As water temperatures rise, fishing will be great in area

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 24, 2008

The fish activity is right on the verge of busting wide open on our area lakes. As typical of the season, water temperatures rise and fall just about every three days.

But overall, the temps have slowly increased. This month we had surface water as warm as 61 degrees and cold as 51. The average mid-day water temp today is around 57 degrees by mid day.

All that is needed is three consecutive days of sunshine and it’s on. The sow bass and female crappie are loaded with eggs and there is no doubt a few early spawners have already dropped some eggs — very few, but some. The first wave of bass moved into the spawning flats three weeks ago but when the cold fronts came through it would push most of the females back toward deeper water.

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The nest builders, the male ‘buck’ bass and crappie remain shallow once water temps hit 56 to 58 degrees. The males are too busy building next to worry about a few degrees difference in water temperature. The females are less tolerant of temperature changes.

Last weekend just to have fun I fished for male bass in the shallows of Lake Concordia. The males I caught averaged about two pounds with the exception of one four pound plus fish that hit a Paca Jig. I boated 14 bass in two hours on a small jerk worm called a Slide-N-Shad fished without a weight on 12 pound test line.

The males were busy building nests and the big females were holding near the spawning areas waiting on warmer temps. The best way to catch the female bass that day was to pitch and flip a Davis Tackle Paca jig in three to five feet of water around the cypress trees and man-made brush piles. The best color I used that day is called Wild Watermelon with blue and purple flake trailed by a matching Pace Chunk.

The lure companies sure come up with weird names for their colors. The Paca Jig is new to this area. For years the Crawgator Jig was the most popular jig among the locals but the CrawGator is no longer on the market. After a year of researching jigs and trying to find what fished as good as the Crawgator, I landed on the Paca Jig thanks to a local fishermen that told me about it. The Paca Jig will slide right through the thick cypress roots and some of man made brush piles are so thick no lure can get through them but the Paca Jig did well. It comes in one-quarter, three-eighths and one-half ounce sizes. I like a heavy jig but it’s that time of year when a slower fall triggers more strikes so the 3/8th is the best way to go when fishing thin water.

I’m working with a group from Franklin County putting together the first open big bass tournament on Lake Okhissa. We are in the early stages of getting things together. It looks like we’ll host the event in May and I’ll have the forms available soon. I’ll keep everyone informed as we move further along with the Okhissa bass tournament.

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