Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Early season bass slammin'....'bout time


March is one of those months that can serve up sunshine one day, snow the next and then sunshine again. Take this week for example; Temperatures worked their way up to 50, almost 60 degrees only to drop back down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less by Friday. But by Saturday the sun was out and temps climbed back up near 50. Conditions felt “nice” but the water was still dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Fish were shaking off the change in barometric pressure on Saturday…action was slow. At least for me on the spots that I chose that day. One spot. The last pond that I checked seem to show promise with visible signs of baitfish. Cast, cast, one little bluegill.

Rebound Sunday

Sunday morning came and I had to venture out again. Weather called for near 60’s in the air temp department. After scouting a number of lakes on Saturday, I focused on the area that had the most activity. Hopefully an extra day of sunlight would stir up better action. That was my hope as I drove out early ready to face another day of absolute dejection.

The early morning gear up was a bit frosty. However it paled in comparison to the near blizzard conditions that hit the Metro and foothills area just days before. Saturday had thawed things out and I had the pleasure to gear up over frosted mud rather than snow or mucky ground. I might have actually grinned for a moment seeing the sun lift higher in the sky and clear blue skies with only two cars in the parking lot.

“Man, I just want to bottle all of this up and save a taste of it all for those hot July and August days when summer lasts forever.” Ok I didn’t really say that but that is exactly what it felt like. The boat was loaded, hauled and launched. Getting on open water was pure bliss. Pure bliss. Like seeing an old friend after years and years or snuggling into an old pair of shoes. Cast, Cast, BAM! A healthy chunk hammered the bait.
(Above: Nice chunk to get the day started. Not a brute but after the early year struggles that I have had…this fish was like a B12 shot of confidence!)

The fight was steady but sluggish. Bass typically don’t want to get all rough-and-tumble early in the year. Saving energy is key right now for them. I do my best to oblige with a quick pull, photo op-lite and release. Catching one good fish can make all of the difference in regards to the moment, the day or even the season…it is simply a matter of perspective. This one fish meant a lot to me because it seemed like forever since I caught a bucketmouth.

Having the skunk beat takes off some pressure but formulating what made that catch happen is the most crucial aspect of that first catch. Color, speed and especially structure type may be the clues to catching more fish. This time of year the structure type is more important and in this particular lake you have a lot of varying structure types. Shallow weedlines and stumps that were action packed in the summer rarely are good in colder periods but I still cast to them if I have time. What I focus most on is vertical or deeper structure this time of year in areas that draw heat. I could see this clearly by areas where the snow had faded. This is where I expect to find bites. Maybe the fish here are more active or fish simply congregate to these areas preferably. Large dirt or rock banks, Island structure or even dark trees submerged that act like solar panels make water warmer. Fish just so happen to be cold blooded so as the water warms the more their appetite grows. Putting simple pieces of the puzzle together help everything else fall into place. Keying in on warm structure points I was able to find some active fish.

One fish nailed the grub on top of the water and I saw the whole thing happen. I love it when that happens. The fish was following the lure as it ran slowly past some submerged tree structure and a large point. It was a perfect place for a fish to be but my cast seemed to come up empty in the hit department. Then I saw the fish trailing. I kept reeling and then stopped the bait about ten feet or so out. The fish clobbered it. That fish I just took some video footage and let her go. Hopefully I get some time to edit\post a few clips on youtube and the blogilicious but to be honest this is not full video montage material, really more of a test run on some new gear.

Another presentation that I love here is the jig combo (skirted jig in the ¼ to ½ oz range with a plastic trailer) really it is one of the worst choices for this lake due to the heavy weed-matte on the bottom. Vertically speaking however this thing can really dig out some stubborn fish.

In the deepest water where structure meets the bottom of the lake I get a heavy thump on the jig combo. This fish had some hawg’ness and lunged for the bottom one and a half times before landing. Healthy fish.
(Above: Finally I get to do some mean mugging shots with some decent fish. ‘Bout @#$%^ time!)

A total of five bass were caught before heading out and moving on to other water. Just in time too it seems as the noon rush hour seemed to descend upon the lake. The parking lot was filling up right along with the increasing air temp.

My fish finder is on the fritz which is what I use to take water temp…this is crucial as we move forward. My guess is the water is near 40 degrees…but I hate guessing, especially this time of year. Next weekend I should be able to get some actual water temps and give folks some news they can use.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Don said...

Way to get things started this year Matt, props on keeping after it!

Bill said...

Looks and sounds like a pretty good day on the water. It always seems to get easier after you catch that first fish when you're in a slump.

Coloradocasters said...

Thanks for the positive comments folks It really helps balance out the occassional "tool" that tries to kick dirt or negative BS on my blogilicious. Keep on blogging!