Fishing with Kenny: Moving Baits for March
After the cold weather we endured this past winter, I am ready for longer days and warmer temperatures. The fish that swim in our waters are no different. The bream, white perch, catfish and most importantly, the bass are all ready to begin preparing for the upcoming spawns for their respective species. In simpler terms, they are ready to eat!
After dealing with the months of cold water temperatures and various water clarities, bass will use the more stable weather patterns, longer days, and rising water temperatures to trigger their shallow water movements. These movements also trigger major feeding periods. The fish are more aggressive and with the correct lure choices and presentations, they can allow you to have some memorable days on the water.
While the month of March can be a fickle time when it comes to weather, it is a great time for bass fishing. On some lakes, you can simply pick out a good-looking stretch of bank and catch some fish. On other lakes, you may have to fish a little deeper than you would expect, but once these areas are located, you can have a productive day on the water. In either occasion, I like to use lures that I will refer to in this column as search baits.
I define “search bait” as a lure that will allow me to cover water quickly in an effort to find and locate catchable fish. The “search bait” may find the right areas but you may have to adjust your lure presentation that will enable you to do a better job of actually catching fish.
My number one search bait for early Spring fishing is a spinnerbait. I prefer this lure and presentation, because it allows me to cover a lot of water, to fish it at all depths and to fish it no matter what the weather conditions are. Best of all, it is a great fish catching tool! I have found that a 3/8 ounce version is a good all round choice. This is the one time I do start with a single Colorado blade version and will switch to a Colorado/willow leaf version as the water continues to warm. I don’t get picky with colors as Chartreuse/white is usually a solid choice to start with. Retrieve speed is the key. Often times, I will start earlier in the morning with a slow roll technique and end up catching bass later in the day moving the spinnerbait at a pretty good speed. Experiment until the fish tell you what they want.
My second choice for search bait would be a shallow running crankbait. There are several, models to choose from in our local tackle stores and all of them will catch fish. The 100 series Bandit crankbait is a good choice, while Strike King’s KVD 1.5 and the Bomber 2A are also good picks. My color choices are either crawfish patterns or bream color schemes. My favorite color for years has always been firetiger. It works well in all water clarities and temperatures, but best of all, it flat out catches fish.
Rat L Trap
One aspect of early Spring bass fishing is how to combat those early season cold fronts that seems to always come through the day before a weekend fishing trip. Probably the best lure choice for this is a Rat L Trap. Seems no matter how bad the weather changes, the fish will react to and hit this type of moving lure. Red is easily the most popular color, but I have caught them on gold/black and chartreuse base colors.
This is the one lure I am still working on trying to figure out where it fits in my arsenal of lures. I have had limited success with the Chatterbait type of lures, but the success I have had encourages me to continue to play with its effectiveness. I have found that this lure works much better when the water temperatures are still below 60 degrees. The black and blue versions tend to work better for me; however, I will use different types of trailers to change the appearance of the bait.
All of these lures are great for water depths of 6-8 feet and shallower. Springtime bass are often in predictable locations, but it still takes some time to find the best areas. I like to start in the mouths of larger spawning pockets and work my way to the back. Once I have done this, I will also take the time to fish the middle sections of a pocket or cover away from the bank. By fishing an area this way, you can cover it more thoroughly and can get a better idea where the fish are located.
In closing I hope these tips will help you put more fish in your livewell this Spring, and please be careful on the water. Catch one for me, and I will see you next month!