Two Rivers Outdoors-With John L. Sloan
2-18-09
FISHING AN APPROACHING SPRING.

Mornings are still cold. Frost may rim the boat seats. The water is warm enough to warm your hand as you pull the plug in the live well. The bass have begun to move up, searching for gravel banks, crawfish, maybe a place to spawn. This is the prime time for bass.
We move back into the cove. Just where the rock bluff breaks into a gravel bank, we start casting. It is early, still cold and we fish 1/8-ounce tube lures slowly, bumping them over the submerged rocks. The sun is still below the ridge top. The water is in shadow and it is hard to see all the rocks. We spend some time bow and arrowing lures off rocks. The first strike comes just as the lure pops free. It is often that way.
Out here, out where the boat is hovering in 18 feet of water and the strikes are coming at the 10 foot level, the fish are mostly smallmouth. As we get to the back of the pocket, move into shallower water, the largemouth will take over. They hit the same lures but maybe, just at the back, around the big jumble of logs, we might throw a white spinner bait with a chartreuse trailer. Green fish like them.
Now the sun hits the bank, hits my shoulders, warms me. In a few minutes I値l switch to a shallow running jerk bait. I値l alternate it with the tube lure as water depths change. Later this morning, as the water and the day warms even more, I値l move in by the willows standing in the water. I値l work them with a jerk bait and maybe even a floating worm.
Afternoon breezes ripple the water. Now we are in shorts and t-shirts. Floating worms and twister tail jigs are the fare. We are hitting the shady banks. The floating worms are plied around wood and cover. The jigs bounce off submerged rocks and drift into the deeper water on bluff banks. Sometimes we use drop-shot worms and work the Kentucky bass around the log jams.
The sun is sinking now, the water again in shadows. The jerk baits come back out and a brown, bear-hair jig, tipped with a piece of brown pork rind is ready. We are just off a rounded point. A willow, a big willow, stands in over eight feet of water. I lay the jerk bait in tight with the drooping branches. I twitch it twice and jerk it down. It suspends just as it is supposed to and suddenly vanishes in a flash of green and white. I set the hook and the drag screams. Big. Very big.
It is dark now. We have the running lights on as we trailer the boat. The steaks are marinating back at the cabin and it is cold again. We値l have a fire in the fireplace tonight. We have been fishing an approaching spring. Try it sometime.
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Cutlines:
#1- In the early morning it is still cool and we find the largemouth back in the coves.
#2-By afternoon we are down to shorts and tee shirts and the smallmouth want the tube lures out in the deeper water.
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Constipation has ruined many a good day. Not as many as stupidity, though.