If you are an avid bass angler and live in a part of the country that sees cold, harsh winters, don't fret...Get educated! I live in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which hosts snow, ice, and frigid temperatures during those long winter months. Although the bass bite slows tremendously in the winter, there is another alternative to fishing. This is the best time to get “schooled” about which lures and techniques have been working for other anglers, and are expected to work during the upcoming season.
Though drinking a hot cup of strong coffee while reading Facebook posts is a great way to spend time in the winter, I like to read all the literature I can from both pros and amateurs alike, to hone in my fishing skills. Learning about which color stick worm (I prefer Gary Yamamoto's 5” Senko in dark green pumpkin/amber laminate) worked well for a friend who's just looking to have some fun of a local lake, is just as important as learning which crankbait “landed” Kevin VanDam the Angler of the Year award. Just because an angling-enjoying novice isn't making millions of dollars chasing the tournament trails, does not mean that you can't gain any know-how from them.
Once I get the scoop, I spend my time and money shopping both online and in-store. Tacklewarehouse.com is a site I like to use for their wide selection, low prices, and acceptance of Paypal. Ebay is also a good place to find inexpensive bait and tackle. For in-store shopping, there is no better place than Bass Pro Shops. You can spend three hours in the store and still wouldn't look at all they have to offer. Gander Mountain is where I do most of my shopping though, since the closest Bass Pro Shops is a three hour drive from my house.
The most important thing to remember when learning new information is to share (some of it) with friends, so they will be sure to return the favor when they land that six pound lunker on the green pumpkin/red flake Strike King Rodent that you suggested they try. Well, now you know...Go Fish!