We are looking at another week--or at least a
few more days--before we can celebrate the vernal equinox, but there is
good news, and seemingly bad news (that can be good news) for bass fishermen
on that score.
Sounds like I am a bit confused, eh? Well, it
has been a spell since anyone risked the opinion that I am one of the sharpest
tacks in the box. But, over the years, I have learned some things about
springtime bass fishing, and I think one of the important bits of bass-fishing
savvy that has lodged in my faulty cerebellum lies in the fact that the
bad days of spring, weatherwise, can be great for bass fishing, even better
than the good days.
A bright and balmy spring day will offer good
bass fishing for the simple fact that bass have been lethargic since water
temperatures dropped below 50 degrees last fall. But as the sun started
its northern trek, a built-in mechanism pegged on the length of days told
the old girls it was time to get ready for a visit to the maternity ward
and their interest in food picked up.
Thus, just about any day in March or April is
a good day to fish for bass. A bad day, weatherwise, often is even better.
I have had good days of bass fishing on many raw
March/April days, but the day that comes first to mind was a day in the
early 1950s on a natural lake in northeastern Indiana.
Bill “Feed Bag” Myers and I, fellow employees
of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette had been conned into planning
a bass fishing outing by bright and balmy days. But on our day off the
weatherman seemed to be illustrating how nasty he could be.
We were greeted at the lake by strong wind and,
rain that was half sleet and snow. But we were there and decided to fish.
When our artificial lures were rendered ineffective
by aquatic weeds, we switched to live night crawlers on three-hook harnesses,
and simply “trolled” them out the stern of an old wood boat as the wind
swept us across the lake.
And while it was anything but pleasant for us,
we took several nice bass, the largest topping the five-pound mark.
The water, though wind driven to whitecaps, was
very clear that day. But a few years later a Monroe Reservoir bay of the
Crooked Creek area would unfurl another late-March bass fishing lesson.
This time the weather, though chilly, was fairly
decent. I had gone to the reservoir with the hope of finding early mushrooms,
but (as I often do) had taken spinning tackle and an assortment of favorite
The reservoir was eight or 10 feet above pool
stage, and that created a huge bay of muddy water lapping at the brush-infested
hillside where Jones Creek empties ino the lake.
My mushroom effort proved fruitless, but by donning
chest-high waders, I could ease through the shallow water (with walking
staff to warn of drop-offs and sink holes) and cast a semi-weedless Johnson
Silver Spoon (with 20-tail black/yellow Hawaiian Wiggler skirt) to brush-infested
areas where I thought bass might feed.
Muddy water had never been my idea of a good place
to catch bass, but one fish that topped six-pounds that day and several
other husky bass taught me a valuable lesson. Through the cold winter months,
I still have these conditions firmly implanted in the back of my mind and
look forward to the high, muddy water that comes to stream-fed standing
waters at this time of year. And I hit Jones Creek when conditions are
The road in to the site of the old Browning Bridge
is impassible now, but this area can be reached by boat from Crooked Creek
ramp. Flooded bays can be fished by boat, but I favor wading (with great
care) because this creates less disturbance.
Incidentally, bass seem to know the minute floodwaters
are receding, and tend to return to normal confines of a lake. This also
is true of other species of fish.
on thumbnail image for enlarged view.
six-pounder nailed a Johnson Silver Minnow in Jones Creek Bay at Monroe