"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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"Bad" Days Of Spring Good For Bass Fishing
Copyright © 2006 by Bill Scifres

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 artificial lures.

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 right.

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.

Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.

highbass.JPG (98638 bytes)
This six-pounder nailed a Johnson Silver Minnow in Jones Creek Bay at Monroe Reservoir.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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