Cold weather plays tricks on fishing

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Prior to the sleet and snow last week, our lake water temperature was low.

Needless to say with the boat ramps covered in ice, no one was fishing until we thawed out.

It is Saturday now as I write. I am sitting in a boat on Lake Bruin.

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We are hosting and directing the 28th-annual J.R. Roberts Memorial Team Bass Challenge.

This long-running event is hosted annually in memory of my dad.

The air temperature is in the 60s, but the water temperature is low.

Some areas of Lake Bruin were 42 to 43 degrees this morning.

It is noon now with an overcast sky that certainly did not allow the water to warm up much.

I don’t fish this event, but we do boat around the lake talking to contestants. So far, we have only spoke with one team that has three fish.

These fishermen and ladies came from as far away as New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson.

They are among the best bass tournament anglers from any states.

We now have a new record for this 28th-annual event, but it is not a good record to break.

We only have 57 boats on the water, and only a small percentage are local anglers from Natchez and Vidalia.

Regardless, 114 people in a bass tournament preceded by the first real snow we had in years is not bad deal.

I just spoke with last years defending champions.

They only had one fish with three hours left in the event.

The majority of people we spoke with had one, two or no fish.

I ran sonar over the ledges and sharp drop offs.

I am not sure why the shad and other baitfish are near the surface in more than 25 to 35 feet of water.

It may be because the upper few feet of water is a few degrees warmer than the bottom water. This will be an interesting weigh-in at 3:30 p.m.

Whoever pulls this one off will take home $2,500 and second place is $1,000. We will pay out six places in the five bass limit division and two places in the big bass division.

The team or individual that catches the single-largest bass will net $780.

Someone is going to have a good payday despite a low turnout.

I don’t know if the cold water kept the locals away or the $120 entry fee.

The regular locals are usually who win or place here, but they only make up about 10 percent of the field during this winter cast off with the coldest weather we have witnessed in many years.

There is no doubt the bass and white perch spawn will be much later than normal.

We need a water temperature of at least 58 degrees to move some fish shallow.

Right now, I am sitting in my boat looking at a reading of 45.9 degrees.

It is an easy prediction to say this year’s spawn will not cast off until March.

This is the South, though, so you never know.

We may have highs in the 70s for several days, or we may have more snow and ice.

I will have the results of Saturday’s event posted on Eddie’s Marine and my personal Facebook page.