Maynor Creek, a 450-acre body of water near Waynesboro, is my pick for great January bass fishing at this difficult time to catch bass.
The small size of this lake means you can narrow down where the bass will be holding and fish almost the entire lake in a day. A critical ingredient to catching January bass there is using the Solunar tables. You definitely want to be bass fishing around the creek’s bridge during the major feeding times of the day and first thing every morning. I’ll fish several places.
The Bridge Area
I’ll start off my early morning by fishing the small bridge that crosses the creek with a shad-colored Mann’s Reel ‘N Shad on a ¼-ounce head. I’ll fish it with a medium retrieve. I want to feel the bait’s tail kicking back and forth on the riprap on the banks, points and bridge pilings.
I’ll use 20-pound test White Peacock fluorocarbon with a 6-foot-10 Team Lew’s rod and a 7.5:1 Lew’s reel. If the bass aren’t actively feeding, I’ll fish slowly a ½-ounce black/blue Stone Jig with a black/blue craw as a trailer on 23-pound line, a 7-foot-3 medium-heavy rod and the same reel.
In January, bass either will be up in the shallows around the bridge or in very cold weather in the deepest part of the channel flowing under the bridge. The bass use this channel when they’re constantly moving back and forth from the lower part of the creek to its back end.
When I fish the bridge, I’ll also be casting a shad-colored Mann’s C4 crankbait that runs 5 to 6 feet deep on 20-pound line and a 7-foot-2 medium-action Lew’s cranking rod with a 6.4:1 reel. I want the bait running into and deflecting off the rocks and the bottom to cause the bass to attack, even if they’re not feeding.
The Main Lake
While you’re fishing the bridge area, you need to continuously be looking back toward the main lake to try and spot bass schooling on the surface and chasing bait. In January, those schools of bass may contain some 3- to 5-pounders, but most will weigh 1½ to 3 pounds.
If I spot schools of bass breaking on the surface, I’ll leave the bridge, get close enough to the school to cast my Reel ‘N Shad just past them and then reel it fast through the school. After the school goes down, if the bass won’t hit the Reel ‘N Shad, then I’ll fish a blue-back, pearl-sided ½-ounce Mann’s Little George, a lead-headed tailspinner, on 20-pound line, a 7-foot rod and an 8.3:1 gear ratio reel. I’ll cast the bait out, let it fall all the way to the bottom, snatch it up and allow it to fall back again. The bass most often will take it on the fall.
The Creek Channel
Once I’m not catching bass around the bridge, I’ll follow the creek channel that runs primarily on the east side. In a nice-sized pocket there, use your sonar to spot a small feeder creek coming off the creek channel that runs into the main creek channel with numbers of underwater stumps at its intersection.
My primary bait to fish very slowly in the creek channel is the ½-ounce Stone Jig. My Garmin Panoptix depth finder enables me to see the schools of bait and bass holding on the edge of the creek channel in real time and three dimensions and learn in which direction they’re swimming. I want to feel the Stone Jig fall off a stump, a root or a rock and then return to the bottom. I’ll make repeated casts to that school to get the bass to bite.
The last bait I’ll fish on the creek channel is a drop-shot rig on a Lew’s spinning reel with a 7-foot-2, medium-heavy spinning rod and 15-pound bass braid. I’ll tie 6 feet of 15-pound fluorocarbon leader to the braided line with a ¼-ounce drop shot sinker and a No. 2/0 Gamakatsu hook above it with a 6-inch Mann’s grape Jelly Worm. I’ll slow-drag that drop-shot rig, stop it, take up my slack and then slow-drag it again.
Anywhere along the creek channel or around the bridge that I get a bite, I’ll return to those spots three or four times a day. A good day of January bass fishing on Maynor Creek is catching seven or eight bass, with two of those weighing more than 5 pounds. Yes, the weather will be cold, but the bass fishing at Maynor Creek can be hot in January.
Invented in 1928 by John Knight, Solunar tables predict when game animals and fish are going to be the most active, based on the position of the sun and moon. The strongest activity occurs when the moon is directly overhead or directly underfoot.
The strongest activity occurs when there is a full moon or a new moon, and is weakest when there is a quarter-moon or a three-quarter moon. This is because the combined gravitational force of the moon and the sun is strongest when both are directly above or directly below our heads.