Last night I couldn’t help myself at our weekly taco Thursday gathering. At the restaurant there were several tv’s but only one that I could barely see had the NCAA basketball tournament on and every once in a while, I would glance a look at the game and the scores. I may not be diligent about following divisional play during the regular season, but March Madness has always piqued my interest. At the same time another March madness has piqued my interest and that’s the March madness of finding and catching these spotted bass. So this week was the polar opposite of last week on the lake…..literally the polar opposite. Last week we had the mild temperatures, and the fish were basking in the warmth of the shallow water, eating their crawfish and having a good ole time then along comes mother nature with wintertime again.
Monday started with below freezing temperatures in the morning and a northwest wind that was brutal to any exposed skin. Luckily, I still have my winter fat lining to insulate my body, much like the down on a bird, which helps me from getting cold. The only part that’s bothersome about these cold mornings is that my hands get cold, and I don’t like wearing gloves for a few reasons. Once my hands get wet, they get cold and that is uncomfortable. Such was the case on Monday morning when I started out. I was catching fish almost immediately at my first stop and the area I was fishing was shaded from the morning sun. That made it even more cold but on the other hand the fish were biting so it was a pain vs pleasure kind of morning. On Monday I was still catching some fish shallow and with the post front conditions, and a brisk wind the best thing to do was sit on the ends of west facing points with spot lock engaged and making fan casts downwind with my back to the cold wind. Even though it was cold the fish were moving around these areas feeding so it was just a matter of dragging the worm slow. When I say slow, I mean slow. Soaking the worm became an option for me this week.
Just to give you an example, I ran into Jeff Nail and Rafael Q out on the lake Wednesday, and we were chatting on spot lock on the end of a point. I made a cast and just let the worm set on the bottom. I kept the slack out of my line as the worm sat on the bottom and about 3-5 minutes into our conversation, I felt a tiny tick on my line, and I reeled down on a running fish. That worm had sat there on the bottom for a while, lifeless, and along comes a bass and picked it up. Just a couple hours later I run into Jimmy Sanders in the creek, and we start chatting out on the end of a point. I made a cast during our conversation and once again, mid-conversation, worm soaking, another bass picked it up and I reeled down on another running fish. That’s kinda the way the whole week was, just work the bait slowly.
Tuesday and Wednesday were the same deal, windy points with a few dock runs here and there but the biggest bang for the buck was still rocky secondary points in the wind with staging fish. The biggest observation I had for the week was the fact that a lot of fish slowly moved out to deeper water as the week progressed. To give you an idea of how the fish moved, I was putting the boat on spot lock early week in 16-17 feet of water and making my cast to the shallower water but by yesterday I was spot locking in 16-17 feet of water and making my casts out to deeper water. I caught fish in 5-15 feet of water on points early this week, but they slowly pulled out as the water cooled a few degrees because of the cold snap and by yesterday they mainly came from 20-25 feet of water. This happens in March just about every year and the bass usually don’t go far. It won’t be long till the move back up shallow looking for that warmer shallow water. I only needed one rod on the deck this week and I only used one type of worm. With the exception of ambushing a very large striper on a 2.8 Keitech feeding with some loons inside the Marina, my bait of choice this week was shaky head in the wind on secondary points for the win.
This is kinda typical for March Madness and usually the back-to-back fronts can be frustrating but there’s 2 things to keep in mind; first is that the fish are going to be eating in March and the second is that the wind is your friend in March. The lake is just below full pool and the water temps are somewhere in the low to mid 50’s. The corps isn’t really generating a whole lot right now but the good part is that the fish are eating pretty regularly. Some fish may be a little deeper on those points until things warm up a bit.
On Monday evening last week I got to sit down with my friend Jack Young, who has a podcast called “The Seasoned Sportsman” and we did a 3 hour podcast for his YouTube page. Here’s the video below and a few fish pictures from my week.