Fish jerkbaits as February begins
I'll start off fishing a jerkbait like the Lucky Craft Pointer in the chartreuse-shad color on the river bars with 8-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line. I'll be using a Seeker Glass Jerkbait Rod and a Pinnacle 7.3:1 reel.
I'll fish from Bear Creek all the way to the Natchez Trace Bridge.
To have your jerkbait be the most productive at this time of the year, work it really slowly because the water still will be cold.
Most of the bars and points in this stretch of the river will be 8- to 10-feet deep and will drop-off into the river channel. I prefer to jerk the bait down, work it up to the edge of the river channel and then let the lure sit perfectly still for a 10 count. Although you're not moving the bait with your line, the current will move the bait.
I may be able to work the jerkbait faster, but I always start off with a 10 count before I move it and prior to it reaching the bar. This technique catches a mixed bag of smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass in February.
Alabama Rig is a great alternative
The second lure I'll fish at the first of the month is the Alabama Rig with five watermelon-seed 4-inch Mann's HardNose Grubs on each one of the wires. I'll be using ¼-ounce jigheads and fishing with 65-pound-test Berkley Braid line on my Seeker Alabama Rig rod with a 6.4:1 reel.
I'll cast the Alabama Rig up on top of the bars, let it drift with the current and then allow it to free-fall over the lip of the break into the river channel.
When the lure falls over the lip of the break, I'll let the rig fall to about 20 feet deep, and then start a steady retrieve. You'll hang up some on the shell beds on tops of the bars, but you easily can get the rig unhung.
Jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits and HardNose Lizards for the last two weeks of February
The last two weeks of the month I'll move off the river channel and into the creeks to fish secondary bars and gravel points in the creeks.
I'll make my first trip down the bar with a jerkbait. Then, I'll come around the same bar or point with a rattling ¾-ounce lipless crankbait in chrome with a black back.
I'll target bars and points where underwater grass is starting to grow where the bass love to hide. I want that lipless crankbait to just barely hit that new grass growth.
The bars that don't have grass on them will have shells. So, I'll want to bump the bottom with that lipless crankbait. I'll be casting the crankbait on 15-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line on a Seeker 7-foot glass rattling bait rod and a Pinnacle 7.3:1 reel.
I'll also cast a Carolina rig with a ¾-ounce weight up the line, a glass bead under it and a barrel swivel under the bead on 3 feet of 15-pound-test Berkley Big Game monofilament line. I'll tie this to a 5/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hook and bait with a Mann's HardNose Lizard in the green-pumpkin color. The main line will be 30-pound-test Berkley Braid.
I'll be casting the Carolina rig on a 7 ½-foot Seeker graphite medium-heavy rod and a Pinnacle 6.4:1 reel to the tops of the bars. I'll let the current wash that Caroling rig down the bar and over the lip of the break, and then ease the lizard along by lifting and lowering my rod tip.
I'm actually doing more dragging of the Carolina rig than lifting; I want that weight to roll off the edges of those shell bars and into those secondary channels. I expect most of my bites when the lizard is on the bar.
Even though the weather may be cold, fishing on Pickwick can really be hot in February.
When a bass takes your bait, you won't know what kind of bass it is until you get it to the boat. You may catch smallmouths up to 4 to 6 pounds, largemouths from 1½ pounds up to 8 pounds and spotted bass from 3 to 5 pounds. Most anglers wait until March to start fishing Pickwick, but February is a highly productive month to begin cranking up your early spring fishing.