Jacksonville Daily Progress
The month of March is one of the most popular times of the year to go bass fishing. Everyone is just waiting for the cold weather to subside.
All we need now is a few sunny, calm, warm days, and bass fishing will explode! Once the surface temperature goes from the 50s in to the 60s big bass will move into the shallows in big numbers, and bass fishing will be red hot.
Last year about this same time weather conditions were completely different. We were experiencing a lot warmer weather. We had several days with the temperatures in the 70s and the surface temperatures were already in the 60s. There were a lot of bass in almost all of the creek arms in every area lake.
I remember going up into Byrd Creek during that time and catching about 20 bass up to seven pounds on a couple of crank baits. One was a Bandit #200 citrus shad and the other a KVD 1.5 sexy shad crank bait. Whenever the bass first move up into the shallows they are hungry, and I like to cover a lot of water quickly and when the crank bite is on, you can catch a lot of bass.
At this time of year it’s possible to catch bass on almost any lure. One guide once told me to tie on your favorite shallow water lure and go fish. You will catch some bass.
Right now we’re facing another round of cold weather. You can still catch bass but you will probably need to slow down and finesse the fish.
I talked to Frank Lusk this week and he’s catching a lot of bass on Lake Jacksonville on the north end with a 3/16 ounce Shakey Head tipped with a Zoom Trick worm. He said he is just crawling the bait on the bottom and taking his time. He also fishes a green/pumpkin, blue flake chigger craw. Most of the bass are in the two pound range with an occasional five pounder.
He also reported catching 70 schooling bass on Lake Athens about two weeks ago. Lusk and Tony Garner caught their bass on the new Yum®, Umbrella®, FlashMob® Junior with willow blades. He was using five, 4 inch pearl colored Yum Mud Minnows for bait.
Right now it’s best to target the most protected areas from the north wind. The warmest water in the lake will be located on the north banks. Bass do congregate and feed more in slightly warmer water.
I’ve always had good luck fishing a small red craw fish, Bandit crank bait on a 12-pound fluorocarbon line this time of year. I use the silent ones without rattles. That’s been my go-to bait in the late winter, early spring for over 25 years!
The best tip I can give you at the start of the season is this: Choose a new lure that has just come out, or a new color, or an old lure that is slightly different or altered in some way, and experiment with it. I’ve done this for years and sometimes with amazing results.
This year I’m experimenting with a small 2-1/2 inch Tube bait that at one time was called a Gitzit. The color is called smoke, blue gill. I’ve added chartreuse to the tail. I’ve inserted a Finesse Tube jighead up in it. This bait spirals when it drops. So far I’ve had good luck with this bait. It’s proven to be a good bait under tough clear water conditions.
Many kinds of baits will produce when bass move to the shallows especially crawfish imitations. Most of the bass being caught now are loaded with eggs. Bass on Lake Jacksonville seem to be in good shape. All we need now are a few warm, sunny days.
Jerry Miller can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org