Jacksonville Daily Progress
I don’t ever remember when we’ve experienced such dramatic shifts in the weather. One day we see temperatures in the high 80’s, and the next day it may drop 40 degrees. Probably the most constant change we see in the spring is the extreme temperature fluctuations.
This year the fishing conditions are in a continued state of upheaval. With frontal passages you see change in water temperature, cloud cover and barometric pressure. Rains cause the lake to be more turbid and alter water levels and conditions. Strong winds kick up pushing plankton around and baitfish relocate.
So every time the conditions change, so do the bass. Cold fronts can trigger the bass into feeding heavy. Then the skies clear up, the wind drops, and the bass nearly shut down. Every fisherman has to contend with these changes.
After a front you can still fish the same areas like boat docks, grass beds, pad fields, etc., but the secret to success is to work these spots slowly and thoroughly. You simply have to put the bait right in front of the fish and give it plenty of time to react.
I tend to stay away from muddy water this time of year and often head downstream to find cleaner water. Right now I’m fishing the main lake mostly I’m checking out the pockets and fishing docks near deep water and having good success.
If the water is tinted I like to fish spinner baits, but a lot of the time a six-inch lizard with a chartreuse tail will get you bit. On windy days a lot of fishermen will fish the calmer waters. I prefer fishing power baits whenever possible, and I’ve learned that a spinner bait will get you lots of bites under windy conditions.
I like to fish windy points in the spring with a fast moving spinner bait like the Nichols’ Mag 44 with a blue shad skirt. I’ll even fish windy banks and cover a lot of water trying to trigger a strike from bedding bass. Not every bass will hit a fast moving spinner bait, but some bass will come up and “flash” on the bait, thus revealing its location. I’ve caught some really big bass using this method.
Whenever a bass flashes on my bait I make a mental note of its location and return later and fish the area thoroughly with a slow moving bait.
David Nichols and I were fishing Lake Nacogdoches a few weeks back. We were fishing through a known spawning area that had lots of logs, pads and grass. The wind was blowing directly into this area. We picked up several nice bass up to five pounds on our 1/2 ounce spinner baits. The wind was a major factor in catching these fish. You simply couldn’t catch these bass on a calm or light windy day.
I like fishing grass beds when it’s windy. I start up wind of the grass beds and let the breeze blow me across it. While I’m drifting I watch for holes and points in the grass, which are natural ambush spots. Spinner baits are really effective under this situation.
We are at mid spring now. This means you have to determine what phase the fish are in. Some are still pre-spawn, others are spawning, while others are post-spawn. In order to catch these fish you have to determine what phase the bass are in. As always the pre-spawn fish are the easiest to catch. This means you have to target bass that are just outside of the spawning areas. A Carolina rig or a medium crank bait works well in this situation.
On April 25 we will have another full moon, and you will find another wave of spawners moving in. By mid-May most of the spawn will be over.
Jerry Miller can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org