You'll find Bogue Homa Lake just a few miles out of Laurel, where I live. The fourth year of a lake being stocked is when you start catching bigger bass, and this will be about the fourth year for Bogue Homa.

In March, you'll begin catching higher-quality bass, instead of large numbers of bass. Although the vegetation in the lake may start coming up in March, it won't be too thick to fish.

 

Go shallow first

In the spring I like to fish a buzzbait on a 7.3:1 Pinnacle reel. I use a 6-foot-9-inch Seeker spinnerbait rod and 20-pound-test 100% Fluorocarbon Berkley line. Early in the morning, before the sun comes up, I'll throw a ¼-ounce black buzzbait. Then, as the day brightens, I switch to a 3/8-ounce chartreuse-and-white buzzbait.

When the sun isn't very bright, or on cloudy or rainy days, I prefer to fish the black buzzbait around lily pads, over the top of grass that hasn't broken the water surface and around stumps.

Remember that bass spawn in really shallow water, so in March they're looking for a place to bed, fanning the beds and going onto the nests. They'll be difficult to reach because of the shallow water where they bed. One of the tools required is a push pole, which allows you to pull your big motor and your trolling motor up and move through the shallow water. You can push your way into the small shallow pockets where bass will be spawning in 1 to 1 ½ feet of water.

 

Fish the beds

Bogue Homa has a sandy bottom. The bass love to spawn near the patches of lilies and around the cypress stumps. If the water stays clear, you'll be able to see the bass beds from a long way off. So, I make long casts, especially when the sun gets high. I cast past the beds and retrieve the buzzbait right over the tops of the beds. Most of the time those big female bass can't stand the buzzbait running right over their beds, so they have to attack.

After I fish the buzzbait, I start fishing a black-and-blue Mann's HardNose Lizard. I use a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel on a 7½-foot graphite Seeker rod with medium-heavy action. I move-up to 30-pound Berkley braided line. I'll have a 1/8-ounce weight up the line and tie-on a No. 5/0 Gamakatsu Wide-Gap hook. Then I attach the lizard to the hook and skin-hook the point to make the bait weedless.

Once again I look for the beds, staying away from them to make long casts. I'll cast past the bed, quick-reel the lizard to the bed and then kill the bait. If the bass doesn't attack the lizard when it falls into the bed, then I'll dead-stick the lure, allowing it to be motionless for as long as three or four minutes. Occasionally check your line to make the lizard quiver and appear more lifelike.

Because the water is shallow and clear in these bedding areas, you generally can see bass either holding on the bed or swimming around the nest. If there's a bass holding on the bed, she'll make some kind of wake or disturb the water.

Once you see that movement in the water, you know you've made the fish angry. If you're patient and let the lizard lay in the bed, you have a good chance of catching that bass.

If you can't catch the bass on a long cast, use your push pole to move in closer to the bed. Often you can continue to shake the lizard or make repeated casts into the bed until the bass gets aggravated enough to bite.

When I'm fishing in bass tournaments and trying to catch a really big bedding bass, I might spend three or four hours trying to catch one big bass I can see on the bed. If I'm just fishing for fun, I might attempt to catch a bass on the bed for 10 or 15 minutes. If I can't catch that bass, I'll locate another bass and come back later in the day to try again for the first one.

When I return to a bass a second time, I approach the bass from a different angle. Then I change lizard colors and spray a fish attractant on the lizard.

 

Remember not all bass are visible

Numbers of standing cypress trees are in Bogue Homa Lake, and in March some bass will spawn around the cypress trees. These bass will be invisible in the roots of the tree or holding-off the side of the cypress knees.

So, to catch these bass, I'll pitch a Mann's 5-inch HardNose Freefall worm in black with red flake. I use 20-pound fluorocarbon line, a No. 5/0 black Gamakatsu Heavy-Cover hook, a 7.3:1 Pinnacle reel and a 7-foot graphite medium-heavy-action Seeker rod. I'll pitch the worm around the sides, the front and the back of the cypress trees, around the cypress knees and thoroughly through the root system of the entire tree. If the bass are spawning around the cypress trees, they usually will take that worm within the first few feet of water. When the worm hits the bottom, I reel it back in for a second pitch.

The bass will hit on the fall of the lure or not at all. Most of these trees will be in 4 feet of water or less, so your worm will reach the bottom quickly.