If it is some interesting--but usually a bit slow--bass
fishing you are looking for, (who isn’t?), you may be sitting on it.
Take a hefty spinning outfit (not surf stuff),
the reel loaded with 10 to 15-pound test line, and a handful of semi-weedless
black sinking lures, and head for the buck brush. That’s where the bass
(even lunkers) will be hanging out when lakes, reservoirs and other standing
waters swell. They will be there, at least, until high waters start falling.
When winter and spring rains place water levels
8 to 10 feet above normal (maybe even more) many species of fish head for
the hills--make that valleys--because that is where the food is, and food
is one thing they are looking for in this pre-spawn period. Putting it
bluntly, they eat like hogs in the early spring.
If you can’t find that kind of water (don’t fret
over color, muddy or murky is good news), try to find a point on the body
of water where a ditch or rivulet is entering the larger body of water.
Surface water is a good place to find food.
Monroe Reservoir is one of my favorite places
for this kind of bass fishing for many reasons, the first being that for
many years (since it was opened to fishing in 1964) it has been one of
our best natural production lakes. It also offers many hollows where high
water creeps, and bass are not far behind.
Still, one thing is 99.44 percent certain: when
high waters starts receding, so goes the bass--back to their old haunts
in the lake. This has been obvious since the outlaw days of illegal hedge
and trap days of fishing.
Be that as it may have been in the way-back-yonder,
high water is a natural phenomenon that sends many fish species into floodwater
where the rough fish are fair game for giggers, bow and arrow (not cross
bow), and several other methods. Incidentally, I am told that the DNR has
outlawed the use of unaltered pitchforks for taking rough fish species
in high water. It was legal for many years. The rationale is that few people
use pitchforks in these modern days of outdoorsing.
Getting back to sport fishing bass in high, murky
water, as I noted above, I use a hefty spinning rod with a fairly strong
line that makes it possible to “horse” lodged baits and fish. Lighter lines
are OK if you don’t mind losing both lures and an occasional bass. There
is a lot of brush in floodwaters.
I like the Johnson Silver Minnow (spoon) and
its single, guarded hook, the hook dressed with a 20-tail black and yellow
Hawaiian Wiggler-type skirt.
I wade the shallow water and cast to the cover.
It is slow, as noted above. I use a wading staff (strong stick) to tell
me what is under water ahead. Caution, of course, is the watchword and
safety a priority. The steeper the hill, the deeper the water.
Roughly the same kind of fishing can be had from
a small boat, but I prefer wading. Wading big water in the fields and on
the hillsides can be more dangerous, especially if you are unfamiliar with
the terrain when it is dry, but a long walking stick will warn you of
what lies below the water ahead. A boat, or other floating devices, can
be moved by currents and wind.
Incidentally, my web page now offers daily reports
on conditions at all reservoirs managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’
Louisville District. They may be accessed through this website [http://bayoubill.com]
under “Water Watch.”
Once you have opened the web page, scroll down
to “Water Watch.” There click on “Indiana Rivers and Streams,” or “Indiana
Reservoirs,” for daily conditions of reservoirs or streams and rivers by