February is when many of the truly giant bass of the year are caught. The biggest baddest bass in every lake need to eat and they eat a lot before they spawn.
Knowing where to find these lunkers and what to throw to them will have you smiling before many of your fellow fishermen even wet a line.
Location. Spots adjacent to spawning areas are obvious places to look. So points, and drop offs, and channels or ditches near big spawning areas are key. Many fish in the south spawn way earlier than most people realize and these are often the biggest fish.
Lure: A Carolina-rigged Culprit Water Dragon will tempt hungry fish as it provides the size and action that big fish want. The Culprit Water Dragon is designed for multiple techniques, but the lateral lines and the flared gills are designed for lifting and gliding of the bait when C-rigged.
Tackle: A 7- to 8-foot heavy action rod, fast gear ratio reel, 14- to 16-lb. line and you are ready. On the business end, weight will vary keeping depth in mind and mood of the fish. But generally 1/2 oz. is a good place to start for water depths 3 to10 feet where you will be targeting pre-spawn fish. If you are wanting to cover water faster, a heavier weight will allow bottom contact at a faster pace. Often I choose a heavy weight and slow it down when I feel cover or bottom composition change.
How: Break out the map and look for larger areas of shallow water and any drops or contours on the map that are tight together nearby. Fish near those drops and don’t get discouraged after the first few casts, often the fish will be in big schools on a few locations in any given lake. The Water Dragon has a larger profile and these early season fish like a big meal. Once you find them, stay around as fish will be coming to you from deeper water. IF the lake or river you are fishing is blown out with mud or it’s still in the low 40’s, this is probably not your best technique. If it is relatively stable and the weather is in the 50’s or low 60’s, this technique is golden on the “biggins.”