January 31, 2019
Brian Barton told us, "The fishing this month will be directly tied to the daily weather patterns. Historically, February has provided a mix of pleasant sunny days and then bitterly cold windy days in which to fish. If we get stable weather for three or four consecutive days the fishing can be great. Fish will begin to move up in the water column and become more active. Catfish this month will still be in deeper water in most areas. Look for fish along humps and ledges in 25 to 35 feet of water. Hog Island and Cox Island will be good choices to search for both trophy and eating size catfish. Fish will be grouped tightly so once a school is located several fish can be caught. This is the best month of the year to catch catfish along the bluff walls on Wilson and Pickwick Lakes. To target these fish I side troll ½ ounce Mister Twister Striper Lightnin Jigs tipped with crappie shiner minnows. I attach two jigs two feet apart to 30 pound test Vicious braided fishing line. I fish the jigs on a 7 foot medium action BnM Silvercat rod with an ABU 6500 LC3 reel. The line counter on the reels allows me to present my jigs at the precise depth I'm marking fish. I troll the jigs from .4 to .7 mph depending upon the mood of the fish. The more active the fish the faster you can pull your jigs. As a catfish guide I use many different tactics and baits. In late winter and early spring this method puts more one to five pound cats in the cooler than anything else I've found. Jigs with red head and white hair will out produce all other colors two to one. I'm convinced whether it's a jig, spoon, or simply using a red circle hook when fishing cut baits, the red color will always produce more strikes. For this reason I always use Daiichi bleeding bait hooks for all my natural and live bait fishing.
Tailrace fishing below Wilson and Wheeler dams will be good. Generation will normally be greater in the morning hours so try to fish during peak current flow when possible. The big smallmouth will begin to move up for the spawn and catfish will position at the base of the dams feeding on shad. Drifting live shad will produce a mixed bag of fish this month. Live shad fished anchored on a Carolina rig will be your best bet for bigger fish."
For guide trips for Catfish, Striper, or live bait fishing, contact Brian Barton at [email protected] or visit the website at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com."