishing in January along with the specific colors, sizes, and components.
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1. Alabama Rig
The Alabama rig is my number one lure when fishing in January. The A-rig mimics a small school of bait fish. The way you retrieve and work the rig creates a ton of movement that looks super realistic.
It’s so successful that many tournaments have banned it’s use. It’s great for catching numbers and giant bass.
- Bladed Rig– Hogfarmer Tactical Flex Bladed
- Non-Bladed Rig – HogFarmer Tactical Flex
- Swimbait Heads – Matt Allen Swimbait (1/8 oz)
- Swim Baits – Keitech 4.8″ Fat Swing Impact
- Dummy Baits (depending on your state’s hook laws) – Netbait Little Spanky
2. Speed Crankbaits
Speed cranking is the complete opposite of what most people think of when they think about fishing in January. Most think you have to slow way down and use finesse baits. That’s not always the case and speed cranks give you the opportunity to fish very actively and cover a lot of water. It’s a great option if your like me and don’t enjoy fishing slow.
With this technique you want to fish as fast as you can to force the bass to make a split second decision and trigger a feed response. When speed cranking you want a lure with a real tight wobble in natural colors, below are my favorites:
- Megabass Deep X 300: More finesse
Colors: Sexy Ayu, MB Gizzard
- River2Sea Tactical DD 75: More aggressive and dives deeper
Colors: Clearwater Minnow, True Shad
- Spro Rock Crawler: Great for rip-rap and rocky areas
Colors: Phantom Green, Phantom Watermelon
3. Finesse Football Jig
A jig is another slower presentation that will catch numbers but also has the chance to catch bigger fish. With this technique you want to stick with more natural colors. You won’t be triggering a feed response in January, instead you are looking to trick them. They will have a lot of time to examine you lure and decide if they want to eat it or not.
- Jig – Dirty Jigs 1/2 oz Finesse Football – Colors: Supermatt Brown, The Go To
- Trailer – Yamamoto 5″ Double Tail Grub – Colors: Cinn Black Purp, Green Pumpkin Blk
4. Large Swimbaits
With large 6+ inch swimbaits you won’t catch a ton of fish but the fish you do catch will be giants. This is a great option for the seasoned angler who has caught numbers over the years and now wants to go after their personal best.
With this technique you want a super realistic bait because you are gonna fish it super slow. Bass will follow your bait for awhile and really look it over while they decide if they want to eat it or not. You want to let your swimbait hit bottom and slowly drag on bottom.
The benefit of such a large bait is the drawing power. A giant bass will travel a lot farther and exert energy for such a big meal vs a small minnow.
- Huddleston 8″ Trout (ROF 12) – Colors: Rainbow Trout, Hitch
- Savage Gear 8″ RTF Trout (Fast Sink) – Colors: Dirty Silver, Trout
Jerkbaits are excellent cold water lures. They dive down a few feet and their erratic twitches are great at generating strikes.
In the winter you want to slow down and wait longer on the pause. Most bass try and conserve their energy in cold water so the longer pause gives the bass more time to slowly track up to your bait.
- Megabass Vision 110 – Dives down to the 4-6ft depth range.
- Megabass Vision 110 Jr. – Identical to the 110 but in a slightly smaller profile.
6. Small Swimbaits
Small swimbaits are another bait that are great for catching numbers in January. Sometimes a single swimbait works better than an alabama rig because bass don’t always want to exert the energy to chase a school. A single minnow is more vulnerable and sometimes more appealing to a bass.
Small swimbaits are also good for bodies of water that doesn’t have huge fish. They also can be thrown on your standard rod.
- Swimbait Head – Dirty Jigs Guppy – Size: 1/8 oz, 1/0 Hook
- Swimbait – Keitech 2.8″ Fat Swing Impact – Colors: Pro Blue Red Pearl
7. Ned Rig
The ned rig is a technique that will catch fish when nothing else will. If you’ve tried everything else, switch to a ned rig for a confidence boost. It’s great for beginners who just want to have fun and catch fish.
- Ned Rig Head – ZMan Ned Football
- Ned Rig Bait – ZMan Finesse TRD – Colors: Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Goby
January has some great opportunities to catch bass. Don’t let the cold weather discourage you from hitting the water. Throw on a jacket and some gloves, layer up and get out there. Hopefully these bait recommendations will give you the confidence to fish your favorite spots.