Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide Report 03/14/2017 – Wow what a difference a month makes. Since the last time we talked the entire western United States has had an onslaught of rain and snow and reservoirs all throughout the western part of this country are flooded, at full pool, or back to reasonable water levels which is going to be a tremendous shot in the arm for the entire western bass fishing industry. It’s without question the most exciting event to hit western anglers in a long time and I has to put a smile on everyone’s face as the future is so bright with so many fantastic bass fishing opportunities. With that said the entire western United States is in the middle of a full-blown spawn and the spring bass fishing season is in high gear I thought we go over some of the truths about what spring bass fishing is really all about and clear up some of the misnomers about the spring season. When you spend almost every single day floating on the water and working with fishing clients you get to hear a lot of interesting questions and some of them are quite common at certain times of the year. I’d like to go over some of the most commonly asked questions and clear up some of the most misunderstood facets of the sport of spring bass fishing. First and foremost it’s a very important for anglers to understand that when a bass is in the spawning mode eating has absolutely nothing to do with their day-to-day life. To the best of our knowledge fish do not eat at all during the actual spawning cycle. Whether or not this period is 3 to 4 days or 1 to 2 weeks has never been very clear. But we do know is that bass that are caught while involved in the spawning process almost always are caught in some form or fashion of defending their spawning bed or area that they choose to nest in, or fry that they have produced. Just so that we’re clear fry is a terminology used for freshly hatched small bass. Fry appear almost dust like in the water as brown very small dots in a dust like fashion. Once again let me make this clear fish do not eat during the spawning process period! The reason spring bass fishing is so productive is bass are willing to defend certain areas or certain zones as this is natures way of protecting and defending their spawning process. This is why I have always made quite a stance on the sport of sight fishing. Anglers will talk about how wrong it is for fishermen to target and fish for bass that they can see visually with their eyes. But that same angler has absolutely no problem throwing his crankbait out at long-distance and cranking it in shallow water and as that crankbait goes through a spawning area and the fish attacks the bait this somehow makes that catch somewhat of a sporting like achievement. Let’s be honest with ourselves and the sport that were involved in. In the spring of the year a great majority of the fish in all of our Western lakes, reservoirs and tidal waters are defending spawn related areas. Most all of the catches in the spring come from bass defending an area and your bait happens to go through that zone and that fish gets caught. Whether you see the fish before you catch it or not that fish was most likely spawning. It’s just a simple fact that goes with our sport. That being said this is why it is so important during this time of the year to release all the bass that you catch even if you did not see the fish before you caught it that fish is in an area getting ready to spawn or defending an area that the fish has spawned in. Most anglers that I speak with have no idea that a great majority of the fish are not feeding during this time of year. I spend a great deal of talk time making it clear to anglers that can physically see a fish in the water that you want to move your bait in a fashion that makes the fish react to your bait. You want to aggravate the fish in a fashion so that they will strike your bait. So many fishermen make a presentation to a fish that they see in shallow water and slowly work the bait right in front of the fish as if the fish is going to go up to the bait and eat the bait. That’s just not part of their life at this time of year. I know this is a known fact to many professional anglers but there are so many of our anglers out there that have no idea that eating is just not part of the program at this time of the season. So don’t present your bait in a fashion where you’re trying to get the fish to eat your bait you want to present your bait in a fashion that will aggravate the fish into striking your bait.
Another thing that you will notice at this time of year are certain markings and colors on the fish that you catch. One of the most common is what we call “Blacktail”. Especially when you see fish in shallow water you’ll notice that their tail has a black almost halo like finish on the very end of it. This is very common for the spring of the year. There’s not much known about why this happens but it is very very prevalent during the spring of the year. What is known is that these markings appear on some of the bass during some period of the spawning cycle. Another thing that you’ll notice in the spring of the year is many times you will see and tails on bass that have been “brushed off” from building a bed for the spawning season. This is very common place and heals on its own and is quite normal for this time of year. Many of the bass that you will catch will have sores and red marks and other almost disease like looking markings on fish during this time of year. These are fish that are very weak and tired from a long spawning process. It is quite normal and nothing to be alarmed about. As fish begin to gorge themselves on crayfish and threadfin shad right after the spawn they will build up their strength and get their natural weight back. As they beef up on shad and crawfish these markings and sores will heal on their own.
Some of the absolute best reaction bait fishing always occurs just after the spawn. Fish as we talked about begin to gorge themselves on crayfish and shad and these are bass that are actually feeding and they’re feeding hard. These are fish that you want to present your bait in a fashion to allow them to eat your bait. They are no longer in the mode of defending anything. They’re interested in getting their body weight and mass back up again. This is just natures way. The fish will gorge on shad, crayfish and anything else they can capture to build their strength back and get back to a normal healthy weight. Once fish have finished the spawn this is when you want to utilize lures that mimic these food sources. This is when you will find fish schooled in certain areas and the fishing at times can be absolutely fantastic. This is when we get back to the mindset of “catching” fish and feeding them a bait in a fashion where they will eat our lure presentation. I think this is a very important fact that is overlooked by most anglers. Most anglers go fishing in the spring and really don’t understand the two distinct differences between a fish spawning and a fish that is in the post spawn period. It is very important for you to try to understand these two very different periods of the spring spawning season. It will be a crucial part of your success as to how you present your bait based on what cycle the fish are in.
Well with that being said I think the most important thing for us all to remember is to release as many bass as possible at this time of the season. Go out and enjoy the sport we love as this is the golden timeframe for all of us in the bass fishing world.