Not a lot of waves seen in March

Published 12:01am Sunday, March 31, 2013

It is hard to believe we made it through the entire month of March with no major wave of perch and bass moving to thin water to spawn.

Some fish did move up, but this year’s spawn is shaping up to be a bad one on some of the public lakes. April could change my thoughts on that. We will just have to wait and see.

The weather has really played havoc on the fishermen and ladies as well. We would have a great weekend with not so many strikes, but the strikes the bass fishermen got were from big fish, and we had fair weather on and off. Then the rains came.

I recall four bass tournaments in a row when it rained on us from start to closing time. Nine hours of fishing in the rain weekend after weekend got old really fast. The tournament would kick off with 18 to 20 boats or so, but only eight or 10 would still be on the lake at weigh-in time.

That’s the dozen or so local, bass-crazed old veteran fishermen, and I happen to qualify for that group, thank you. Lord knows I have been at this sport for some years now.

The fishing has changed big time in the past three decades. Last month, the fish were very active for some during the wet weather, but many of us felt like human sponges after a month of weekends fishing in a cold rain. When March rolled around, anticipation of a spawn — a good spawn — was shut down by yet more rain and low water temperatures.

We would have a fair weekend of fishing followed by a horrible weekend of casting hour after hour and not catching. The on-and-off fish activity was caused by two variables, maybe more. We had approximately 25 inches of rain this year. Lake levels rose fast, unlike last winter and spring when we had extremely low water levels.

The water level then dropped fast, sending what fish that were trying to move up to spawn back out to deeper water, or they stayed shallow and fed at night. Then we had the inevitable late February and March cold fronts to deal with on top of fluctuating water levels.

Early this week, we woke up to 29 degree air temperatures Three days later, it’s 72 degrees. Of course, the cold front lowered water temperatures on the lakes, but I really think the colder water has less effect on the bass and perch spawn once we get this far into the season. When the fish are packing eggs, they can only hold them so long before they have to spawn, or the eggs are absorbed.

I hate to be negative, but it’s a safe thing to say we will feel the bad spawn from last year’s low water levels and this crazy spawn we are experiencing this year. Hopefully, April will prove this to be wrong.

This weekend the phone was ringing away, text messages coming in and all reports were great, but I am talking white perch not bass. It seems like the perch fishing has really picked up the past few days. The Saline/Larto and Black River/Horseshoe Lake complex is producing some nice size slab perch right now.

This Saturday, Eddie’s Marine and company will head to Okhissa Lake to conduct the weigh-in for the Sixth Annual HHC Okhissa Lake Big Bass Challenge. I look for a record turnout this year simply because without waters the way they were this winter, more people from Louisiana fished Okhissa Lake than they ever have — and for good reason. Being a federal reservoir with strict regulations, this lake is home to a fine population of Florida bass.

The tournament will cast off at 6 a.m. Saturday. You can enter at Eddie’s Marine in Vidalia until 5:50 p.m. Friday. Contestants can also register the morning of the event at the north and south landings on Okhissa Lake.

If the weather is right, I look for this event to set the record for attendance and the largest bass ever weighed in for the past five years. You can contact me at Eddie’s Marine at 318-336-5133 for entry forms and more information.

The bi-hourly cash places for your single largest bass weighed during the four weigh periods will make this a very interesting event. Even if you don’t compete, come out and watch the weigh-in. It’s interesting to see all the big bass at the scales. Good luck to all!