In the last two columns, we talked about how to deal with fronts when you’re picking your lures. It looks like the rest of the winter is going to be one front after another without a prolonged cold or warm period. So, it only makes sense in this final column to talk about how to find specific spots as the smallmouth move back and forth. We’ll start back in the creek and work our way out to the main lake.
When they’re in the creeks — warm weather, high water — they’ll relate to the channel in some way. For the most part, they’ll hang around points that run out to the channel. You’ll find the big ones on the deep side of the channel, right where the point hits it. The smaller fish will scatter but they’ll still be in the same general area.
As they move out, they usually follow the channel but remember it’s getting close to the spawn. That means they often stop anywhere they can find a flat spot near the channel break, especially if that flat spot is protected from the weather and if it gets a lot of sun. The best places seem to be on the inside of points (as you look back into the creek) and along the north or east bank. Start on the north back. It’s almost always best because it gets the most sun.
Once they get out into the main lake things change. The best fish are usually found on the east bank as you exit the creek. That bank catches most of the sunshine and gets lots of wind and wave action. That pushes the plankton towards the shore. The baitfish follow and the smallies follow them.
The east bank will only be good, though, if there’s deep water nearby. That’s what makes everything come together. Don’t worry about fishing gravel, rock, points, drops or bluffs. Just look for deep water. If you can’t find deep water go to another creek. There’s no point in fishing if the fish aren’t there.
Sometimes the fish will move slowly along the creek channel as they head towards the main lake. Take you’re time. Make sure you aren’t fishing over them. Cover everything. They do the same thing when it warms up and they move back into the creeks. They do not, however, waste any time moving from the creek mouth to the east bank. Don’t waste time fishing the open water between those two places.
That should hold you for awhile. In most parts of the country, it’s still winter and will stay that way until sometime in late February or early March. Once you know where the bass are and how they’re reacting to the weather, you can make a good lure choice regardless of where you’re fishing.
Next time we’ll talk about a well-kept February fishing secret that my friend Cobby Hayes taught me before he passed away. I’ll reveal it next week, and it’ll blow your socks off.