Riprap, lily pads are keys to lake’s great largemouths
Maynor Creek just west of Waynesboro is a productive lake for bass in March because it has numbers of big bass in its shallow water.
On the northern end of the lake, you’ll see a bridge that crosses the creek, where the riprap creates a funnel for bass headed to the shallow spawning grounds above the bridge. Bass usually hold in the riprap on either side of the bridge, where they can eat the spawning shad and hold close to the rocks in the winter, spring and summer. Since the riprap generally is only a hot spot for an hour or less daily, I try to fish the riprap points early.
The best baits
- Zara Spook. I’ll start off with a walking topwater bait like the Zara Spook, using a 6-foot-9 medium-action FX Custom rod with a 7.3:1 Bruin reel. The rod will have 30-pound bass braid with a 17-pound monofilament leader. The leader keeps the hooks from getting tangled up in the braid
In March, bass will be feeding early, and I’ll work the Spook with a walk-the-dog retrieve, sliding the bait until it stops, then jerking it and letting it slide and pause before I twitch it again.
- Baby 1-Minus. Along the riprap, I expect to catch bass from 1 to 8 pounds. If I’m not catching many fish, I’ll switch over to the shad-colored Mann’s Baby 1-Minus crankbait, on a 7-foot-1, medium-action FX Custom cranking rod with 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon. I’ll bump this bait off the rocks and reel it fast to imitate a shad that’s trying to get away from a bass. I’ll only fish from the point of the riprap down the creek about 40 yards to where the most bass tend to concentrate. I will usually only spend about 30 minutes fishing the bridge, because the bass will be there and bite quickly, or they won’t be there.
Lily pad targets
Before I start fishing the lily pad clumps, I’ll observe them to see if I can see any movement indicating that a bass is there. If there’s movement, I’ll make seven or eight casts to the clumps.
I’ll start with will be a black/blue swim jig with a weed guard and a black/blue crawfish. I’ll be using a 6-foot-10, heavy-action FX Custom rod with 30-pound bass braid on a 6.2:1 Bruin reel. I’ll fish the entire north end because spawning bass will react to that swim jig. Another advantage I have with a swim jig is that if I can see the beds or an opening in the new lily pads or lily pad stems I can drop my rod tip and let the jig fall right into them.
If I’m not getting many bites on the swim jig, I’ll fish a 7-foot-3, heavy-action FX Custom rod with a 7.3:1 Bruin reel and 20-pound fluorocarbon tied with a black/blue plastic lizard with a 1/8-ounce weight in front of it. I’ll fish this lure more slowly than the swim jig, and if I can see beds, I’ll cast the lizard right to them for a reaction strike. I’ll also fish it around the edges of the lily pad clumps and then flip it onto those new clumps. Bass usually will be spawning under each pad; however, you’ll have to fish these clumps thoroughly to get the bass to bite.
Buzzbait, soft-plastic lizard
If the sky is somewhat overcast, I’ll also have a white 3/8-ounce buzzbait tied to a 6-foot-10 heavy-action FX Custom rod with 28-pound monofilament. If I want to speed up, I’ll run that buzzbait around the edges of and through the new lily pad clumps. The buzzbait allows me to cover more water more quickly than I can with a swim jig or a plastic lizard. Often, a bass will blow up on the buzzbait but won’t get it in its mouth. I’ll cast right back to the spot with a lizard. I’ll fish that area thoroughly with both the lizard and the swim jig.
On a day of March fishing, I expect to catch at least 20 bass. Many of those bass will be small, male bass, with perhaps several big females weighing from 3 to 8 pounds each. If you want some fast topwater action and the opportunity to catch a really big bass, I believe Maynor Creek will be your best bet.
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