Fishing the Cornerstone Baits Creeper MX1 Squarebill and Rib Stick in a one-two combo for wintertime bass

Bass fishing in wintertime presents unique challenges, and understanding the best baits and waters to fish in colder months is key. Three key features to look for and consider when fishing for wintertime bass include: bait, structure and nearby deep water.

Schooled bait is limited in the winter. Targeting the correct lake locations for schooling bait is important to maximize bites. Locate banks with darker rock, such as rip rap, that will heat up faster in the sun and pool the bait fish. The main lake points are a good place to start. They are often deeper, having more depth change for the bass to move up and down throughout the day, as the sun warms the points.

Another location that is influenced by the sun are bluff walls, and can also produce a wintertime bite. Bluff walls heat up in the sun, similarly to rip rap shorelines, moving the bass up in the water column to feed.

A third prime location for wintertime bites on a reservoir system are deep creeks off of the main lake. The sun also can be in your favor, heating up the black floats under the docks on these creeks, congregating bass to these sunny locals.


  1. Rip rap:
    1. Throw a Cornerstone Baits Creeper MX1 squarebill crankbait in Fire Craw and Sexyish Shad parallel to the shoreline rip rap, deflecting the lure off the rocks to generate a reaction bite from the bass that are up shallow, feeding on the baitfish and crawfish. The goal is to match your bait color to the color of the various forage species in the lake.
    2. Cast and drag a Cornerstone Baits Rib Stick in Dirty Craw along the deeper edge of the rip rap. Bass stage on the transition area, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.
  2. Bluff Walls:
    1. Throw a Cornerstone Baits Creeper MX1 in Black Craw and Big Blue tight against the bluff wall, deflecting off laydowns and rock outcroppings, targeting the fish that are higher in the water column, feeding.
    2. Cast a Rib Stick in Green Smoke on a shakeyhead or drop shot, targeting bass that are suspended off the bluff wall. Your electronics can play an important role with this technique, to locate suspended bass off of the bluff wall. Natural colors are important when fishing in clearer water. In dirtier water, fish a darker colored bait such as Dirty Craw, for increased visibility.
  3. Docks on deep creeks off of the main lake:
    1. Throw a Cornerstone Baits Creeper MX1 squarebill crankbait in Bream Reaper and Bone Pearl parallel to the sides of the black floats on docks, targeting the sunny sides and corners. In cold months, slow down the retrieve, keeping the bait tight to the structure.

While not always the best location for catching numbers, sunny docks on deep creek channels off of the main lake can produce big bass. Use a Cornerstone Baits Rib Stick in Green Pearl. Pitch the Rib Stick on a neko rig, a wacky-rigged worm with a nail weight in the tail. This presentation falls slowly, guaranteed to entice the wintertime bass. Casting on the sunny side of the dock will yield you the best chance at a bite.

February 22, 2019 — Grae Buck

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