Waiting on the magic number

Published 12:13 am Sunday, February 21, 2010

The white perch and bass fishermen alike are waiting on that magic number. All eyes are on surface water temperatures.

Right now the lakes average about 48 to 50 degrees. An explosion of fish migrating to the thin water spawning areas is only a few degrees away. Normally, the first wave of spawning bass would already be shallow but last week’s extremely cold weather delayed the beginning of the spawn.

What this means is the first and second wave of spawning fish will now move up at the same time. That will push a lot of fish to thin water and the fishing is about to get wild on our area lakes.

The small ponds and backwater lakes will, of course, warm up first and that’s where you will find the best fishing right now. The larger bodies of water take longer to warm up.

On the landlocked oxbow lakes like Concordia, St. John and Lake Bruin, check the wind protected pockets and flats. Those areas tend to warm up first and that’s where some of the largest bass and white perch in the lake will be over the next month or so.

Rock bulk heads or seawalls are great places to locate and catch spawning bass. Fish eggs require sunlight to hatch so there is no need to target thick, shaded cover for the next month or so.

Of course, lots of fish will be what we call “cruising” the shallows looking for a suitable place to nest. The cruising fish are hard but not impossible to catch. Target those bass with running baits like Rat-L-Traps; small shallow diving crankbaits and small spinnerbaits.

The fish that are locked onto a nest will strike a variety of lures including but certainly not limited to jigs with plastic trailers, creature style lures like Zoom brush hawgs and the local favorite, Reaction Innovations Sweet beavers.

The beaver style lures have really grown in popularity in this area, and you can’t go wrong with the CA 420 or a green pumpkin colored beaver. You can fish the beaver on a small jig head or rig it the conventional way with a small slip sinker and a plastic worm hook.

Saturday, we were on Lake Concordia fishing the Eddie’s Marine Open bass tournament. Today we’re on Lake St. John competing in the Miss-Lou Bass Clubs monthly event. Due to print deadlines I cannot report on either of these events in this column until next week but you can see the results at www.fishingwitheddie.com.

Next weekend, on Feb. 27, we will head back to Lake Bruin to compete in the 2nd Annual Zeke West Memorial. Zeke West lost his life in 2008 at the age of 18 in a tragic vehicle accident. He was a strong upcoming bass tournament fishermen and we will surely miss seeing this young man on the water. For more information on the Memorial just send me an e-mail or visit our Web site.

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