|OK, Santa has come and gone, you're finishing up the last of those turkey salad sandwiches made from the leftovers and the Aggies have won the Sugar Bowl (I hope!!!!!) THE Boat Show is coming up and those pesky NFL playoffs still aren't over. If you're not careful, you'll spend more time in January with a TV remote in your hand than you do a bass rod. Now I'll be the first to admit that some of these January days are much better adapted to cruising the fishing aisles than cruising Kickapoo Creek, but there are still some outstanding bass fishing opportunities available. When thinking
about January bass fishing, remember one thing - Timing is Everything. Following are some quick tips on how to get the timing right this month.
Tip No. 1
Don't Fight Mother Nature. When it's 30° and sleeting outside, just put another log on the fire and grab those reels that have been needing cleaning since back in the summer. Replace those bad rod guides and those rusty hooks on your favorite bait. You can even do this at hunting camp at night and between hunts during the day. You don't want to have to take any of those precious spring days fixin' equipment or worse yet, you don't want to lose that fish of a lifetime in February just because the line that you put on last summer is so old and frayed that it won't hold up. And what about the boat? Now's a good time to change that lower unit grease, pull the props (outboard and trolling motor) and check for fishing line and the grease seals. Check the batteries and make sure they're full of water and fully charged. Check the hydraulic fluid in the trim and tilt unit.
Maybe it's time to check those spark plugs. Or maybe it's something a little more major that needs to be repaired in a shop. Now's the time. If you wait till spring, you may have to wait for weeks of good fishing weather to get your rig out of the shop. Another good thing to do on these kinds of days is to check out one of the boat shows. The biggest one of the entire Southwest will be at the AstroHall/AstroArena Complex on Jan. 7th thru the 16th (Thurs. thru Sun.). Come by and see me at the Lake Livingston Area Tourism Council booth or the Lakecaster booth in the AstroArena. Also I'll be giving bass fishing seminars on Wed. Jan. 13th at 7:30 pm and on Sat. Jan 16th at 1:00 pm in the AstroHall. The subject of my seminars is going to be "Springtime Bassin' on Lake Livingston." Come by and visit, I look forward to seeing you.
Pick Your Days. The very best days to catch a bass in January are going to be those warm days immediately preceding the arrival of the next cold front. All it takes to get the bass active in the back of those coves is one or two relatively warm days with some sunshine. Look in the very back of those well protected coves that open to the south and west. These are least exposed to the cold north winds are will warm the quickest. Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, jigs, sluggo's and wacky worms should be the most productive baits.
Sleep Late, Stay Late. The easiest bass fishing in January is going to be on the afternoons of those 60° - 70° days after the water has had a chance to warm up. This can also work real well for a morning squirrel or duck hunt and an afternoon of bassin'. Many times the fishing gets better as the day goes along and peaks at around 2 hours before dark.
Be There At First Light. Regardless of time of year and weather conditions, there is always going to be a flurry of feeding activity at daylight. On bad days it may only last 20 or 30 minutes. On good days, it may last 60 to 90 minutes. Mike Metzler won the B.A.S.S. tournament in early December on Rayburn last year in brutal, post-frontal conditions and he caught every one of his bass in the first 20 minutes of each day. I was helping the Bassmaster's TV crew for that tournament and on the final competition day, the air temperature at daylight was 22. Metzler was leading after the first day, but on the second day he was in the last flight and got to Veach Basin late and only caught 2 keepers before they shut down. On the last day, he was in the first flight, got to his spot early, and caught the biggest stringer of the whole tournament to nail down the win. So if you can't stay late or if the conditions aren't going to warm up during the day, then be at your best spot at first light and make those first few casts of the day count.
I sincerely hope that at least some of the information that I have provided was enlightening or maybe entertaining but most of all helpful and educational. If you would like some first hand instruction on black bass fishing on Lake Livingston or Sam Rayburn, I guide full time on both of these lakes and can be reached at (409) 563-4063. Until next month, catch all you can and release all that you catch. Good luck, be safe out there and may God bless.