Finally got out to bass fish two days this past week –the 11th and 14th –Each very different days weather-wise, and very interesting days to test an idea I’ve held dear for a long time about fish activity and their response to lures. Both days were spent on a public pond that has a good population of bass of various sizes.
The 11th was a nice fairly rapid heating day, sunny and high in mid 60’s: I watched water temps go from 47F to 55.5F in 3 hours. When I first arrived, and temp’d 47, I thought, “Ooooh, still cold.” So I started fishing slow: a slow-rolled SB, a jig, and a tube. Nada! At one point as I picked up my tube to make another cast a small bass chased it up quickly. “Not too fast for you!” I thought. “Ok, you want speed, you got it!”
I switched to a hard jerkbait and began an aggressive retrieve and started getting hit. Ended up with 9 in an hour-and-a-half from 12” to 14.5”, and 10 of 8” to 9” (bodes well for the future). I then quit this pond about 1PM.
Contrast this day with the 14th: Same pond 3 days later during a cold spell, and a descending front. In general, I target heating days and tend to avoid the cold days. This time I purposely chose a cold day that wouldn’t heat the water, to see if my avoidance is only due to my own ideas, not the fish’s. As a long time trout angler I’d long ago convinced myself of the importance of temperature trends in fishing quality, and this has carried over into my bass fishing. Fish are fish I figure, although their engines run at different temperatures. But I don’t want my pre-conceived ideas getting in the way of the truth, so I decided to return to this pond and fish the same way, but on a cold, non-heating day.
The 14th ended up a great day for this, ending up at a miserable 38F with rain and sleet by late afternoon. The pond was 49.5F when I started, warmed to 51F in three hours, until the front descended and it fell back to 49 and 47 (at different shoreline locations).
I went through exactly as I had on the 11th, using the same aggressive jerkbait retrieve. Nada! I followed up with a jig fished in slow pulls and got bit. I then went through again with the jerkbait, this time fished very slowly and subtly, and got bit as well. Ended up with 6 from 12” to 18”. Two best were a 16” and 18”, on the jerk and jig, respectively. (The 16 was fat –yea!)
The two days were very different in bass’ response. The fishing was tougher on the cold day (in terms of catch per hour), but both days would have been a skunking if I’d not adjusted. I believe the difference between the two days had to do with the bass’ willingness/ability to chase, which in turn is dependent on the temperature trend -not to be confused with the given temperature at the moment.
16" -nice condition
18" -a tad thin for pre-spawn
14.5" -Glorious condition! Look at that beautiful fish!