As the days begin getting warmer, spring fever kicks and its time to go bass fishing. With the warmer days and nights, come warmer water temperatures. That equates to the fish moving into shallower water on our local lakes, creeks, rivers and ponds. This is a time when most fish become active again and are easier to catch.
As daytime temperatures begin reaching the 70’s and 80’s, the surface water temps also begin to rise. As any “bass minded angler” can tell you, it won’t be long until those green creatures of the deep begin their annual migration to the shallows to spawn (lay eggs). It is during this time that most of us dust off our gear and head to our favorite lake. When bass are shallow, they are the easiest to catch.
Last evening, my oldest daughter, Megan, and I went to a friend’s boathouse on Richland-Chambers reservoir to try and catch a few crappie. We didn’t catch a bunch of fish, but we got a few. More importantly, we got to spend some quality time together. After the fish quit biting, we headed over to Oak Cove Marina for a bite to eat. We ordered our usual favorites, a club sandwich with fries for Megan, and tater tots for me. As usual, the restaurant was packed with fishermen, some with wives and girlfriends, others eating with their fishing partners.
Ok, the forecast calls for lows in the 20’s and highs in the 30’s. Winds will be 15-25 mph. Unless you are really on a great pattern and catching lots of bass fish or you have a tournament to fish, chances are you’d rather stay in the warm confines of your home than be out on the water. I know I would. So what’s a guy or gal to do? You can only wipe the boat down so many times.
All of your favorite reels have been respooled with new line. You have gone through all of your tackle, sharpened hooks, sorted and re-sorted all of your plastic worms, checked and re-checked the trolling motor, big engine, tilt, trim, trailer bearing, wheels…..you get the idea. You’ve covered every square inch of the bass boat and everything seems to be in good working order. You have the most excruciating case of cabin fever anyone has ever experienced. In fact, you may end up going completely insane if you don’t get “a fishing fix”, and soon.
Finally, a break from a long, hot and dry summer has arrived. We humans are certainly glad to see the temperatures fall and receive a little bit of much needed rainfall. Hopefully the wildlife in our area will benefit from it, also. This has been an unusual summer to say the least. We went over 70 days without rainfall, had one of the hottest summers on record, and for one reason or another, the bass fishing at Richland-Chambers reservoir was horrible. In fact, it has been the worst I’ve ever seen. Perhaps the cooler temperatures will spark a change in the fishing. Let’s hope so.
Fishing for bass during the late fall and winter months can be a daunting task. During the regular season there is identifiable structure to fish. Vegetation in bloom and shaded areas offered by the sun will produce fish during the heat of the day. Winter, however, does not give you any of those visible signs. So what do you do? Well, once again, you must turn to your understanding of bass and its lifestyle during these “lean months”. When I use the word “lean,” I am referring to the food chain, which can be drastically reduced by the elements.