Glad cold winter is finally over

Published 12:18 am Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is here. If you are awake and on the road before daylight you probably noticed dozens of trucks with boats in tow headed to our many area lakes.

The only thing us die hard winter fishermen will miss about this past cold season is the solitude. We are no longer alone. The lakes are packed with boats of every description.

From the basic small aluminum rig powered by a small outboard to the big shiny metal flake $60,000 bass rigs with 250 horsepower engines, you can see just about any style boat on a Saturday morning gassing up.

One thing I have always told people when they say things like, “Well I only have a small boat and I am not as good as all you professional guys fishing from the big rigs.”

It is not the boat that catches the fish people. The fisherperson sitting in the boat, no matter the length, cost or style is the one that puts the pieces of the puzzle together to create a successful day on the water.

In fact during the next two months you’re better off in a smaller boat that drafts less water. The bass and white perch are spawning in extremely shallow waters.

When the fish move to skinny water the guys and ladies in the smaller boats have the advantage. The bass and perch are holding on or near shallow flats, coves and small subtle pockets.

While we do manage to maneuver 3,000 pounds of fiberglass powered by 250 horses it is a much easier task to reach these thin water fish from a smaller boat. Good fishing reports are coming from all directions.

We just experienced a long brutal winter and I am so glad it is behind us. Surface water temperatures have at last risen to and on some lakes exceeded the magical 57 degree mark. The warmer water triggered a major migration of largemouth bass and white perch to shallow spawning areas.

Locating fish is now quite simple. Just target the shallow flats and coves with heavy cover nearby. Bass and perch will nest where the sun can warm the eggs.

The nest may be in open water but the fish will usually be holding a few feet away in the cover guarding the eggs.

We call it easy fishing and after the winter we just experienced we are in dire need of some easy days on the water.

The best reports on the white perch are coming from Lake St. John and the Black River/Horseshoe Complex. Other lakes are producing just as well.

The sale of live bait increased big time over the past week. We’re going through about 2000 minnows a week and I look for that to increase as the perch spawn continues. Most are baiting yo-yo’s with minnows then using their jig poles to catch a few white perch while keeping a close eye on the mechanical devices, the yo-yo’s.

This is a quick way to fill your freezer with slab white perch. Our lakes are crowded so please practice safe boating and be nice to your neighbors. The fishing season has begun.

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