While a lot of the country is dealing with frigid weather or fishing on frozen bodies of water, there are some states where you can freshwater fish in a bit more comfort during the winter. Texas is one of those, and while it can certainly get cold in the Lone Star State, winter fishing in Texas can be a very enjoyable activity, especially if your interest is catching bass.
From late December through mid-March, you may see less competition from other anglers, although this depends on where you go, and reasonable opportunity for catching large bass. Maybe even giant bass.
Proof of the chance of catching big bass when winter fishing in Texas is evidenced from the results of the Texas ShareLunker program run by Texas Parks and Wildlife. A high number of bass 8 pounds and better are entered in the winter months. Last January and February (2022), fifteen bass over 13 pounds (an astounding size!) were recorded in their Legacy division.
You can increase your chances of scoring bass of any size when fishing in January in Texas by carefully choosing your tackle. While you may want to use heavy outfits to land a big fish, pay special attention to your line. A good choice is thin-diameter line that is strong (think braided line) with a low-visibility leader (think fluorocarbon), which helps get strikes in the clear winter water, yet can pull fish away from cover.
Various lures account for big bass in Texas in winter, especially Alabama rigs, crankbaits, swimbaits, jigs, drop-shot rigs, and large spinnerbaits. No matter what lure you use, one thing that is generally true about winter bass fishing in Texas is that you should fish slowly and deliberately. A fast pace doesn’t cut it for large or small bass in winter, when the water is cold, and the fish’s metabolism has slowed down. So be careful not to use a fishing reel with a fast retrieve ratio and try to fish as slowly as you can while still getting proper action out of your lure.
Another consideration about winter bass fishing in Texas is to pay close attention to water temperature. Smaller lakes and ponds can warm up faster than larger bodies of water, so they may be a good option after a warm spell. Conversely, large lakes take longer to cool down, and may offer better fishing early in winter when they’re warmer than smaller waters. Also, fishing on sunny days, fishing later in the day, when shallow water warms up a bit, is likely to be more productive than fishing early in the day.
You may sometimes need warm outerwear and a hot beverage when winter fishing in Texas, but know that you have a lot more opportunity to catch big bass at this time than you do in most other states.