Sometimes fishing is more fun to watch

Published 12:54 am Sunday, March 13, 2011

March brings back many memories of good fishing trips and some not so good.

March cold fronts will shut fish activity down real fast. Heavy rains this time of year will, of course, affect water clarity.

If you’re timing is right March can be a great month to catch trophy bass and big slab white perch.

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If you’re fishing just after a cold front passes the fishing will be tough. Prior to the cold fronts the fishing is great.

During many late winter and early spring trips it was not always the fishing that created the many good memories I have.

Years ago I would meet a good friend that lived in Jackson. We would meet in Vicksburg to fish a landlocked oxbow called Eagle Lake.

We would fish this lake about three or four times a month for largemouth bass and huge hybrid striped bass.

I think it was in early 2000, maybe 2001 when the largemouth bass virus wiped out thousands of big bass in Eagle Lake. The lake has since rebounded and it is now in great shape.

Since Eagle Lake was hit by the LMBV my friend and I did a bit of research and located a couple of Old Rivers very close to Eagle Lake called Chotard, Tennessee and Albemarle.

These three live oxbow lakes are connected to the Mississippi River during the higher stages.

The Vicksburg area is very much like the waters in our area.

If the fish are not active on our landlocked oxbow lakes like Concordia, St. John and Bruin we would cross the Mississippi River levee and fish the live oxbow lakes known as Deer Park, Old River, Vidalia and Yucatan.

Like the Old Rivers above Vicksburg, these waters are still connected to the Mississippi River.

On one particular trip, Eagle Lake was not producing any fish for us so we loaded the boat, crossed the levee and launched on Chotard.

We boated up the small canal that connects Chotard with Albemarle.

I began casting a heavy spinner bait around the flooded green willow trees. We loaded up on bass from 3 to 6 pounds.

I noticed an osprey flying overhead looking for a meal. I laid my rod down and watched as the lone osprey “fished.” The bird made a beautiful dive, picked up what looked like a half pound gizzard shad off the surface of the lake and was trying to fly off with his meal.

High above the osprey a bald eagle was circling watching the osprey hunt. As the osprey picked the fish from the surface the bald eagle folded his wings flat and began a rapid dive straight toward the osprey.

The eagle hit that poor bird so hard feathers flew as did the fish the osprey had worked so hard to catch.

The fish went one way, the osprey was in the water but managed to get airbourn, and it left the scene, quick.

The huge bald eagle finally located the fish, picked it off the water, landed in a tree and began eating his stolen meal.

Now I’m thinking, the bald eagle, America’s symbol, a bird of prey and he let another bird do all the hard work and he stole its meal.

I found out later that it is common practice for the eagle to hunt in this fashion.

I will never forget that day.

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