Wintertime Vertical Spooning with Gerald Swindle

Vertical Spooning

By John Neporadny Jr.

Bass fishing in the cold is hard on the old bones, but it is definitely more soothing for your casting shoulder.

When bass go deep in the winter, long casts are usually unnecessary, since most of the action will be right below the boat. So most savvy bass anglers break out the light line and drop their lures straight down to reach bass hugging the bottom or suspended over deep structure. Vertical presentations for wintertime bass require a heavy enough lure throughout the cold months.

Since bass feed on small shad during early winter, Alabama pro Gerald Swindle matches the forage by vertically presenting a ¼ ounce jigging spoon. The lure produces largemouth bass holding at depths of twenty to twenty-five deep on most of the reservoirs Swindle fishes in the winter.

Swindle prefers a chrome jigging spoon or a white model, which he modifies by replacing the original hook with a white feathered number four treble hook. He prefers the spoon over soft plastics for vertical jigging because he can work it faster and cover more of the water column quicker.

“If you hop it in a school of bass you are going to get a strike,” says Swindle. “I can trigger them into biting on it even if the fish aren’t feeding.”

The touring pro vertical jigs his spoon with a 6-foot, 10-inch medium casting rod and baitcast reel filled with 12-pound fluorocarbon line. Swindle starts his presentation with his rod held at ten o’clock and jerks it to twelve o’clock a couple of times before slowly lowering it to follow the fall of the spoon. “I kind of hop it twice off the bottom about twelve to fifteen inches and then let it fall back to the bottom,” says Swindle.

For more bass fishing tips, visit John Neporadny’s website ( to purchase his book – 101 Bass Fishing Tips