About Time

By Capt. James McManus

March….it’s about time. As old as I am I never wish away time, but it will be a blessing when the calendar flips over to March. Just saw Scotch broom blooming at my dad’s and crocus blades are just showing themselves, so it won’t be long now. Every month has something special I think except maybe August when even fish get tired of swimming around in bath water and you get just as wet out of the water as in. But that’s months and tons of good fishing away so let’s celebrate the here and now. Our fish are waking up and they’ve got things on their minds.

Number one is procreation, and with that comes a desire to feed up to support all the coming activities. Spots dominate my home lake of Fontana and there is not a more accommodating fish when they are preparing to spawn. Winter puts most fish deep and if you can locate them at times they will bite but there is typically a short time period. If you miss that you may go home empty. As the water warms they move up permanently to the banks and extend their feeding times. They also are spreading out looking for spawning sites so instead of looking for specific places you can pick general areas and simply cruise the banks.

The real advantage of their location is that now you can throw anything you like. Stick to areas near the headwaters, I like Alarka and the Tuckaseegee arms but smaller areas like Greasy Branch and Tsali can hold tons of fish. The water will still be down so you can get a good idea of the composition of the banks, and they may prefer one type over another but that can change based on the weather. Throw crank baits, drop shots, top water or my favorite, an eighth ounce jig head with a Keitech. Fish can still move up or down depending on conditions but keep searching and you should be able to catch. My buddy said this time of year makes master anglers of us all.

Enjoy, be grateful, take a boatless friend and kids and let me know if you want to catch a few. Later, Capt. James

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125