Make jigs your February faves

Jigs become productive bass baits when fish are concentrating on crawfish, as they are in late winter and early spring.
Jigs become productive bass baits when fish are concentrating on crawfish, as they are in late winter and early spring.

Big bass, jigs just go together

If bass pro Davy Hite is ever identified with a single lure, it would be a jig. He admits it’s his favorite bait, especially when it comes to targeting big fish, which makes it his favorite bait in February and March.

Hite, a former Bassmaster Classic champion and BASS Angler of the Year who retired several years ago to work as an announcer on Bassmaster Live TV, leaves no doubts.

“I think February is a perfect month to fish a jig and crawfish trailer,” he said. “The water temperature is usually in the low 50s, which is perfect jig weather. It’s a great time to catch a big fish, and a jig is a perfect bait for a bit fish. The two sort of go together.

“If you keep a jig in the water, sooner or later, you’ll get a big bite.”

The key, Hite said, is knowing that bass are hunting for crawfish as winter begins to give way to the approaching spring.

Simple shades of brown and natural colors are often perfect color combos when fishing jigs in late February, especially if you’re fishing in relatively clear water.
Simple shades of brown and natural colors are often perfect color combos when fishing jigs in late February, especially if you’re fishing in relatively clear water.

“There are a lot of different thoughts on why big fish will bite a jig,” Hite said. “I’ve heard biologists say there’s a lot of protein in crawfish, so it makes sense that a big female bass, with her eggs developing, preparing for the spawn, would want more protein. If deer can recognize which foods in the woods have the most protein, bass ought to be able to. Eating a big crawfish that’s high in protein would be important for a big, female fish.”

Hite’s favorite jig/craw combination is a half-ounce Buckeye Mop Jig with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog II — the latter a cross between a crawfish and a creature bait.

“A straight, brown jig is hard to beat,” Hite said. “I’ll choose the color of the trailer based on the color of the water. If the water is fairly clear, I’ll fish brown/amber or brown/green pumpkin. If the water is a little stained, I might fish black, orange or green pumpkin/chartreuse claws.”

Hite fishes deeper points and roadbeds early in the month when the water is still cold. As it warms, he said “fish are anxious” to move shallow, and a warm rain late in the month will help.

“When that happens, you can fish shallow and catch some really big fish,” he said. “They’re anxious to move up, you get a warm rain, and that water along the bank warms up. Those fish will move up a lot quicker than people think.”

Hite concentrates on any kind of rock he can find, because of the presence of crawfish around rocks.

“One thing I’ve learned that has helped me catch more fish is to pay attention to the kind of rock you’re fishing,” he said. “The rock on banks will vary from lake to lake. Sometimes, bass will get on one kind of rock or the other, and if you realize it, then you’re able to really pinpoint the kinds of spots where they’ll be holding. They might be on one kind of rock or the other, or they might be on the transition area, where you move from one kind of rock to another or from a rocky bank to something else.”

Hite said that bass will move up in February in waves, so he’ll spend more

“You won’t have loners on those kinds of places,” he said. “I’ll spend more time on a single place like that in February — if I catch a fish — than I’ll spend on a single place in any other month.”

Dan Kibler
About Dan Kibler 63 Articles
Dan Kibler is managing editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has been writing about the outdoors since 1985.