Fayette County Fishing Report
February, this is one of the two months we all look forward to on Fayette. Your chance to catch a trophy bass will never be better in addition you have a shot at good numbers of fish! The big sows will be moving into shallow water and they will only have one thing on their mind.
Pay close attention to the weather in January. As of this writing, we are actually having a winter for a change! If the weather in January stays cold, look in early February, for fish in the traditional deep water locations: humps, creek channels and the discharge. If the weather has warmed look for fish on the secondary points and other staging areas. This is where the fun begins!
Remember, two events trigger the beginning of the spawn: water temperature and available light. As the water temperature moves into the low 60s, the instinctual spawning ritual begins. On Fayette there will be 62-65 degree water in January so, for some bass, the spawn starts early. For others, they will wait for another sign from Mother Nature in the form of longer periods of daylight. The full moon in February is the 8th so some fish will be ready to spawn then while others will wait until the full moon on March 9th. All this means that the weather conditions will be critical this year.
Some fish will still be holding in traditional winter haunts: deep humps and creek channels. For them, I generally use a ¾ ounce spoon. Recently though, I have been experimenting with the new Ledgebuster spinnerbaits in the 1.5 ounce size. I have been using these monsters with a good bit of success along the major river channels in anywhere from 20-20 feet of water. Simply, slow roll these weighty blades along the creeks and hold on. Make sure you are using stout line and a good rod. I prefer to throw these baits on 14 pound P-Line, using a medium-heavy, Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris rod. This technique can produce some really nice bass still holding deep.
The first places I will look for pre-spawn bass will be the secondary points. Pay attention to the wind. If the prevailing wind has been from the south, begin with the points on the west side of lake near the discharge. They will warm first. If the wind has pushed the warm water from the north, move to the baffle dike and fish the rip-rap. Be aware, these conditions change rapidly. The week of this writing saw the wind blow one day from the south at 30, the next from the north at 25 and the third from the east at 15. Needless to say, pay attention to the cold fronts as they pass.
The secondary points are excellent staging areas and you can, under the right conditions, sit on one all day and catch fish. I start off with a Norman Deep Baby N crankbait in a sunshine color. This bait will dive 8-10 feet on ten pound test line. I try to sit in about 12-14 feet and cast either to the shore line (when looking for fish) or parallel to the shore once I have determined a depth the fish seem to be holding on. When I make contact with grass I will pause and then rip it out with my rod. This can produce vicious strikes.
Many others, in these conditions, will be throwing a spinnerbait and these too, can prove to be quite effective. I prefer throwing the Lunker Lure Vibratron blades. They produce a lot of flash and yet still have plenty of vibration. Still other techniques on these secondary points can be successful. Some will throw lipless baits and in that mode, I prefer the Yo-Zuri ½ ounce rattlin vibe (baby bass) or a Bill Lewis ½ ounce white crawfish. One final method would be to throw a short Carolina rig with either a lizard or centipede. Watermelon with a chartreuse tail is my bait of choice.
Once the fish (and you) round the corner into the coves be ready for some shallow water action. I will always have a jerkbait tied on during this month. Fish it very slowly, rod tip down, twitching and pausing as you go. When a fish hits, remember the pattern of twitches and pauses for the next. A black, orange belly is my go to jerkbait color. Soft jerkbaits can also produce some nice fish. I like the Zoom Fluke in shallow (2-4) feet and a Slug-Go at bit deeper. The colors may vary but with the Fluke I begin with watermelon/red with a chartreuse tail. When using the Slug-Go, I use a shad color which I doctor by adding red gills and a chartreuse tail. I prefer to throw my soft jerkbaits on 40# SpiderWire with a 12# XPS fluorocarbon leader. Be sure to use a good swivel, it will prevent line twist and add a bit of weight to your bait.
Dont forget the wacky worm during the spawn either. I use a Zoom watermelon/red or watermelon/pearl, Trick Worm with a chartreuse tail and a straight shank, 2/0, round bend Gamakatsu hook. Some folks like to use a hook with a weed guard, I believe that impacts hook setting in a negative way. Cast the worm over the bed and hold on. What creature can tolerate something hanging above or gently falling over its head. Some of my best days fishing for spawning fish been on the wacky worm.
Another new technique to employ if you plan on sight fishing is to drop shot the beds. Drop shotting has been around for a while but this year it seems to have hit a popular note. Fishing spawning beds with a drop shot can meet with great success. Cast the bait past the bed and then slowly drag in back into the bed right on the nose of that big bass. Then, simply let it sit, slightly jiggle it a bit and wait for that much anticipated strike. I have usde a lizard or a tube for this type of fishing but thi syear I am anxious to try the new Berkley, drop shot minnow, Power bait. It has a great look and, of course, that famous Berkley scent.
Remember to dress in layers. The afternoon will warm and you will need to strip down a few layers but those mornings will chill you to the bone if you are not properly dressed. Always wear your life jacket when that big motor is running and make sure the pre-teen set keep theirs on all the time. No fish, if worth a life. Be considerate of others out there. They are looking for a good time as well. This is a crowded month on the lake so try to fish during the week if you can.
On a final note, I want to thank all the folks that came by the Bass Pro Shops booth at the Houston Boat Show. It was nice to see you all and get a chance to talk fishing. I hope to see many of you at the BPS Spring Fishing Classic at the Katy store. It will run from March 22 through the 25. If you would like to book a trip to Fayette give me a call (281) 499-3799, email (FishingCoach@aol.com) or check out my website: http://www.compassnet.com/fishcoach. Now go get that springtime bass of a lifetime!
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