Bogue Homa near Laurel is a very good lake for finding and catching bass in February.
The bass there become aggressive because they often spawn at the end of February, so they’re gearing up for the rigors of that time of year.
The key to catching these fish will be fishing the lily pad stems with a lipless crankbait like the Rat-L-Trap and a ChatterBait.
I’ll be fishing lipless crankbaits in crawfish red and black chrome on 20-pound-test 100 percent fluorocarbon line during the first two weeks of the month.
Because the water is still cold, I’ll reel the lure slowly. Each time the bait hits a lily pad stem, I’ll cause the lure to kick off one to the side.
The bass are aggressive, but they’re not willing to chase a bass very far in this cold water. I’ll be using a 7.9 Pinnacle cranking rod with a Pinnacle 7.3:1 reel.
Bass don’t always do the same thing they’ve always done at the same time of the year. So although I’ll start off with a really slow retrieve, I’ll vary my retrieve to see how fast, how slowly and what type of action the bass prefer on the day I’m fishing.
I have caught bass this month on this lake with a fairly fast retrieve, keeping the lure close to the surface.
However, during the first two weeks of the month, I’ll start off with a slow retrieve, keeping the lipless crankbait close to the bottom and dancing it off the lily pad stems.
The bass won’t be on all the lily pad stems on the lake. So covering a lot of water is important to locate where the schools of bass are concentrating.
I’ll pay more attention to points that have lily pad stems on them than I will to the flats with lily pad stems.
At this time of the year, more than likely, the water will be off color or muddy, especially the water close to the dam on the west side of the lake. The rocky riprap shore on that part of the lake always has lily pad stems under the water. I’ll fish that entire area with a Rat-L-Trap and a ChatterBait.
When I’m fishing the ChatterBait, I like the black-and-blue colors in the 3/8 ounce size. I’ll fish it on 20-pound-test 100 percent fluorocarbon line with a 7-foot, medium-heavy action Pinnacle rod.
I’ll fish this lure the same way I do lipless crankbaits — slowly and kicking it off the lily pad stems.
I’ll also fish the ChatterBait like I do a plastic worm — yo-yoing it up and letting it fall back to the bottom.
If the water is very cold, most of the time you can expect the bite to come on the fall. The lily pad stems provide the best deep cover water and the warmest water first for the bass.
I know most fishermen don’t start fishing buzzbaits this early in the year. However, on Bogue Homa because that very shallow water heats up first, the buzzbait is my lure of choice for the last two weeks in February.
Once the water temperature reaches 54 degrees, bass will load up on the buzzbait.
During the last two weeks of February, I like to fish on the east side of the lake behind Moore’s Island. This section of the lake has lots of stumps in very shallow water.
You want to cast as closely as you can to the shoreline, especially where you see small lily pads — known as dollar pads — starting to appear. This area is prime fishing with a buzzbait.
I like either a 1/4-ounce or a 3/8-ounce buzzbait, and the bass seem to prefer a clacking buzzbait. I like to fish a black buzzbait with a white blade or a white buzzbait with a black blade in this area of the lake this month.
You want to work that lure slowly through the dollar pads and the lily pad stems. This section of the lake will hold primarily spawning bass and prespawn bass, so they’ll be pretty big.
Bogue Homa was drained in 2007 so the dam could be rebuilt; it was opened again in 2010 for fishing.
You should be able to catch several bass in the 2 1/2- to 4-pound range, but you also may catch a bass that weighs 7 or 8 pounds. You’ll probably catch more bass at Ross Barnett during February, but the bass tend to be smaller at Ross Barnett than they are at Bogue Homa.