January 31, 2018
By Ned Kehde
Mother Nature's wintry ways can make February a difficult time for Midwest Finesse anglers to get afloat in northeastern Kansas. During the past 13 Februaries, which encompassed 396 days, we were afloat 78 times, which is an average of six February outings each year.
When ice covers the flatland reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas we are relegated to fishing two power-plant reservoirs. But during February of 2017, my 77-year-old body, mind, heart, and soul could not muster enough gumption to make the 150-mile round trip to those warm-water reservoirs. One of them used to entertain us with some stellar largemouth bass fishing, but it has gone awry since the winter of 2013-14. At the other one, we are often harassed by the wind and too much angler predation.
Some of the 78 outings were solo endeavors, and at other times I was joined by another angler. During these 78 outings, we were afloat between 2 1/4 and five hours. On those outings, we caught 1,574 largemouth bass and 97 smallmouth bass, which is an average of 21 black bass an outing and about five black bass an hour. The best outing occurred on Feb, 9, 2012, when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 118 largemouth bass and nine crappie in four hours at one of the many community reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and we caught 102 of those 118 largemouth bass in about three hours. I suffered through my worst outing at that same community reservoir on Feb. 26, 2007, when I battled too much ice and a 37-degree surface temperature and failed to elicit a strike in two hours of fishing, and in an attempt to placate my fishing fever, I spent another two hours at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, where I failed to garner a strike.
During February of 2017, we fished nine times, which encompassed 27 hours. We caught 231 largemouth bass, and this is an average of 25 per outing and 8.5 per hour. The surface temperature on Feb. 1 was 38 to 39 degrees, and by Feb. 22, it was 50 degrees. The most fruitful outing occurred on Feb. 1 at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs, where I caught 51 largemouth bass in three hours and eight minutes on a Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig. The sorriest outing occurred at another community reservoir on Feb. 14, when I caught eight largemouth bass in three hours and 44 minutes.
Since 2011, we have published 72,583 words that describe how, when, and where anglers who employ Midwest finesse tactics catch or do not catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass at waterways in Arkansas, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas. The preponderance of these words revolves around the endeavors of anglers in northeastern Kansas and north-central Texas.
To read about how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers battle Old Man Winter and catch some black bass in February, here are the links to seven guides that will reveal their methods:
(2) http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/an-addendum-to-the-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-part-2/. This is the guide to February of 2012.
Here are some photographs of Midwest finesse anglers from past Februaries: