Historically, February is one of the craziest months for bass fishing ,with 50- to 70-degree weather one day and 20- to 30-degree weather the next.
February is a spawning month for the bass at Bogue Homa. We’ll have some early spawners that move up when the weather’s warm and some late spawners that will hold near the dam when the weather’s cold. So, the weather will determine how and where I’ll fish.
At this time of year, you can catch a very big bass at Bogue Homa. Most fish there will spawn from the first to the middle of February, weather permitting. On warm days, I’ll concentrate primarily on small clumps of lily pad stems where the early spawners will show up first. I’ll start fishing with a 3/8-ounce, black/blue bladed jig on a 6.4:1 Bruin reel with 23-pound test White Peacock fluorocarbon on a 7-foot-4 heavy action FX Custom Rod.
I’ll cast to either side of the lily pad stems, use a relatively slow retrieve, pause the bait once it reaches the clump and then restart the retrieve. These clumps will be in very shallow water — only 2 to 3 feet deep. You don’t want the bladed jig to fall all the way to the bottom. By pausing the bait, the lure will stop and drop a few inches and may cause a reaction strike.
Big, cypress bass
However, the lake is full of old cypress stumps, logs and trees. Your boat may be sitting in only 2 feet of water, and you’ll have a tough fight with those stumps and standing cypress trees, but that’s where the bigger bass will hold. You’ll have to fight the cover to get into position to make a cast. Once you get hooked up, you’ll have to fight hard to get a nice bass out of that thick cover.
Most bass anglers won’t go to war with this environment and risk losing as many bass as they hook. However, I believe the effort is well worth the price you pay. An area in the northeastern part of the lake has lanes in it, and the very back end of the middle lane is home to a place that has proven for me to be the most productive for February bass.
Because the water at Bogue Homa is so shallow, generally you’ll see the bass move when you cast and the lure hits the water, or when the bass misses the bladed jig. When that happens, I’ll fish with a 7-foot-4 FX Custom spinning rod with 10-pound bass braid tied to an 8- to 10-foot leader of 8-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon that I tie together with a J-knot.
I’ll cast a green pumpkin Spring-R worm back to the spot where I’ve seen the bass. It may take the worm when it’s falling, but if it doesn’t, I’ll let the worm sit motionless on the bottom for some time. The bass still may be looking at the worm, move closer to it and then inhale it. You’ll probably feel a peck on your line and see the line moving off to the side. That’s when you set the hook. I don’t put a weight in front of the worm, and I don’t cast it more than 30 to 40 feet to the spot where I’ve seen the bass move.
When you’re fishing 10-pound leader and hook a big bass, getting it out of that cover requires all the fishing and landing skills an angler has. However, I prefer to get the bite and then worry about how I’ll get the bass out of the cover instead of not getting the bite at all.
Fish ditch turns
Once a cold front comes through an area, the female bass will pull out of the shallow water and hold on ditch turns lined with big cypress stumps. I’ll usually fish a red Baby 1-Minus crankbait there. The top banks of the ditches will be 1½ to 3 feet deep, and the bottoms 4 to 5 feet deep. You want the crankbait to hit the top of the ditch. A big female will usually attack the lure when it bounces off the stump. I’ll be fishing with a 7-foot-1, medium-action/light-tip FX Custom rod with a 6.4:1 Bruin reel and 20-pound fluorocarbon, using a medium retrieve.