The buzz of the bait

Classic Spring baitsDid you get to go fishing this past weekend? The weather was a little warmer Saturday, but Sunday was a miserable day. I managed to sneak out Saturday and do a quick bank fishing fun. I saw a bunch of small bass roaming up along the bank, but they were more curious then hungry. Or maybe they just didn’t like what I was throwing. And I wasn’t doing a lot of changing in the rain. I did manage to hook one small one, but that was all.
The weather should be a lot better this week, or so says the weatherman, or weatherwoman. I am looking forward to it. As the water warms up, it should bring the bass up looking for places to spawn. The males should start to clean out the nesting area and the females should be holding off the banks in a pre-spawn pattern in deeper water. Now is a great time to catch a big bass. But if you do catch a big female, please get good pictures and return her to complete building our new stock of bass.
The water levels are still up a little in the Potomac River, but there are reports of a few herring showing up and that the striped bass, up to 48 inches, are present. There are lots of Hickory Shad showing up, and with the fluctuating water temperatures, the white perch run is struggling. Big catfish are being caught on fresh, cut gizzard shad. The bass fishing is less than peak, with slow-rolled spinnerbaits, rattling crankbaits and plastics working. The bass are located in the weedbeds or on shallow rock or gravel points and banks.
There have been reports of big striped bass in the 20-35 pound range in the Rappahannock River as well. Catfishing has been good on cut bait as well, but it has been slow. The water should be warming so look for fishing to really pick up.
Spring time brings memories of fishing the banks of a local pond. Casting down the bank and working my bait back in hopes of a big catch. The all-time favorite has to be the topwater strike. Casting out a frog, a popper, a buzzbait, or other surface bait and working it back and seeing the water boil as a bass comes up on the lure. Then the explosion of the strike! No other reaction strike gets the adrenaline pumping like a topwater bite. The biggest problem is that most people, including myself, want to set the hook too fast. And that is when we miss the fish. A lot of times the fish will hit the lure, but not bite it. I have seen my bait go flying up in the air because the bass missed it and just knocked it up. The best thing I learned was to wait and give the fish time to take the bait. Most of the time we keep our rod low tip and react with a setting motion. A great tip I learned for topwater is to keep the rod tip higher and when the fish hits, lower the tip and reel up the slack line before setting the hook. This small tip, while only a few seconds of time, actually helps keep you, and me, from pulling the bait out of the mouth before they bite down. A little practice and it will become easier and more productive.
This time of year, a lot of baits will work great. A spinnerbait…

-Read the full story in this week’s Northern Neck News, on stands now!

Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:59 am