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Fishing in February can be a hassle, as the winter weather can make it difficult to travel, the frigid temperatures can cover your favorite fishing holes with ice and, perhaps worst of all, the bass never seem to be biting. Use several February fishing tips that can help you beat the winter blues and land a monster catch.
Where to Find Them
According to the bass fishing resource website Largemouth Bass Tips, bass tend to stay in about 10 feet of water during the mid- and late-winter season. However, keep in mind that February has highly variable weather patterns, which will cause the bass to fluctuate their depths. As the hunting and fishing resource Game & Fish Magazine notes, on cold, dreary February days, bass tend to mope down into deeper waters, while on warmer days with lots of sunshine, bass will perk up and move into shallower areas. Regardless of the weather, you will likely find February bass hanging around boat docks and pillars, as these structures conduct heat into the water surrounding them.
Jigging is the go-to strategy for those fair-weather February days when the bass move into shallower waters. It involves casting—or dropping, if you are ice fishing—a weighted artificial bait (the jig) on to the bottom, or just above it, and then flipping or jerking it up and down. According to professional bass fisherman Greg Hackney, when it comes to selecting the colors of your bass jigs in February, darker is better. Some of the best choices include purple, blue, black, green and brown.
For colder, more wintry February days, Greg Hackney recommends using a suspend bait, particularly one that resembles a shiner. Unlike with a jig, with a suspend bait the goal is to leave the bait still: the less movement the better. This will—ideally—trick hungry, lazy bass into thinking your bait is a rested or wounded prey item. Another deep-water February bass fishing strategy is drop-shotting, which, as Game & Fish Magazine notes, is similar to using a Carolina rig in reverse. While a Carolina rig has a sinker, or weight, between the rod and the baited hook, for keeping the bait on the bottom, the drop-shot has its weight below the bait so that the bait stays just off of the bottom. For optimal drop-shotting results in February, use small, rubbery artificial worms, about 4 inches long, for bait.
As Greg Hackney notes, bass are lazy and slow-moving during February, which means they are unlikely to go chasing after a lure. One of the best strategies for encouraging bass to be aggressive is to irritate them, which you can accomplish by repeatedly casting, or dropping, your bait in the same area—where you suspect or have seen a bass—over and over again. Ideally, the bass will become so annoyed that it attacks your bait.
- Largemouth bass image by patrimonio designs from Fotolia.com