In my 55 plus years of fishing I have never caught a fish that was wearing a watch or carrying a calendar. I guess in a way fish might be considered lucky in that one respect. They are governed by nature to do very few tasks. They eat to survive, reproduce to continue their species and try to stay comfortable and uneaten while doing these tasks.
If we will remember this simple list, we will catch more fish. We humans are governed by a host of things that do not apply to fish. We deal with clocks, daylight savings time and calendars to conduct our daily lives. Fish, to a large degree are governed by temperature, daylight, water content and the availability of food and that’s about it.
As Winter begins to slowly and reluctantly give was to Spring we find the days starting to get longer. This gradual process begins in January here in North Central Texas. The daylight hours get a little longer each day and the Sun travels a higher arc across the sky. As the northern hemisphere turns more and more toward the Sun the water begins to warm thus setting the reproductive cycle in progress on largemouth bass.
Sorry folks, but the bass don’t employ flowers, sweet phone calls or romance in any way. In a nutshell, the male bass starts to fan out a nest with his tail when the water temperature approaches 58 degrees. He then finds a female bass and coaxes her to the nest he has prepared. The female will come to the nest, deposit her eggs and stay in the area for a few days to protect them, but she soon moves on to her other duty of just being a bass. The male stays behind and defends the nest area against all intruders.
This is one of the best times of year to catch that big mama bass. Many fishers don polarized sunglasses and patrol the shallows around cover looking for the large female tending her eggs. Some of the preferred baits for this tactic include soft baits that imitate natural egg predators like, salamanders, crawfish, and bream or perch. My personal favorite is a white floating lizard attached to a shaky head jig. Other good baits include, jigs with a trailer of pork or synthetic trailer designed to present a “threatening” profile to Ms. Bass. There are times when the big females will slam the bait, there are others when she will delicately pick the offending intruder up in her mouth and simply escort it out of her protective zone. Either way it’s time to set the hook!
Some other great spawn fishing lures include neutral buoyancy “twitch baits” like the suspending Rattling Rogue, and Bass Pro’s Excaliber baits.
When fishing for these early-season fish remember a couple of basic things. One is to understand that smaller bodies of water tend to “warm up” quicker than others. Ponds, or tanks here in the area will almost always warm to acceptable spawning temperatures than the main bodies of our favorite lakes. Those of us who don’t have access to private ponds should look in the north ends of our lakes for the warmest water available that is close to cover and if possible close to deeper water.
Another factor in water warmth is the clarity of water. Clearer water, though nicer to look at, warms slower than slightly stained water which absorbs the Sun’s rays. If you have a thermometer use it!
Remember that bass are simple creatures whose single job it is , is to survive and you will catch more and bigger ones earlier in the year. You also stand an even better chance of landing that bragging rights monster if you’ll stop by Bass Pro Shops of Garland Tx and talk to the pros who have the experience and knowledge. They are there to help you with all your fishing needs and may just give you that little tip that puts you on your personal best.
Tight Lines and bent rods to ya!
Enjoy Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic from February 28- March 16 2014!!