February 28 2022

Winter Largemouth Bass Fishing on Cape Cod


This post was originally published in March of 2020.

Dan Zunino - MFCC member

Cape Cod is well known for its beautiful landscapes, beaches, and amazing saltwater fishing.

The fishing opportunities here aren’t just held to striped bass and bluefin tuna-the Cape is also home to some great freshwater fishing.

In fact, there are hundreds of ponds scattered all across the Cape. Many of these ponds are stocked with trout in the spring and fall.


Not only are there trout in most of these ponds, but there’s also the mighty largemouth bass. The largemouth bass inhabits almost every pond on Cape Cod.

Largemouths are a fun fish to target for anyone of any age and level, plus it’s a great way to escape the normal day-to-day stresses we face.

Recently, I’ve had a few opportunities to get out on the weekends to target lunker bass. The winter weather has been more than fair to us so far, and I hope it will stay like this to help keep these bass active.

Winter Largemouth Bass Fishing with Shiners

Fishing for largemouth bass can be done all throughout the year. There is no time when you can’t fish for largemouth bass.

This makes them an awesome fish to target, especially during the winter months, when saltwater fishing is basically non-existent. 

These elusive "bucket mouths" can really help with cabin fever during the winter. In these cold months largemouth bass can be a bit sluggish, and I have found them harder to fool using lures.

Catching big wintertime largemouth bass with lures can still be done, but I’ve experienced better luck using live bait - like shiners.

It’s hard for a bass to resist a lively shiner put right in front of them, since a lot of their diet consists of small baitfish.

A fresh live shiner is like candy to largemouths, so it’s good to have extra shiners with you when fishing for them. If the fishing gets good, sometimes it’s easy to throw a few dozen at them. The key is to have a lot of bait.

Lures do work though, and ones to use during the winter months include small swimbaits, artificial plastics and spinners. On overcast days, I really like using something with a shine to it.

Rods and Reels

I like using light tackle, so when targeting largemouths I use a six to seven foot medium action rod, and a one to three thousand series spinning reel.

I know many guys use bait cast reels - I just prefer using spinning reel setups. You don’t need to spend a fortune on gear to target these fish and you can find a great setup for around a hundred dollars.

Pictured above is a Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Rod, 6'6", rated for 1/16 to 1/4 ounces. The reel is a Shimano Nasci 2500.

I typically try to get my gear for freshwater on the cheaper side and spend more money on saltwater fishing gear.

Anywhere from six pound to twenty-pound line is more than efficient to land a nice healthy bass, depending on how light you want to go and what structure you are fishing around.

I try to have a light, medium, and heavier combo with me depending on what lures I’ll be slinging or bait I’m using.

January Largemouth Bass Fishing Trip

Back in January of 2020 I took my girlfriend (an avid saltwater fisherwoman) fishing at a local pond on Cape for largemouth.

Although she is a very experienced, she had never targeted them before. I've had the opportunity to take her to my favorite pond twice now this winter and the results have been great.

Over my years of fishing, I’ve found that ponds in this area which have steady running water (like a herring run, for example) to hold the healthiest and most active bass.

On this trip we took my small twelve-foot aluminum Jon boat. The boat has no motor and just a couple paddles, but that was all we needed to get us out there.

I’m very happy I thought to bring a small anchor on these trips because both these days were very windy.

During our first outing we did well catching both bass and pickerel.

The chain pickerel is another fun species that you can expect to catch while fishing for bass. They are aggressive and hard fighting. I always make sure to have pliers on hand in case I land one these toothy critters.

Both times we went fishing we started midmorning and fished till just passed noon. That’s all it took to land a bunch of fat healthy bass and a few pickerel.

February Largemouth Bass Fishing

Our February 2020 trip got off to a funny and crazy start. When we got to the pond, it still had a thin layer of ice on it.

We had no choice but to use our paddles and smash our way through the ice to get to open water where we could fish.

This time the bite wasn’t hot, at least not right away. It took us about forty-five minutes to get the first bite, when out of nowhere the bobber went down.

My girlfriend picked up the rod and started to reel very slowly to see what was going on. Then, when she felt a tug, she set the hook.

The drag screamed, and I instantly knew it was a big fish. She knew she couldn’t put too much tension on it since I was only using six-pound fluorocarbon leader.

It took her about three or four minutes to get the beast in. The bass crossed three other lines and tangled us all up, but we didn’t care, we just wanted to land the fish!

The first look shocked us both!

We were amazed at how big the fish was. I quickly grabbed the net (which it barely fit in) and scooped up the "bucket mouth" bass. It was my girlfriends first big bass, and we estimated the fish to be at least five pounds. It was a real beauty.

After a few quick pictures, we sent her back to fight another day. High fives, praises and laughs soon came next as we were extremely pumped to land a big bass, unexpectedly during February.

All in all, don’t rule out fishing during the winter, because you never know when a fish of a life time will hit.

You can’t catch fish if you don’t go, so get out of the house and go fishing!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

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