Fishing The Late Winter Into Pre-spawn
February fishing has its ups and downs, that is a fact. We go outside and it might be 20 degrees or it might be 70 degrees. But just because you are bundling up or taking it off doesn’t mean that the fish are feeling what you are. I’ve gone out when it has been 76 degrees and when it has been 30 degrees all in the last month. The difference in the water temperature has been 3 degrees from both days. Why is this important you ask? Well I know for me, and for most bass anglers out there, we tend to move faster and fish faster when it is warm out. A 2 degree jump in water temp isn’t going to put those fish on the feed bag and fire up their metabolism. They might move slightly shallower, but they aren’t in the back of the coves or creeks getting ready to spawn (YET!) Fish are sluggish when the water is still cold regardless of the air temperature. They don’t want to move fast or far for a meal. And when they do move for a meal, they want it to be substantial enough to sustain them for a good while before they have to eat again. All you have to do right now is look onto wherever you get your fishing information from, and you will see that there are some HAWGS being caught right now and most are taken on bigger baits. So how do you get yourself one of those hawgs? Simple, SLOW DOWN and think outside the box. Finesse techniques may work for numbers right now, but that isn’t going to get you that big bag or that kicker fish you need to take that tournament or your personal best. You should be throwing something big enough for a bass to want to eat it and not have to eat again really soon. If you are reading this blog, you are probably a big fan of Power Team Lures already, and here’s what I would be throwing if I were out there right now.
#1- PowerTeam Lures 10” Ribbon Hinge worm. This worm has the right action that says “I’m alive, so eat me” but still doesn’t put fish off by being too active like a lot of ribbon tail worms. The subtle action that’s halfway between a straight tail worm and a ribbon tail will call them in with water displacement and won’t appear out of its natural cold water element. Pair it up with some Hog Tonic to get them enticed and really think its FOOD! Texas rigging with a slow drag or subtle hop on the main lake points, creek channel swings, and the first 1/3 of creeks are where you are going to find those big fish right now that are looking to eat. Don’t neglect steep rip rap banks either. If you have temperatures that are fluctuating, the bass will move up on the rocks to warm up because the rip rap will hold heat better than other types of structure. The bottom of the banks where the rocks meet the lake bottom can be a great place to catch them!
#2- 4.5” Conviction Craws and 4.5” Texas Rig Jigs. The subtle action on the appendages of these baits won’t look out of place because the craws are cold this time of the year too! I fish these 2 baits multiple ways. I like them on a football jig as a trailer and on a Carolina rig too. But the best way I’ve found to fish them is on a football shaky head, dragged along the same places as the Ribbon Hinge worm. I pair mine up with a ½ oz to a ¾ oz jig head and a 7’3” MH rod, 6.4:1 reel and get a good distance off the bank so I have plenty of area to cover. If you think the fish want more subtle bait, I like to cut or pinch the top skirt half off the Texas Rig Jigs so the skirt is only underneath the bait and it looks like the little legs underneath the tail section of a live crawdad.
Just experiment with retrieve speed, hops and shakes, or straight dragging speed until you find what the fish want. Fluorocarbon will help out a lot when it comes to these techniques. I prefer 14 lb for these techniques. The limited stretch will help you feel the subtle bites this time of the year. It also helps to “fool” the fish into thinking its live bait, as they can’t see the line.
Power Team Lures Pro Staff