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My Favorite Month

By Meagan Russell
In Bayou Outdoors
Mar 1st, 2022

article by Dan Chason

If you ask any outdoor enthusiast what month is their favorite, you would probably get a number of different answers.  Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love October fishing, deer hunting in November, duck hunting (not for a while) in December and of course small game (squirrel and rabbit) in January and early February.  But if I had to pick my single favorite month, it would be the month of March.

Fishing in March is unlike any other month.  I certainly love the early summer months when crappie and bass will bunch up but for bass and crappie, there isn’t a better or more productive month for big fish than the month of March.  Fish will position on shallow cover and become very protective of the area.   They are in their spawning time and this can mean big fish and  a lot of them.  Some anglers struggle with catching pre-spawn and spawning fish because they either offer the wrong presentation, wrong boat position or the wrong set up.  Let me see if I can offer some simple solutions to the age old problem.  Let’s start with crappie.

Depending on the area you are fishing, if I have a choice I would prefer a stained water versus clear.  Granted, you can see the fish better armed with a good set of polarized sun glasses but remember this:  If you can see them, they can see you.  The first advice for any spawning fish is to make sure to wear light colored clothing.  Think about the view of the fish.  Do you stick out more with a silhouette of a blue sky behind you with dark or light clothes?  The man who taught me this was my grandfather.  I can attest that I have better luck when I wear light colored clothes when fishing spawning fish.  The next thing to remember is noise.  A reliable trolling motor is a must but most anglers make a fatal mistake which directly relates to the amount of fish caught, especially in aluminum hull boats.  We all love to position our boat into the wind and ease into the tree, lay down or optimum cover to offer our lure of choice.  If your aluminum boat has waves slapping it you may as well beat the water with a limb.  I solve this issue with a simple fix.  I tie an old window anchor (looks like a fat metal stick) to 3 feet of rope and tie it to the rear of my boat.  It does not catch on anything and allows me to approach with the rear of my boat facing the wind with little spinning around.  I can work the cover and have found if I can get my jig in front of a crappie before he sees or hears me, I have better results.

Line size and line color is critical on spawning crappie.  I used the Mr. Crappie high visibility green in 8 lb test for a reason.  A lot of shallow crappie bites are subtle.  I catch more fish by watching my line than when waiting on the pull or bite.  Be a line watcher and you will catch many more fish.  Another tip is which jig you choose and how it is presented.  I rarely use over a 1/16 ounce jig and I will not use a jig that does not have a sickle hook.  The sickle hook accounts for a majority of catches when cheaper jigs with cheap hooks will allow many fish to get off and most times it is right at the boat.  In this stained water, I like a road runner blade on my jig.  In the dingier water, I have found that the bite is more aggressive and I lose very few.  Remember that crappie rarely come in one’s.  I will hit an area and return during the day and fish it all over again.  Crappie are greedy and if one is caught off of a Cypress tree, it isn’t long before another crappie will take over for the one living in your livewell.  

Rod length is critical in shallow crappie fishing.  I always use at least an 11 foot rod (B n M).  The rod should have a quick tip and allow you to be creative when setting the hook.  Every time I drop a jig (as crappie have a knack for getting in tight spots) I am looking for my exit.  How am I going to get this fish on and how am I going to get this fish in the boat.  Be ready for a quick reaction.

When bass fishing during the spawn and post spawn for bass, fan casting is not the route to go.  Remember that the first fish on the bed is the male and he is the last to leave.  If you see two fish on the bed, you must catch the male (smaller one) and not release him immediately (only on lakes with no slot limit). He guards the bed and will go right back to the bed and not be catchable for a while.  To catch big girl, you literally have to make her mad.  One trick I use for this is to go light and use a 10lb test line with a tube jig.  Inside the tube I put an Alka Seltzer.  When you drop that tube into the bed watch the fish.  When you see her gills flair, you have her attention.  Something about that bubbling from the Alka Seltzer makes her think this creature is eating her fry she is guarding,  this will put her in attack mode.

When I stop seeing a lot of bass locked on beds, it is top water time.  I love a Rogue or my favorite, orange and black Long A bomber.  The reason I like the Bomber is it is heavy and I can make very accurate casts.  One trick I use on my home lake is to put a small stick with a piece of trail marking flagging stuck in the bank or on a tree limb to mark where I found active beds.  This assures I won’t spook the fish and can make longer casts for more action and bigger fish.  I hope you enjoy this wonderful month of March. Catch a bunch but keep only what you need.  Spawning fish are tomorrow’s fish.  Save a few for the grandkids.