Fishing the dead of winter

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rob McComas with a largemouth bass. (photo submitted)

Rob McComas with a largemouth bass. (photo submitted)

February fishin’ is about as tough as it gets. The cold blooded critters we chase get rather lethargic at the water temps drop into the low 40s, and even the 30s, making their meals few and far between.

That being said, fish can be caught in the dead of winter, and if things line up just right, some of your biggest fish can come in the midst of winters grip.

Probably the most tried method of winter fishing is going during a warm spell. The milder winters we are having makes this less of an oddity, but still, above average temps bring anglers out of retirement to have a go at it. There are a few things to remember about fishing during a warm spell.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

One is water warms much slower than air. And while a day or two in the sixties makes us feel like getting out, the water may still be a balmy 38-44 degrees. It take several days of warmth, the big factor is warm nights, to make a change in the water. And while your water temp guage on your boat may read 4-6 degrees warmer in the afternoon than it did that very same morning, that is only the top foot or so of water.

But when it’s getting closer to winters end, the days start getting longer, and the urge for fish to spawn increases, fish can go extremely shallow in backs of coves to soak up the warmth of that upper water column. You may even see a lot of very big fish hovering near the edge of docks or a laydown, but don’t get too excited. These fish are extrememly spooky. Casting anywhere within 15 ft. will usually send them directly to deep water. These fish are not feeding, just warming, some say warming their eggs.