Nick Roser was catching a few small bass on Jan. 10 at Mountain Island Lake, but the wind was blowing hard, so he decided to find a cove in hopes of getting out of the 15-mph gusts. The move led him to his biggest largemouth yet, a 9.3-pounder.

“It was just so windy that day, and I had caught a few small bass. I went to an isolated cove that I’ve caught some big fish in before, and I started casting a jerk bait around some riprap. On the second or third cast, the fish grabbed it and I set the hook,” said Roser, who lives on the lake and fishes it often out of his aluminum boat.

Roser got on the lake around 2 p.m., and he caught the big fish around 4 p.m. He said aside from the riprap, another thing that attracts bass to that cove is that it is about 3-feet deep and drops off quickly to 10-feet deep.

“I knew it was a good spot for big fish. I caught an 8.7-pounder in the same spot two years ago,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to catch big fish here this month. It’s kind of a gruel to fish in the cold, but the fish are here, and this time of year, I’ve caught my share of 6- and 7-pounders in the month of January over the past few years.”

Roser said this lake is overlooked and under-appreciated by anglers. It sits between Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, which are both bass-fishing hotspots, which may partly explain why so many anglers ignore it. 

“A lot of people don’t give Mountain Island Lake much credit, but it’s got some really good bass in it, and it doesn’t require a big boat to fish it. In the last few years especially, some really big fish have been caught here,” said the 17-year-old Roser, who attends Lincoln Charter School in Denver.

Roser was using an Abu Garcia Pro Max reel on a 6-foot, 6-inch long Falcon rod.