Wouldn’t you know it?
About a month ago, I wrote that January should be a month when unseasonably warm temperatures prompt bass to move into shallower depths at Toledo Bend.
I based that on January of 2017, and the fact is winters just aren’t like they once were in Northwest Louisiana. Heck, multiple 10-pound-plus bass — some real hawgs — were caught last January.
Well, we’ve already experienced an Arctic cold front that swept through all of Louisiana. It dropped the lake’s water temperatures into the 40s, — something that hasn’t happened in quite some time, which means those bass anglers who have been scoring well on ½-ounce C.C. Spoons and tailspinners should continue to catch bass deep like they have been at times in December.
As for February, I foresee it being a lot like March as far as successful bass fishing patterns north to south and east to west on Toledo Bend. I believe bass anglers who want to fish the lake that was ranked No.1 two consecutive years by Bassmaster Magazine have to throw the old playbook away if they want to catch bass in February. Oh, sure, I’m positive some bassers will continue to catch bass in 25- to 35-foot depths on the aforementioned spoons and tailspinners, but that’s subject to change in February.
Why? Warmer temperatures aside, the pool level should be somewhere around 167 feet. Toledo Bend was low like that last year at this time ,and when the water warmed — even a little for several days — bass stormed the beaches in the back end of creeks and coves. That is likely again this year barring heavy rain in late January. Bass will seek those areas where the water temperature is 1 to 2 degrees higher than other areas, which makes the back end of creeks and coves hotspots if and when the water temperature rises into the 62- to 65-degree range, which normally happens in the afternoon. Yeah, you definitely don’t have to be an early bird to catch bass in February.
I’m talking about bass of all sizes, notably double-digit bass. Ten-pound-plus bass should make a major move to hit the beaches in February, just like they did last year.
Their aim is to get on their beds, but it remains to be seen how much bedding activity there might be. For sure, the big girls don’t have to have ideal conditions to swim into the shallows, get on a nest and lay their eggs. When those big ones are biologically ready, they’ll be there — it doesn’t have to be prime time.
If ever there’s a time to hook up with a double-digit bass, it should be sometime in February. It’s the pre-spawn. The key to getting them in the boat is to spend time on the lake, and the law of averages will eventually catch up with you favorably.
Last February, there were 10-pound-plus fish being weighed at official weigh stations two and three times a day sometimes.
Yes, I’m confident we’ll be looking at warmer days and warmer water at times. Sure, we’ll have cold fronts, but we’ll also have consecutive days of warm weather following them.
February’s going to be good. It might be up and down a little bit due to the systems. But stick with it and stay in the drains, the migration routes to the back end of creeks and coves, and when it warms up to the 60s or so, target bass in 8-foot depths and less.
What to throw? Search baits.
And the No. 1 lure in February is the ½-ounce Rat-L-Trap. I’ve got 100 Rat-L-Traps of different colors ready to go for February. Sometimes I’ll throw a ¾-ounce (Magnum) model, which the hawgs like to eat at times.
Color? This is the month to rely on Rayburn red, crawfish-colored and gold models of Rat-L-Traps.
Also try other search baits, like shad-colored ChatterBaits. They’ll be effective, too, as will the newest player, A-Rigs, which will continue to make a statement each February.
Jerkbaits? Generally, the water temperature usually has to be in the 70s for them to produce as consistently as Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits.
In late February and March, it’ll be high time to offer more Carolina-rigged soft plastics. Heck, the C-Rigs might work well in February, too.
And if and when bass are on their beds, soft plastics produce.
If you want to catch bass in February, I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re more than welcome in my boat. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.