Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blustering Bass

    The first spell of warm weather to emerge in the transitional months of February and March often times present some unique bass fishing opportunities for the angler in the mid South.  Unseasonable warm weather, coupled with March's renowned lion-like temperament, might make the fall hunter, not quite turned spring fisherman, leave his hat on the rack; but to the disciplined fisherman, these conditions combine to form a very predictable and advantageous pattern.
    My brother, Connor, and I headed out into the fury of late February, wind in our faces, and the eerie whistle of monofilament to commentate our outing to a local friend's pond.  Connnor with a pearl Rippleshad, and I with a perch Rattletrap, hit the wood off of a secondary point in search of an early fish.  No such fish presented itself, and we quickly moved on to more likely spots.
    After a few hampered casts from the more promising main points, we gave up all hope for the predicted 6 mile/hour gusts, and escaped to the trails in the pines from the 19 mile/hour winds.  Following several pine needle laden trails with an eye for shed antlers our luck, here too, lay with the fish.  We did, however, manage to locate a rabbit and have some hide-and-seek fun with the furry creature.
    With an hour left to our windswept expedition, we padded carelessly back to the banks of the pond.  While rounding a corner at one of the skinny coves at the north end of the pond, a glimpse of an airborne baitfish put stride back into my step.  Words began spewing from my mouth in an effort to explain what was happening in the small cove to my brother.  With strong winds sweeping the water's surface in the direction of the cove, phytoplankton and, in turn, hungry baitfish would be corralled into the small-water setting; the grass bed that connected the cove with another of the same nature, would surely hold some slow-moving bass in ambush.  The desperate baitfish we observed in the cove, was surely trying to escape the hungry mouth of a larger, predator fish--the pattern was falling into place.
    Retrieving our rods from a dirt pile farther down the bank, I quickly switched to a Rippleshad, and a brisk pace connected me immediately with a fish back in the cove--a solid but small Largemouth.  Connor landed another solid pounder a few casts later than I.  I snapped some pictures.
    By the time I had put the camera down in my tackle backpack, my brother was tied into yet another wintry green fish.  I snapped more pictures and got back to casting.  If I said I made a few more casts I would be lying.  Connor hooked into a strong football fish within seconds of his second fish, and I happily lipped it, handed it over, and grabbed the Nikon once again.
     A few more casts on my brother's part produced a very nice, healthy football fish, that we guestimated to go about 4-4.
    Several more casts to the grassbed gave no results, so I suggested we circle the cove, and make casts from a different angle.  My first cast was hit hard, and the scene was stolen by a jealous Crappie that may have gone 12 inches--a living, breathing testament to the health and diversity of this backyard fishery.  The next fish came to me, if not by coincidence, out of pity--another solid pound of pale winter Largemouth.  My brother proceeded to haul in two more green fish, including an average sized Pickerel.
    When the second fish was being unhooked, I was on the phone with my means of transportation, who reminded us it was time to go home.  Overall, an otherwise deadened day was turned into a day of fun, excitement, and exploration.  It is always worth the time to be able to provide the kind of action we experienced with someone who may not otherwise have been able to do so.

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