It is often said that "timing is everything," and that saying surely applies to fishing for cold water bass.
all the variables of water color, fish location, water temperature,
etc. that can befuddle fishermen, one thing can be sure about March 6
in Illinois. It is pre-spawn time and the water is cold. It's cold that
is, if it isn't still ice or you're not at a power plant lake.
many of us, this is the season during which bass seem the most
unpredictable and the most puzzling to pattern. The huge swings in air
temperature, rainfall, and wind often make our on-the-water decisions
harder as we try to figure how all this affects bass on a given day.
decided to try Banner Marsh for this trip, but was in no itching hurry
to get to the lake. The forecast was for cloud cover during the morning
with temperatures not warming to the 50's until noon.
Marsh is several lakes that contain a maze of smaller strip mine lakes
connected by channels. Johnson Lake (Banner Main) has relatively clear
water and more weed growth than the murkier Wheel Lake (Banner East).
There are also differences in water temperature, water color, and weed
growth as you go from one area to another within each of the main lakes.
was about 10 a.m. when I put in, with sunny skies and unbelievably
light winds for March. The water temperature at the ramp was 43-44
I started by working some flooded timber near
deep water, alternating between a brown jig/craw trailer and a junebug
jig/black and blue trailer.
Soon after I
started a fishing buddy stopped to chat on his way back to the dock. He
had caught several quality bass earlier on Rattletraps, before the
cloud cover disappeared and the temperature warmed up. Again.....the
I had several of my early spring
bass baits tied on, including a jig, stickbait, Chatterbait, blade bait
(Silver Buddy), Rattletrap, and a weighted hook to use with either a
Senko or the Uncle Josh Porker.
I spent the next five
hours searching, moving from one area to another looking for warmer
water temperatures and varied water colors. I used different baits and
presentations, trying not to make assumptions about what the bass would
strike or where they would be located.
3:30, I eased the boat across a shallow flat, back into a small lake.
The sun had warmed the water in this lake to 50-52 degrees and cloud
cover had moved back into the area. The North wind was creating a
slight chop along the south bank of the lake. The other noticeable
feature of this area was that the weed growth was considerably farther
along than other areas.
The combination of
these factors must have been right, because this was the first area
where I found bass all day. I caught small bass, missed a couple short
strikers, and landed one 16 1/2-inch fish, all on a black and blue
Chatterbait. I had to call it a day at 4:00, but with more time I would
have backed off the weed edges and slowed down with a small jig or grub.
fish were not laying against the sheltered, north bank getting ready to
spawn, they were along a windy south bank, utilizing the ample weed
cover to feed. Bass move shallow to spawn in their own sweet time, but
pre-spawn is for feeding up.
This is the time
of year to have an open mind, make no assumptions, keep on the move,
and try a variety of baits and presentations. If you do, then hopefully
your timing will eventually be right.
Just a reminder
that all the tips and tactics are not just here in the forums. I took
this from the articles section of my site and I put it here. I
always post new articles and content there so check back for more when
you come to the site.World Record and Trophy Bass Fishing
Tight Lines, Steve
Northeast Bass Fishing