I cheated though, used a bass rod and spinning reel with a big, soft plastic worm on the end. I blame my cheating on my addiction just had to feel a fish on the end of the line. So it wasn't my fault, blame my addiction fishing addiction, no cure for that.
In South Africa there is a common belief that you can only catch fish during the months with an R in them, September through to April, (our spring & summer) except for trout that is. So when you tell people you fish for bass in the winter they look at you as if you have a screw loose, or you are a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
The secret is to fish slow, if you think you are retrieving slowly, reduce you speed still more, and fish right at the bottom. Fish are very lethargic due to the cold but if they see something that they can pick up with little effort, they will. The takes are extremely gentle and you have to give the fish time to really get the lure in it's mouth. If you strike to soon you just pull the lure out of it's mouth. Once hooked they forget their lethargy, these four below put up a good fight trying to entangle them selves in the water weeds.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
Next one, I put the long nosed pliers next to the fish to indicate it's size, not big but in spite of it's winter fast still in good condition. As the winter progresses and the water becomes clearer, the fish become a silvery colour and loose most of the olive colouring on their back.
Looks like it's trying to eat the reel, the tail of the lure I used sticking out above the reel.
Last one, all four in about 50 minutes, by now I was chilled to the bone by an icy wind and decided to call it a day.
Fishing with a fly the same principles apply. Weighted fly, eg., woolly bugger, on an intermediate line, let it sink right to the bottom, slow jerky retrieve, with long pauses. It's during the pauses that the bass pick up the fly.
The rod I used is not a bass rod, but my 6' drop shot rod, for surf and rock angling in the sea. The reel is a six bearing, 1:6 ratio, Ryobi (with a drag system that can stop a shark) loaded with 300 meters of 20lbs braid and a six foot 15lb mono filament leader. Bit of overkill for these small fish, but it worked.