Carters: Level: 3.5 feet above full. Temp: 44 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: February can be a tough month on Carters. “Fish are scattered all over the lake,” said Buddy Callahan at Bart’s Bait & Tackle. Then again, it can be a great time to catch a magnum spotted bass. Right now, spots can be caught on several tactics. Buddy says the weather is a critical component to your fishing success this month. “These fish can turn on and off so fast this time of year you can hardly believe it,” Buddy said. During cold, clear days, fish will likely be holding tight to structure. Locate deep brushpiles and man-made structure on your electronics, and jig a spoon. On January 13, Buddy located tons of bait around underwater structure in 18 feet of water near the dam, but the fish can be anywhere in the water column. Some fish can be caught shallow on clay banks, especially in sun-warmed areas, so keep a jig or a Texas rig handy. A drop-shot rig can be deadly on Carters during the cold weather as well. Buddy suggests using a 1/4-oz. weight to fish down to 30 feet and a 1/2-oz. below that. Don’t discount the idea of catching fish in water as deep as 60 feet in February. “Fish can be down as deep as 60 feet this time of year, and they can be caught down there,” Buddy said. During periods when the weather stays warm for several days in a row, a crankbait bite could be strong on big flats near deep water. “The fish will be near ledges,” Buddy said. Use a color you are confident in and try to locate fish in 20 feet or less of water where a shelf drops into a channel or ditch. People live baiting for striped bass are just as likely to hook into a big spot this month. “A four-pounder on live bait is very common,” Buddy said. For more information on Buddy’s February tactics, check page 32.
Linesides: “They are very unpredictable right now,” Buddy said. “They could be from on the surface to 60-feet deep.” You have to keep trying different tactics until you find out what’s going on. Pull live trout on downlines, flatlines and planer boards. Some days you can catch a bunch, and some days it will be extremely tough. Buddy said an evening bite is probably the best bet right now. Some anglers are having good success pulling umbrella rigs right now as well.