Cold fronts generally aren’t the greatest news for any fishing, other than the fact that pre-frontal conditions usually bring a feeding spree as barometric pressure drops. Following this though, when cold air, high, clear skies persist, muskie and pike are usually laying pretty low, just trying to stay comfortable, digest, likely pass a little gas… generally not too fired up.
A tremendous standby for cold front conditions, or any low activity period – are jigs. They work for all species, and certainly those big toothy esocids included.
When they are “off” and skulking – generally, hitting them right on the nose (it’s so easy they just can’t pass it up) is the only hope to trigger a positive response. If it’s above and/or “away”, it’s quite likely to be ignored; for structure, presentations that come very close to or purposefully contact structure are generally most effective. Jigs and jig-type lures are very effective for this. To be honest, I don’t enjoy using slow presentations; in fact I really hate it… but during cold fronts Esox species seem to like â€˜em a whole lot more than I. Jig and scented soft-plastics like Gulp, often small stuff, as well as live and dead baits on jigs (weight chosen to match depth to be fished) are effective; super enticing soft plastics like Sebile’s Magic Swimmer work well; jig/jerk soft plastic body baits like Red October’s tubes, jigged and worked vertically are great. Work these presentations up and down edges and parallel to structure. Be ready for strikes on pauses. Often just a “hop” in the line means a strike. For very sharp and irregular breaklines, generally straight vertical jigging is most effective; especially for this â€“ add to the prior list, Sebile’s Flatt Shad.