By Captain David Lifka
We have reached the time of year where fishing can be at its most difficult. Cold weather and cold water temperatures definitely have a direct influence on the current bite. Fortunately, so far this winter has been fairly mild, keeping water temperatures higher than usual. If this keeps up for just a few more weeks, spring fishing could be coming in like a lion.
With spring comes the best largemouth bass fishing of the year. After spending the winter low and slow, largemouths will hit all area freshwater ponds, lakes, creeks, and the river with a bodacious appetite. This bite is brought on due to the largemouth’s springtime spawning season. You can expect the spawn to last several weeks, with excellent bass fishing taking place before, during, and after the spawn. Spawning bass can be spotted on their beds for easy fishing in shallow waters during the spawn.
Saltwater fishing is ready for kickoff at any time this time of year. As bait fish begin their migration north due to warming sea temperatures, the predatory fish that we like to catch will soon follow. Bluefish are often the first fish to show. With razor sharp teeth, and piranha-like feeding frenzies, blues are plentiful and easy to catch during their spring run. Just about any bait, live or artificial, will be attacked while they are passing through in the surf. Cut baits and finger mullet seem to be their favorites though.
Whiting usually follow the blues, but can begin to show before the blues if we’ve had a mild enough winter. When the Whiting do show, it’s time to hang on to your hats, as the bite can happen as fast as your bait hits the bottom. Dead shrimp and sand fleas are their favorite bait.
When fishing in the surf, try locating a “bite zone” to increase productivity. By casting to different depths or locations, give each spot a few minutes to see how fast a bite occurs, and what the quality of the fish is that comes from that spot. You may also want to just try a slow retrieval every minute or so till your bait finds the area where the best fish are most concentrated.
In the upcoming days or weeks, spring fishing offers some of the fastest and easiest fishing of the year. For getting started, don’t look at the calendar, but watch the weather. Periods of warmer days with water temperatures averaging 60 degrees or warmer is the ticket to give it a try. If you are really anxious to get out, every 50 or 60 miles you drive south moves up the fishing season a week or two.
Fishing Report: Area freshwater largemouths are a must for anyone looking for their first or trophy bass. Don’t forget your neighborhood ponds and lakes for some great bass fishing.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.