February is feast or famine

Published 12:01am Sunday, February 10, 2013

This week was so warm, I had to glance at the calendar several times just to make sure exactly what month it is.

Boats and motors are stacked up for service and repair. We are at wide-open throttle, pushing the tachometer to near redline with the outboard at full trim, getting the rigs out as fast as possible while maintaining quality work.

Deer season of most types has concluded as far as I know. The hunters joined us snow birds that have banged away at the bass tournaments throughout the fall and winter seasons. Twenty to 30 boats at the launch ramps doubled and will soon triple. The tranquil days of winter fishing on the “not so crowded” lakes are behind us, almost.

February is a feast or famine month in the fishing world. A prime example is this week. The week kicked off with lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s, but the sun never broke through the cloud cover. Without sunshine, the water is super slow to warm despite the 70-degree highs.

Early to mid-week, the surface water temperatures ranged from a cool 53-54 in the wind protected coves, ditches and flats to 54 to 56 degrees on the main lake. That’s backwards. Normally, the wind protected areas along the northwest shorelines as well as any cuts, pockets and canals would be 4 to 5 degrees warmer than the main lake.

The culprit was the heavy overcast sky that just would not let the sun shine through. That’s okay by me. I would much rather fish for pre-spawn bass than spawning fish. Pre-spawn fish will eat while spawning fish really don’t have eating on their romantic minds.

The fourth stop of the Top Rod Series bass tournaments cast off Saturday, when I was on my way at 5 a.m. to Lake Concordia out of Lakeview Lodge. I was looking to cast for some real cash against the best of the best in bass tournament anglers in the Top Rod Series, which is the highest payout, highest entry fee bass tournaments in the area. It brings out, no pun intended, the top rods in the area, as well as from miles away.

Hopes ran high among the contestants that the big sows would move from their winter homes to thin water. The air warmed to the 70s, but like I mentioned, the overcast sky only allowed the surface water temperature to warm only a few degrees. All conditions looked good with the forecast until this past Friday morning. I awoke before dawn as usual and felt a chill in the air, but it was still around 60 degrees.

By mid-morning, the weather “soothsayers” made the changes in their predictions as the air temperatures plummeted to 58, 55 and 48 degrees, and by Saturday morning, it was a chilly 43 degrees with rising barometric pressure.

Nothing will shut the fishing off faster than a warm few days followed by a February cold front. This front was a game-changer. Lures were clipped off and replaced by other lures that allow more precise and slower presentations, but you can never rule out the reaction bites than can be triggered by Rat-L-Traps fan cast in the flats and shallows between the piers or a square bill Bandit 100 bounced off a cypress root.

I have to go now. I still believe we will see some nice bass at the scales today Saturday, but for now I will rest because I know I am sore from yesterday’s casting, moving and casting. Good luck in your fishing adventures the remainder of this winter and on into the summer months.