“March Bass Fest.”
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.
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 [email protected]