Bass anglers can pick easier lakes than Badin to fish in February, especially those with warm-water discharges from power plants. But Badin has the potential to be a great winter fishery, and few lakes can match it for scenery, as this Yadkin River impoundment meanders through the gentle slopes of the ancient Uwharrie Mountains.
Normally the water in this 5,350-acre reservoir is the clearest of all the Yadkin lakes, but not so last Saturday, as melting snow and muddy runoff filled the lake to frustrate anglers, all lured from their homes by sunshine and temperature in the 60s.
Jack Watts and Larry Stauch from Albemarle, however, boated a 20-pound stringer to best 26 other teams during a wildcat tournament. Their five fish included one that almost made six pounds. They culled about 15 bass to get a limit.
“This lake changes every day,” Watts said. “Two days ago I fished here and never got a bite. This time of year the best thing you can throw is a jig.”
A black/blue jig with a matching trailer worked for him, he said. About 11:00 a.m., the fish started biting.
According to Watts, warmer water was the key to finding bass. He and Stauch fished shallow while watching the water temperature, which never topped 50 degrees all day.
“The most important thing is to find pockets of warm water, because three or four degrees can make a big difference,” he said. “These fish are trying to move up shallow to feed. We found balls of shad all over the lake.”
Stauch said anglers should slow down for winter bass at Badin. According to Stauch, he can land bass with crankbaits, spinnerbaits or Alabama rigs.
“A lot of people make the mistake of going down the bank too fast at this time of year,” he said. “Use smaller baits and fish them slower on the sunny side of the lake.”
A bonus of winter fishing at Badin is the lack of boat traffic. On warmer days, anglers can peel down to short sleeves by the end of the trip to enjoy the sun.
Watts said serious bass anglers could do more than beat the winter blues at Badin.
“You will catch your biggest bass of the year at Badin from now until the middle of March,” he said.