March 2001

Fayette County Fishing Report

March 2001

I hesitate to start on a down note but in mid-January a young man lost his life on Fayette. He was found floating near his boat with his life jacket on. The boat was out of gas and the battery dead. Authorities speculate that he tried to swim the approximately one half mile to shore for help. At the time, the water temperature must have been in the low fifties. The human body simply cannot survive long in that water. The lesson is a hard one for us all.

I have fished for many years and have developed a VERY healthy respect for Mother Nature and Her power. We all must respect the water no matter what the situation. Especially educate the teens among us. They, as we did, believe they are immune, invincible and immortal. Don’t assume their judgment will not be clouded in a crisis. Prepare them. A life jacket is not enough if we do not pay attention to other conditions.  I wear Sospenders and find them to be everything I was looking for in a life jacket. In the winter they do not inhibit you from fishing. In the summer, they are not hot. Wear your kill switch! Mother Nature will remind us very quickly of Her power if we chose to ignore the signs around us. Please makes sure you are prepared for any eventuality: life jackets, a flotation cushion, air horn, flares, cell phone or CB radio, a weather radio, a change of clothes and tools to repair your boat. Makes sure someone knows you went fishing, where you went and when you expect to return. Fishing is great fun but it is not worth a life. 

And now, on to the fishing at Fayette County. March is the month most fishermen wait for. The weather is breaking (SURPRISE! We had a REAL winter!) , most of the fish on the lake are catchable. By March the spawn is in full swing and you can have your cake and eat it too.

I prefer to look for pre-spawn and post-spawn fish rather than fishing for bedding bass. I find them to be much more aggressive in both cases and are therefore much easier to catch. The good news is that if you catch pre-spawn fish in one area, the post-spawn bass will also use that area. Look first on the main lake points. Search with a small, willow bladed spinnerbait. I prefer white/chartreuse, as do most. If that is not working, my first choice is the Norman Deep Baby N in the sunshine color. I throw into about 3 feet and pull it back to deeper water. You will hit some isolated grass when doing this. STOP, then rip it through the grass. Some of my best fish have come from this method. I also keep a white crawfish oz Rat-L-Trap ready to throw in the same areas. I have caught fish on this bait on every lake I fished last year. A special thanks to B.A.S.S. touring pro, Rick LaFay for turning me on to it last Spring on Rayburn. I will also use a Carolina rigged lizard under these conditions. I use a two foot leader of Bass Pro Shops XPS 14# fluorocarbon while my main line is 40# Spiderwire. In addition, I use a Johnny Morris Carolina Rig rod by Bass Pro Shops. This rod is a sensitive as it gets and coupled with the spiderwire really gives you not only a great “feel” for the bottom of the lake but an excellent chance to react to subtle bites.

If the fish are not on the main lake points head to the secondary points. I prefer fishing the east side of the lake so the areas around the “lost” boat ramp can be very effective. Remember, bass are like almost every other creature. They will use a “trail” to get from deep water to the spawning flats. This trail could be a creek channel, fence line, grass line, or even a significant contour line. It is not unusual to catch 30-40 fish a day fishing for pre and post spawn bass.

If you want to look for spawning beds just pick any cove or pocket. The fish will be there. And so will most of the fisherman! The lake will be crowded with up to 300 boats, all with one thing in mind. I suggest a push pole to move around the bed. Your trolling motor will wreck havoc with the beds that cannot be undone. If you are not going to use a pole, adjust your trolling motor so that it is just barely in the water. Unfortunately, most people will not use a push pole and the beds are likely to be severely damaged before you get to them.

Once you find a bed and a fish, the fun begins. Remember, is a sow is on bed, she will not be there long. Maybe three days tops. That means there is really only one thing on her mind and it is not your lure. Getting her to bite is a real challenge. Every year, when I check my fishing records,  three techniques emerge: wacky worm, buzz bait and drop shot. No creature, including man, likes something directly overhead. That is why, I believe, the wacky worm and buzz bait work so well. I will fish both in over spawning flats and beds, when they are shallow enough to see. I prefer a Zoom Trick Worm in Watermelon/Pearl for my wacky worm. I weight it with a small piece of coat hanger in each end and fish it on a Bass Pro Shops Extreme 5’6 pistol grip with a Johnny Morris reel spooled with 10 pound P-Line. My buzz bait is a BPS Titan Titanium, white, single bladed bait and don’t forget the trailer hook. I throw this bait on a 6’6 medium BPS Johnny Morris rod using 14 pound P-Line.

Recently the cat has been let out of the bag concerning a technique many of us have been using for years: the drop shot. So, here is the deal. Use an 1/8-ounce BPS drop shot weight making sure your hook is at least two feet above. Cast beyond the bed and SLOWLY drag the bait into the bed. Keep lowering your rod tip to draw the bait in front of the fish without moving the weight. Once it is right in front of the fish, simply jiggle your rod bit and the bait will dance. It is very hard for these fish to resist such a presentation. This takes some practice but can really be an effective presentation for bedding bass. What bait should you use? I prefer the new Berkley Drop Shot Power Baits. The minnow and worm both look great dancing in front for a bass.

Please remember that if you are going to fish for bedding bass, immediately release these beauties so they can continue the reproduction process. The future of our fishery is in your hands.

Well, that is about it for now. I hope to see many of you at the BPS Spring Fishing Classic at the Katy store. It will run from March 22 through the 25. Many of the touring pros will be there along with 50 vendors of all shapes and sizes. I will be there the 22 and the 25. I also teach bass classes at the store on alternate Sunday mornings. If you are interested in attending call the store to get a schedule (281) 644-2200. If you would like to book a trip to Fayette give me a call (281) 499-3799, email (FishingCoach@aol.com) or check out my website: www.compassnet.com/fishcoach.