True story: On Saturday (March 9), with a passing front turning into blue bird conditions and a tough wind, my partner Dan Smith and I put a steady whipping on big female bass on a 50-acre lake in Central Mississippi.
But, to be honest, we almost blew it.
Arriving after 10 a.m. to avoid the near freezing early temperatures, we started by throwing square-bill crankbaits on banks with deep drops near the shoreline. We made two passes around the lake, and caught about a dozen fish from 1 ½ to 5 pounds.
That bite quit at noon when the wind started blowing about 15 to 20, and overcast skies turned high and blue. We made one pass with shaky heads on what had been the hottest bank and picked up two more, both small fish.
Then we took a break for a deer sausage sandwich lunch and discussed options. We knew big fish were in the lake. We knew where deep cover was located in the middle of the lake, but it was exposed to the high winds and nearly impossible to fish. We also knew that the surface temperatures were in the mid to high 50s and the big bass shouldn't be deep. Hey, in two weeks, they'll be spawning.
At another lake the week before, I had found them staging just off the shallow flats and my partner that day had caught three giants (Satisfaction: Helping pal get his biggest bass).
"Is there any cover about 4 or 5 feet deep?" I asked Smith, who knew the lake's owner and the water's history.
"That same bank we've been fishing has a lot, but it's about 8 feet," Smith said. "There's not a lot of water between the cover and the banks where we've been hitting the males and we've hit that area pretty good with the crankbaits and they didn't seem interested."
That was where we needed to be fishing, we figured, but what would big females bite in the changing conditions.
"I think we need to slow down and finesse these fish," I suggested. "Let's get on that bank, behind the trees, and then see if we can coax a few bites on a wacky-rigged Senko."
Fortunately, both of us came prepared with spinning gear, rigged with 10-pound braid connected by tiny Spro swivels to 10-pound fluorocarbon leader - we had been on a recent marsh trip to catch redfish.
We tied on No. 2 Gamakatsu Weedless Finesse hooks, without weights, and then rigged black/red sparkle Senkos wacky style.
In the first 10 minutes, we had put six fish in the boat, a collection of males and bigger females. As the water warmed, the big sows started moving out of the thick cover in 8 feet of water and the slaughter was on.
In two hours, we caught about 15 each including a 9-pounder that Smith caught. I missed another giant when it got into the trolling motor, and we caught several between 6 and 8.
Not bad for dead-sticking a stick bait.