Let’s hope April won’t fool around

Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hopefully, our predictions are April will offer us the good fishing March usually does but did not this year.

March 2014 will certainly not be a month to remember as far as great catches and big fish. This month has been strange.

The bass tournaments produced one or two good limits of bass, then the weights dropped off fast.

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It has been difficult to establish a consistent pattern that last more than a day. It’s like all the fish are in a few choice small areas leaving miles of shorelines that usually produce nice catches completely void of catchable fish.

A prime example of this occurred during a small open bass tournament on Lake St. John held last weekend. Many of us knew the tournament would be won in either the south end or north end of the lake. We also knew that many of the tournament competitors, as well as recreational people just out fishing, would be in these areas as well.

My usually highly competitive nature was not in gear that day because of a long week in the boat business, so I stayed on the main lake just to keep away from the crowds and relax.

I caught a nice solid three-pound bass and another keeper weighing about 2 1/2 pounds. The next 3 hours of casting produced nothing. I just said to heck with it and boated around taking pictures of owls, pelicans, beaver huts, cypress trees and such.

It was a low entry fee tournament, thus a low payout so I didn’t care if I won or placed. I just wanted to kick back and relax, so I did and I lost.

March is supposed to be an easy month to catch numbers of fish as well as big fish, but these cold fronts have made this month everything but easy.

First place in that tournament came from the south end and second place came from the north end just as predicted. Surface water temperatures that usually top out in the low 60s by late February did not hit 60 until mid-March.

We did have 61-degree water that day, but the bass I could see were not sitting still in the spawning areas. They were moving and it is next to impossible to catch a big female bass that is swimming along in the shallows looking for a place to spawn.

Even when the lakes hit the magical 60-degree mark, which normally triggers the white perch and bass spawn, a cold front would pass and hammer the water temperature back down into the 50s.

We need the water temperature to hit 60 at the lowest and top out by mid-afternoon in the 65- to 67-degree range for conditions to be somewhat normal. Normal is not a word we could use so far this year. Nothing has been normal in the fishing scene this year.

The bass and perch spawn should be about 50 percent complete by now, but I am not sure we have even had a decent spawn this year. I see pictures of bass that still have eggs and a few pictures of fish that appear to have spawned.

Naturally, the smaller bodies of water that warm up faster had a good spawn and those waters have produced the best catches.

The larger lakes have been hit and miss with more missing than hitting. This week, we had more than three inches of rain which raised water levels fast and muddied the water in many areas.

The rain was followed by a bright sky, high barometric pressure and winds on Saturday were gusting up to 25 mph. Fish were caught back in the wind protected pockets but again. It was not an easy weekend for fishing. April will be better, so hang in there. The fish are there. We just need some stable weather to catch them.