“March Bass Fest.”

SA Bass - - Contents - >> Kevin Lof­st­edt*

By the time you read this, the March mad­ness will be all but over. Nev­er­the­less, if you miss the bus, di­arize for next sea­son. – Kevin Lof­st­edt

By the time you read this, the March mad­ness will be all but over. Nev­er­the­less, if you miss the bus, di­arize for next sea­son. March for me is that time of the year that is like eating all the crap that usu­ally makes you and me fat, but with zero weight gain! What the hell am I talk­ing about? Let me tell you. On av­er­age March is usu­ally that time of the year when bass know that if they’re to be a de­sir­able mate for that cute fe­male/male/trans­gen­der/ gay or les­bian bass that hangs out near that wil­low tree, that they had bet­ter start pack­ing on some weight for the win­ter. This usu­ally makes them a lot eas­ier to catch, and of­ten, lure choice is not as im­por­tant as it may be at other times of the year. Mean­ing, they will eat any­thing (well al­most any­thing.) The part I like most about this time if the year is that there’s none of that guilt that is part and par­cel of catch­ing spawn­ing fish. It’s prob­a­bly one of the most for­giv­ing times for catch­ing bass, and there’s no such thing as a “wrong decision”. Hav­ing said that, there are some fac­tors that will im­pact on the bite, and the weather is one of them. I have no sci­en­tific proof of this but I am a firm be­liever that fall­ing wa­ter lev­els usu­ally af­fect the bite neg­a­tively, and con­versely ris­ing wa­ters, cou­pled with or with­out dirt­ier wa­ter, can have a positive im­pact.

Boat traf­fic

Now, up un­til a few years ago, I be­lieved that if bass were hatched in and im­pound­ment that was usu­ally busy with a lot of boat traf­fic, that they would be “used to” this. I used to swear by it! Then this hap­pened to me. I was fish­ing a club tour­ney at the Vaal River with my pal Al, and we were “pan­el­ing” a lot of re­ally good qual­ity spawn­ing fish, and then… about forty boats from the Light Tackle Fra­ter­nity (mass start) all chose to head in the same di­rec­tion past us, to­wards the Loch. They drove past us cre­at­ing mas­sive amounts of wake and within min­utes, the bite was off, I mean re­ally off! We couldn’t buy a bite for more than an hour af­ter that, and when they did bite, it was once an hour. Now, one can ar­gue all sorts of sce­nar­ios, but that for me was a clear ex­am­ple of fish get­ting turned off. Since then, when­ever I fish the Vaal River, I try to do as much dam­age within the first hour as pos­si­ble. If you don’t, you will, in most cases spend the rest of the day look­ing for a limit, in­stead of look­ing for a few big bites to up­grade your bag. But get­ting back to March Mad­ness, take ad­van­tage of this time of year to test ideas, pat­terns and dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions to dif­fer­ent lures. The re­ac­tions you get to var­i­ous sce­nar­ios will stand you in good stead for other times of the year. These times will also do won­ders for your con­fi­dence. Ob­vi­ously in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try the bass may start ear­lier, or later with this pre-win­ter feed, and your lo­cal con­di­tions, cou­pled with time on the wa­ter will im­prove your “fish­ing IQ” par­tic­u­larly af­ter the mostly dif­fi­cult con­di­tions that are part and par­cel of post-spawn.

Words of Wis­dom

“The more sand that has es­caped from the hour­glass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” - Jean Paul

*Kevin Lof­st­edt is a reg­u­lar writer and a well known vet­eran bass an­gler with three times South­ern Gaut­eng Colours since 1985. He is also the main founder of Clear­wa­ter Bass­mas­ters Bass Chap­ter (1994). He can be reached at kevin@sabass.com

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