Here we are, and it’s already February. If the weather holds consistent with the way it has been going, this should be a great fishing month. I can remember many years ago when we had a mild winter like this, and fishing in the South was fantastic -- especially for big fish. I had some of the best days that year catching big bass and several days of numerous big fish.
I have received several pictures of big stringers of nice bass caught right at Christmas. Two from a buddy in South Carolina fishing on Santee Cooper and one e-mail from a buddy in Michigan fishing on Lake Sinclair, which is usually frozen over this time of year. He has been catching 100 smallmouth a day on Zoom Green Pumpkin Tubes Green Pumpkin Tubes. With a lot of 70-degree days this late in the season, it is setting up to be just right for fishing.
I always like to start out in the morning with a Bass Pro Shops XTS Lures Minnow, a sleek jerk bait, and fish it on Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon 10-pound test, or even 8-pound. Sometimes, I will add just a tad of weight to the hooks, and I also change my fishing hooks to Mustad Triple Grip to get the lure to suspend.
I use a Bass Pro Shops extreme light action rod. You really want a light tip this time of year so you can keep the lure in one place a lot longer and give it just a slight, quivering action. The slower you can fish the lure once you jerk it down, the more fish you can catch. The old timers used to have a saying: “Jerk it down, light up a cigarette, smoke it, and then move the lure.” You don’t have to be that slow, but you almost want to be.
My favorite two places are points that drop into deep water and any kind of rocks. Rip-rap, boulders, rock piles, rock ledges, concrete -- you get the picture.
Now, as the day warms up, I find the bass will go to the back of coves where the sun is shining and the water is going to warm up quickest. The bass will go super shallow to get the heat, and just a few degrees of temperature difference will turn them on. I can’t tell you the tournaments I have fished in early spring, and fisherman would go back in the flats early and not catch a single fish and leave at noon; someone would come in there one hour later and get the mother lode. This time of year, you always look to the coves and banks the sun shines onto the longest for your best fishing.
This is also a great time to use crank baits. The lipless baits will especially shine for you. I like the little crank baits Zoom makes because of the tight wiggle. Something about cold water makes a bass want a lure with a tight wiggle -- no big wobbly baits this time of the year. When fishing a lipless bait in early spring, I like to use a pumping retrieve, looking for strikes to come on the fall. With the crank baits I, use a stop-and-go retrieve. Use fluorocarbon line for the fall because you get a lot of subtle strikes. Red seems to be a really good color in early spring, along with sexy shad and blue/chrome.
If you get a three- to four-day warming trend, it’s time to throw a Zoom lizard on a Carolina rig. I almost always use the six-inch lizard in early spring and 8-inch in later spring. I’m going to dye the tail chartreuse or red . This will really increase your strikes in early spring. Use a 1/0 or 2/0 Mustad offset round bend hook. You want a light hook so the lizard will look more natural in the water. You will get a much slower fall with a light hook, and each time you move it, the lizard will move with a natural swimming action. One thing great about the Carolina rig is you can cover a lot of different depths, from shallow to deep, to find a depth pattern to run.
Last, but not least, jigs and spinnerbaits are killer lures this time of the year. The spinnerbaits, especially, if you have wind.
My last tip is to find the warmest water with wind blowing on it, and you will find fish.
Thank soldiers for their service when you see them. Good luck fishing, and may God bless you!
by Woo Daves