Shallow or deep, February will provide some hefty, hungry fish
You must pay attention to the weather report in February to catch a wall-hanger at relatively shallow Bogue Homa.
These bass spawn early, with warm and cold fronts impacting where they will be and on what type of cover. A day or two of warm weather means female bass and baitfish will move shallow. Bogue Homa has cold fronts, too, and mama bass will pull out of the shallow-water then — yo-yo’ing back and forth. These fronts moving onto the lake will alert you as to whether the bass are in shallow or deep water, on lily pad stems, the bends of the main channel and/or standing cypress trees’ roots.
I like to start off fishing in the very back of the middle boat lane at Bogue Homa, in the lily pad stems. No matter what lake you fish, you’ll generally locate the warmest water in February on the northeast side of the lake because it receives the most sunshine.
A lizard starter
First, a 6-inch Texas-rigged plastic lizard in junebug color with a 1/8-ounce slip sinker can be cast and allowed to fall to the bottom. I’ll let the lizard sit still for a few seconds. If the female bass have started fanning their beds, you can’t see the beds, because the water will have some color. I’m searching for movement in the stems and fan-casting to patches of stems after putting down my Power Poles.
I’ll fish the lizard on a No. 5/0, wide-gap hook with a HitchHiker or screw-in device on the eye to screw into the head of the lizard. I’ll Texas rig the lizard and tie it to 23-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon that’s spooled on a Bruin 7.3:1 baitcasting reel on a 7-foot-7, heavy action FX Custom Rod to get a strong hookset. You can tell when a bass takes the lizard, because you’ll get slack in your line, and the line will move away.
A bladed jig
A black/blue 3/8-ounce bladed jig like a Chatterbait is my second choice, with a crawfish trailer of the same color, particularly later in February. I’ll swim the jig slowly, so it to kicks off the lily pad stems. I’ll fish braided line with a 23-pound fluorocarbon leader on a 6.3:1 Bruin reel and a 7-foot-6, medium-heavy FX Custom Rod. When fishing braid, you’ll have the tendency to strike the bass just as it sucks the jig into its mouth and possibly pull the bait out. If the bass aren’t taking the bladed jig, they may prefer a slower-moving bait like a worm.
Spin out a worm
The third lure I’ll fish around the pad stems is a SpringR Worm in junebug color with no weight on the line, rigged wacky style with a No. 1/0 Eagle Claw drop-shot hook. I’ll use 10-pound fluorocarbon leader with 15-pound bass braid as my main line. I’ll cast a worm on a spinning reel with a 7-foot-4, medium-action FX Custom Rod to small holes in the stems. Because I fish the SpringR Worm with an open hook, I’ll often get caught up on the stems, which makes fishing tedious.
Jig around creek bends
If the shallows haven’t warmed up or a cold front hits, I’ll target the main creek-channel bends that usually feature underwater brush, stumps and cypress knees. You’ll get hung up a lot, but if you can put up with the aggravation, you may catch some big bass.
I’ll fish a ½-ounce black/blue Stone Jig with a black/blue crawfish trailer slowly on 26-pound fluorocarbon and a 7-foot-7, heavy action FX Custom Rod. I’ll bump this jig off every piece of structure and the cypress trees’ root systems.
Before I throw the Stone Jig, I’ll often fish a Tokyo Rig, a modification of a drop-shot rig that won’t hang up in the brush. I’ve had good luck with fishing the Tokyo Rig in gnarly, brushy places.
I’ll Texas rig a 4-inch, black/blue crawfish on a 4/0 wide-gap hook with a 90 degree bend. The Tokyo Rig comes with a hard wire that’s 3 inches long. I’ll put a 3/8-ounce weight on the bottom of the wire and bend it up to 90 degrees to hold the weight on. The wire and the lead will be under the artificial crawfish. The lead will slide up and over stumps and brush without getting hung.
When fishing Bogue Homa in February, you may not catch 20 bass in a day, but if you catch 8 or 10, you should have one or two very nice bass.
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