By the time February rolls around I am fairly desperate for some warm water action. Unfortunately winter’s icy grip still has a hold on most of my bass locations. For the sake of consistency my thoughts should be focused on trout. My plans should revolve around drilling hard water or chasing finslappers in the tail sections. But the heart wants what the heart wants and with signs of open water and a possible warm trend I set my weekend fishing sights for bass. Probably not one of my better ideas.
To make matters worse, this was another situation where the weather-heads set me up for failure. On Monday the weekend forecast called for a high of nearly 50-degrees. The ponds showed signed of open water and my head started to fill with dreams of bucketmouth and bronze bass. However, by Wednesday it looked severely worse and Saturday morning there was several inches of fresh snow on the ground. High temps were looking to be 30, maybe 35 degrees if I was lucky. The freezing weather complicated things greatly and left me with the struggle of finding any open bass water.
After burning half a tank of gas and most of my windshield wiper fluid I finally reach a pond showing some open water. A quarter of the lake is open on the north side with a smaller slice of no-ice on the south side. Most of the exposed areas were shallow. This left me searching for any deep spots that might possibly provide access to fish. Thankfully the ice had receded past a few inclines and drop-offs.
The first spot that I stopped at was ideal with a short shallow section at my feet and a steady incline to deep water. At the base of the incline was rock structure that I had viewed a few years back when water was very shallow. The lure was tossed at the edge of the ice and dropped in the water without so much as a ripple. It sank slowly to the bottom where it lie motionless aside from the occasional “thump” noise I would make from tiny popping movements with the rod tip. After many moments of waiting one of the “thump” movements was met with significant resistance. This didn’t feel like a fish strike. More like a stick, rock or slow moving non-fish object. As I lifted the rod tip and gave the reel a few cranks the rock-stick-nofish thing came to life and I had realized a fish battle was on my hands.
The fish put up a sturdy fight considering there was little cover for it to use against me and well it is February. Largemouth bass take a little bit longer for their circulatory system to react in colder water compared to trout or other species more suited to cold temperatures. Northern strains that are introduced into Colorado do feed in winter but it is a slow motion lifestyle.
For this trip I relied on my 6’-6” medium\heavy rods on my usual 6lb mono. Pitching tube jigs and soft jerkbaits on a 3” EWG hook, weightless. The 5” shad assassin in white (Alewife) was what caught the scrapper. Dying minnow presentation, slow, slow, slow.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.