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Spawn time close but not here yet

By the calendar, spring is official here, but do you hear and see all the signs? There are a few indications that the harsh winter of 2013-14 is over but not many.

I have yet to hear the bullfrogs croak, but I did see some red wasp flying back in the flooded bald cypress trees the other evening. When the cypress trees bud out, the red wasp are flying and the bullfrogs are croaking, spring is here. Spring is near, but it’s not exactly here, yet.

Over the past month or so, the discussion among bass and white perch anglers was how late the spawn is this year. We are still catching fish that are loaded with roe, but there are still no signs of spawning.

Of course conditions vary from lake to lake. The smaller waters warm up faster, so it is a safe guess to say the fish in the barrow pits, ponds and small lakes are bedding. Last weekend I made a quick late evening trip to Lake Concordia. It is safe to say there is not a cypress tree on this lake that has not made a cast in the past 38 years.

A bass club was loading up around 3 p.m. as I was taking off. The club had some nice fish, some good weights at the scales. I was more concerned about riding around, looking and relaxing, until I pitched a CrawGator jig to a big cypress tree. I felt a very light “thump” on the business end of my line and stuck the fish hard.

After zipping around several smaller trees, a nice, young egg-filled female bass, weighing just a bit over seven pounds, changed my mind fast about just relaxing after a crazy week in the boat business. I slipped the sow bass back in the lake and continued on.

For three hours I fished hard and boated five more bass, all of which were females that showed no signs of bedding. Their tails were not beat up from fanning debris off of a nest. That is a sure sign the bass spawn is close and some fish were spawning but not many.

This weekend should be the weekend that many fish make the transition from pre-spawn to spawning. I ask, “Is that a good thing?”

Fishing during the spawn sounds exciting, and it can be both great and tough. Once a bass really gets locked on a nest, they are not thinking about eating. Of course when the females lay their eggs and move on the male bass, they will hang with the nest until the eggs hatch. The fry grow to fingerling size and then the male leaves.

Until then the male bass is the guardian of the nest. These males are usually easy to catch and many think this is the best size to eat without hurting the bass population, so they take them home. In reality if you want to eat bass, it would be better to take a female that has already spawned and leave the smaller male bass alone. As soon as a male bass is pulled off a nest bream, turtles and many other aquatic creatures move in and gobble up the eggs and/or fry. Cut those males loose and that nest will be successful. We sure need the bass population to increase in this area.

The 2nd Annual Lake St. John Concordia Parish Academy GATORS bass tournament will be held on March 29 out of Spokane Landing. This is good event held for a great cause.

Come fish with us out of Spokane Landing on Lake St. John next Saturday. The lake is in great shape, so I look for some heavy weights at the scales. I have the entry forms available at Eddie’s Marine in Vidalia, and there may be some forms at the Sports Center in Natchez.

I am so glad this winter is behind us. There is no doubt we will get that last Easter cold front, but the 25-degree days are gone. It is time to go fishing. Good luck to all!


Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.