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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — Tips for fishing in the first quarter

As January takes off, so do the area bass fishing tournaments. Fishing in South East Texas is different than fishing in many other areas. For the most part, we don’t generally get the cold weather that other regions experience. However, when cold fronts roll in, they can change the fishing drastically. Having multiple strategies for this time of year is very beneficial. Here are a few tips for fishing the first quarter of the year that may help to increase your success.

Eliminate dead water

Depending on water temperatures, barometric pressure and moon phases, this is the time of year that fish can be anywhere from 2 to 22 feet or even deeper. If you fish your favorite shallow banks without any luck, it may be time to eliminate shallow water and concentrate on the deeper depths. Don’t spend all day doing the same thing and catch nothing

Learn to use your electronics

The fishermen who consistently catch fish are able to do so off shore. They can locate humps, ridges, brush piles, and bait fish that are not related to the bank. This versatility allows them to produce more fish day in and day out. You may consider taking a sonar class or watching YouTube videos. Be certain that a fisherman who can locate fish with his depth finder has a huge advantage over one who can’t.

Slow down!

This one is the hardest for me to do. I love to burn through an area using crank baits, rattle traps, swim jigs, and spinnerbaits. These are great for locating fish and can even produce great limits when the bite is on, but when fishing is slow, sometimes you have to get slower. Carolina Rigs, Texas rigs, wacky worms, and slow moving jigs can often mean the difference in a limit or catching nothing.

The truth is the more time you spend on the water, the more you will learn and the luckier you will get. If what you are doing isn’t working, try something new but always remember that any day on the lake is a blessing from God!

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.