In the summertime the Stripers are deeper, pushing bait up, so "in or above" the schools is exactly right.
However, when you have a big bait kill, like right now,(45F,and bellow). The bass are right on the bottom, usualy under the bait as they are dying and drifting down. I know some guys that ONLY jig. They wait for these sudden cold spells, then look for the schools of Butterbeans. They even catch Cat fish like this. a few years ago, the State record freshwater Drum was taken from Kerr by winter jigging.
Small White jigs seem to be the ticket. Around 3 inches, almost like a rounded off or flat diamond jig. (no hair, just metal, think saltwater) I really like the Braid Pearl jigs, but you have to relace the treble with a straight hook. The treble keeps getting hung up on the rubber coating on the jig.
You might have to vary the drop. Try to stay over the schools, and drop the metal right through the bait to the bottom. The trick is making the jig fall naturaly while keeping the line tight. I like braided line here. I'll some times let it go slightly slack and watch the floating braid for a twitch.
Bottom, or "cut bait" fishing can really work well right now too. I beach the boat close to where I mark bait and fish. Most of the time it is near a point, and within casting distance to the deeper water. I use the whole live shad, some cut the bait in half, some just cut off the tails. Some guys leave the reel in free spool with the clicker on, some leave the reel locked up. One thing is for sure it works! I have seen tournaments won with BIG fish, when 80% of the pack caught nothing at all. The 20% that went to the scales were cut bait fishing. Some guys bait and wait, some spend 30 minutes at each spot, until they find em. Chumming is also very common, Just rig it like a "down line". 2-3 ounces of weight above a swivel. Enough weight to really whip it out there.
You can just anchor too, but the hard core guys that do this all the time usually beach the boat. I have a buddy that was the NC State Champion from 2003 or 4, and lake Norman Champ. (NSBA) He won by actually tying up to an old abandoned dock, and casting out from there. Never stepping off the boat of course.
Go git em'
Old school :thumbup: