Februaries of the Pasts

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, with one of the 118 largemouth bass that we caught on Feb. 9, 2012.

When Mother Nature and Old Man Winter collaborate in February, they can keep Midwest finesse anglers at bay with astonishing regularity at many locales across the nation.

From Feb. 1, 2004, to Feb. 28, 2015, there were 339 days, and during that time, I was afloat only 62 times, which is an average of five February outings each year. When ice covered most of the northeastern Kansas reservoirs, these outings were spent at two power-plant reservoirs. The other outings were at several of the community and state reservoirs and one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs that stipple the countryside within a 40-mile radius of Lawrence, Kansas.

Some of the outings were solo endeavors, and at other times I was joined by another angler. During these 62 outings, we were afloat between 3 1/2 and five hours. We caught 1,218 largemouth bass and 97 smallmouth bass, which is an average of 21 black bass an outing and less than 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 a community reservoir in northeastern Kansas. And I suffered through my worst outing at that same 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 mollify my fishing fever, I spent another two hours at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, where I failed to elicit a strike.

Despite the weather woes and often onerous fishing, we have published 40,372 words since 2011 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, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas. The preponderance of these words revolves around the endeavors in northeastern Kansas and north-central Texas.

Ronny Denayer of Butler, Missouri, with one of the 73 largemouth bass that we caught on Feb. 13, 2014.

To read about how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers battle the winter-weather woes and catch some black bass in February, here are the links to five guides that will reveal their methods:

(1) http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/a-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-for-bass/.

(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.

(3) http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-february-2013/.

(4) http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-february-2014/. We ended the introduction to our February 2014 guide with the following paragraph, and we think that it is apropos to focus upon it again.

"In sum this month's guide to Midwest finesse fishing is rank with tales about failure. But perhaps the anglers who wrote them can garner some solace by pondering the keen insights of Sava Dimopoulous, who is a noted particle physicist at Stanford University. He said: 'Jumping from failure to failure with undying enthusiasm is the secret of success.' If we acknowledge the truth of Dimpoulous' insights, we will eventually understand that this trying winter provided us with some piscatorial wisdom that we would not have been able to ascertain any other way. So, here's hoping these 15 logs will provide readers with some insights to how difficult times and failures can make all of us better anglers"

(5) http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-february-2015-2/.

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