Winter Storms

By Scott Norton

Many of you are getting ready for that special time of year in spring, but are you missing out on the now. When winter starts to give way to warming trends, storms start forming and lakes start to fill, setting the stage for the spawn. Now is the time to catch those giant winter bass feeding up for the spawn. Great bass are caught this time of year because of factors coming together, and you don’t want to miss out. What factors am I talking about? I’m talking about warming trends, large bass that are feeding up, water temperatures rising, and predictable bass locations.

Bass are already sensing the up-coming spawn and the large breeders are in a frenzy. Small bass are not aggressively feeding yet so, when you catch one now, they are quality bites. Most of the lakes are at full pool now causing a rapid rise in water temps. This is great when you want to locate them. Now you can start on main points and work your way to the secondary points. You’ll be able establish a pattern and location pretty quickly.

You will want to adjust your bait selection for the water clarity and water temperatures. My first recommendation would be big baits that you can crawl in front of their faces with. Big baits have amazing drawing power and those big girls are looking for a big easy meal. If you have muddy water, I would suggest using crank baits, chatter baits, and spinner baits with painted blades. Go with the colors of crayfish, like red and orange. If you have clear water conditions, go natural with no rattles. With bass moving shallower, they will be keying in on those crayfish because they provide iodine to break those egg sacks open in the females, so keep that in mind.

Of course, elevation will give you the most results you can play with. The strategy with that is to choose your situation. If you like to fish with swim baits, you can go up in elevation to get into clear water. The downside to that is the water temperatures are colder. If you want to power fish for a faster pace, go lower in elevation. The downside to this is the water will be muddy. The good thing in this situation is that the water temperature will be warmer. You can also get closer to the bass without spooking them. They will be predictable in location because they will relate to a specific structure.

Fishing traffic is very low this time of year as well. The bulk of the traffic will be at the end of March and all through April. Opportunities are there for the anglers that want them the most. Take this time to prepare for your trip and research the conditions before you go so you’ll know that you brought the right gear to get the job done. Hope this helps and good luck to you anglers on your great adventures!

Scott Norton is a Western North Carolina native. Born in Asheville, N.C., he is a long-time hunter, angler and weekend warrior. He is a member of Southern Raft Supply’s prostaff, representing them in his Jackson Kayak Coosa FD.