Fishing & Boating News

January Is The Time To Start Getting Ready For Pre-spawn

by: Ricky Vandergriff,

Ricky Vandergrif with a really nice big bass.
Photo by courtesy Ricky Vandergriff
Another One for Ricky.
Photo by courtesy Ricky Vandergriff
(Dec. 30, 2010 - Tyler, TX) Now that Christmas is over and the new year is here I hope everyone had the best Christmas of all and I hope you got plenty of fishing stuff from Porters Sporting Goods on Lake Palestine so that you can join me this year fishing two of Texas best lakes ever Lake Palestine and Lake Fork. At Porters Sporting goods on Lake Palestine you can purchase just about every thing I use except my Shimmy Shakers, my diamond head jigs and my Lake Fork 430 special spinner bait but you can count on Greg and his friendly staff to help you find everything else. Greg will be happy to point you in the right direction to find everything I talk about in my fishing articles and make sure you have plenty of new tackle when you come fish with me.

Now let's go fishing! You will find fishing in January can be kind of tricky due to the cold fronts and the warm days that we will have. The bass will feed up just before a cold front blows in and then they will get slow and hard to find when the front hits and this is a time for you to not worry so much about catching big numbers but a time to slow down and master your skills of fishing a jig -n -pig and a soft plastic worm.

When you fish on the warm days you can generally catch some good numbers on moving baits such as my 430 special spinner bait or my shimmy shaker and you can get them to hit red Rattle traps and Bomber 6A crank baits in a fire tiger or craw fish color. You can get out on the water just before the cold front hits and fish the lures I named above and at times load the boat with good numbers and big bass as well but if you want the really big bass learn to fish the cold front and the blue bird cold days. For those of you that don't know what a blue bird day is, this is a bright sunny cold day just after a front blows through and there are very few clouds to be found and this is probably one of our toughest times to catch bass, but if you will slow down a change your style of fishing you can still go home a winner.

Now let's talk about this tough time and what we will need to do to catch these big bass during the toughest time of the year.

The first thing I will do is re-rig my rods because what was working won't work as well during this time. When I rig my first rod I will rig it my Diamond Head Jig in a black/blue color and as a trailer I will rig it with a Uncle Josh 11A pork chunk, my next rod will be rigged with My Diamond Head 3/8 oz jig and my trailer will be a Mister Twister baby BA Hog. My jig will be Black Brown Amber color and my trailer will be water melon red, my next rod will be rigged with a black blue Mr. Twister Thunder Worm. The thunder worm has a ribbed wide tail to make the bait fall at a slower pace and the ribs make a slight noise as it falls. Now for my last rod I will rig. I will rig it with a tube jig in a green pumpkin color and I will dip it in my Spike-IT Dip N Glow Chartreuse garlic flavored dye. I will dip the tail only just to accent the bait and this will or should I say I feel that the bass will hold on to my bait a little longer with this garlic scent on the lure. You can also get Spike-It Garlic spray to use on your other lures and it really works good on them.

Now we have our rods rigged with what I think is the best lures made today for catching cold front bass. Now let's talk about how to fish them during this time.

First choose where your going to fish before you go to the lake and the type of water, whether your going to fish brush, creek channels, river channel, rocks or boat houses. If you will make this decision before you get to the water you will save time, gas and wear and tare on your rig. All these choices are good so pick out one today and dedicate your time today to fishing just one of the choices and not running all over the lake trying to fish them all in one day.

Now let's say we choose to fish a creek channel or a river channel, you will fish both almost the same way. I like to try and picture in my mind just how the bottom looked before there was water and then think about all the brush and other objects that may have gotten trapped in the bends next to all the stumps and trees left in the lake. When I get this pictured in my mind I will then think about where Mr. Bass will get to think he is hidden and then I will pitch my lure in a let it fall ever so slow down to the bottom and then I will pick up on my rod and jiggle my lure up and down in the same place two or three times and then I will reel my bait up about two turns and jiggle my lure up and down again. I will then pull up my lure and reposition it back into the spot again. I will normally give a bass about three chances and then I will move over to another spot.

When fishing the creeks and river channels I will concentrate on my bends and any lay downs that may be laying off the shore into the channel. These objects will be very productive so fish them very good and let me caution you to wait on your cast until you get strait out in front of the objects and then make short and accurate cast so that you can cover all the productive area and never make long cast to throw over the structure for this will in most cases spook your fish and you won't get any where if you rush into your cast .If you weight you could catch as many as three or four fish out of one top. The lures of my choice when fishing the creeks and river will be the jig n pig and the Baby BA Hog, both lures are great lures when fishing heavy cover.

Now let's say we choose to fish the points and brush piles. Here I will still fish the jig n pig and the Baby BA Hog but my first choice will be the crank bait. I will fish the crank bait first out in the deeper water and work myself in to the shallower water covering every inch of the point and after I fish the crank bait I will then go to my tube bait and then on to the jig and the Baby BA Hog. Fish slow and then when you think your fishing slow then slow down some more and this will help you to catch more of these hard to catch fish and when you do you can then go home a winner.

Now to fish boat houses I like to start by working my boat to one side of the house and fish the shore first and then begin working each set of post to work all the way round to the other side. My lures will be the crank bait first and then on to the plastic worm and the jig. Again I will fish very slow so that I cover every inch of each boat house I approach and when you find brush in under the house and out in front of the house I will tend to fish the brush even harder than I did the main portion of the boat house and when I take one fish from the brush I will pitch back in several times more to try and catch two or more to make a great day out of a hard fishing day.

When you fish the cold blue bird days be on your toes because you may not get that many bites but the fish you catch should and probably will be big fish and that's what most of us want when we go fishing.

Here's a fish I caught during a blue bird sky in the middle of the winner and if I can catch fish like this then so can you so get out there on the water and give it your best and I just bet when your day is through you will have reason to brag about your fish just as I did.

When we have those old cold days get out on the water and try fishing for the hard to get fish and this will make a better fisherman out of you.

Now I have told you how I fish these cold days but I haven't mentioned that this year will be a little tougher due to low water levels. We have had very little rain back in the Fall months and this has made our lakes very dangerous to fish. Most of our lakes are about three feet down and have lots of structure showing on top and count on it that if you see brush sticking up there will be more and another hazard will be sand bars. You can be running in depths of 5 to 10 foot and then run up on a shallow sand bar where there may only be 6 inches of water so be very careful until we get some water back in our lakes.

Lake Palestine and Lake Fork are both at least 3 feet low and both have the structure and sand bars that can be hit at this time.

Fishing over all has been very good with some really nice bass coming in up to about 9 lbs. And crappie have been very good under the bridges on jigs and minnows. White bass and Hybrid Stripe bass have been very good on main lake points on spoons and Mr. Twister Sassy Shads.

Until next month remember to keep only the fish you can use and release the rest so our kids can enjoy the great sport of fishing just as we have.

If your coming to Lake Palestine or Lake Fork and need a guide then give me a call at (903)561-7299 or (903)530-2201 and let's get you out on the water. Be sure to book early because in the spring I book way in advance and stay very busy so call now so you can get the day or days best for you.

If you would like to purchase any of the lures I build then you can order on line through my web site or you can call me at (903)561-7299 and I will build the lures of your choice.

For the ones out there that have purchased my lures I would like to thank you for your orders and hope you are catching good numbers and large fish on them and say it again thank you so much for your orders.

Good luck and Good fishing
Happy angler with a nice bass.
Photo by courtesy Ricky Vandergriff