The Point of the Story

By Capt. James McManus

Assuming the water is not rock-hard at this point, it’s the start of the best fishing months. February always was a favorite of mine because of the chance to catch the biggest smallie of the year.

As they get ready for the spawn there are several factors that put them within reach of us anglers. First they are feeding heavily, adding weight along with egg sacs that are swelling more every day, so they are a lot like me after Thanksgiving and Christmas cookies, fudge and pie…blowed up. They are searching for spawning areas along shore, so back to the banks. They are also shallow, so all baits come into play.

Points are where I start my search for mama. I used to look for all rock but seems like points with a little clay or dirt mixed in are the best. Guess crawdads need that to bury up in and that is one of Mama’s fave snacks. Rarely do you catch one that doesn’t have a part of a pincer sticking out of their throat. May just mention that along with smallies, especially at Fontana, you will definitely be catching big spots. It’s sad that they are pushing out the small mouth, but they are super fun to catch, and they are so plentiful I don’t mind bringing some home. Please release all the pure strain smallies; spots taste better anyway.

Some good points are Forney, Greasy Branch, Hazel and any near points 7, 6 and 5. My two best baits are Kietechs and X- raps. There’s just something about snatching that jerk bait, pausing and then have it load up that I like even better than top water, which also works. Haven’t had a trip in 10 years when there hasn’t been a rod right at hand with an eighth ounce jig head and a natural colored Kietech hanging ready to throw. Go to the bank and just let it fall, following the slope down to about 45-50 feet. Shallow in Fontana is relative and with super clear winter water, fish have no problem seeing thirty or forty feet to your bait.

Well, dress warm, let folks know where and when you intend to fish, wear your life jacket and enjoy some of the best action of the year. Thank God for our beautiful lakes, and holler if you want to go.

Later, Capt. James

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125