I told you last month [February] that right now is the time to go.
I told you that 6 out of the top 11 and 26 of the top 50 largemouths that
have been taken in the State of Texas (each one over 15 lbs.) were caught
in the months of February and March. But you just wouldn't listen, would
Well you've already missed half of this year's BIG BASS SEASON, but
there's still time to redeem yourself. March's full moon is on the 28th
this year and if you have to narrow your March bass fishing to one weekend,
then the 30th and 31st should be the best weekend of a very good month.
This month is going to give you your best remaining shot of the year at
catching the biggest bass of your life.
Sometime during March, every single
bass in Lake Livingston that hasn't already spawned out, will make the
annual trek to shallow water for the spawning ritual. Since you know where
a large portion of the bass population is going to be, you can fish the
shallows with increased confidence.
And, one of the most productive baits
that you can use is going to be a plastic lizard. Don't forget where you
put your spinnerbait, because it will still catch a lot of bass this month
and will catch them faster than a lizard will. While a spinnerbait will
catch some of the more aggressive pre-spawn and spawning bass, the plastic
lizard, because it is fished slower and on the bottom, will catch many
of those bass that are simply not aggressive enough to chase down a spinnerbait.
Many people theorize that bass are fooled into thinking that these plastic
lizards are aquatic salamanders (usually called "waterdogs"
or "mudpuppies") and are afraid they will eat their eggs off
the spawning nest. I usually don't concern myself with theory and deal
only in fact, and the fact of the matter is that at this time of year,
a bass will strike a plastic lizard more aggressively than any other type
of soft plastic lure. The more aggressive the strike, the easier it is
for us to feel it. For some reason known only to the bass, they seem to
take a lizard all the way into their mouths and give us at least a fighting
chance at a hook-set and a catch.
Now that we have looked at some of the "why's",
lets look at some of the "how's", the "where's" and
the "what with's".
Where should be shallow (0-4'), relatively
protected backwater areas. Pockets off the main lake or one of the main
creek channels will be excellent. A sandy or gravelly bottom is preferred
but not required. The best areas will have an old underwater ditch or
small creek running through it with slightly deeper water (6'-9'). The
bass will use this ditch like a highway as they move from deeper water
and begin to think about spawning. If a cold front comes through and lowers
the water temperature, they will back out of the shallower water and hold
in or right on the edge of the ditch. In between fronts, as the water
warms, the bass will move closer to the banks where they are eventually
going to spawn.
As far as the lure itself, many manufacturers make quality
plastic lizards. Gene Larew, Berkley and Zoom are some of the more prominent
names seen on the local tackle shelves. I prefer either a 4" or 6"
Berkley Power Lizard in black/neon (black with red metal flake mixed in)
with a chartreuse tail. Berkley Power Baits have fish attractant cooked
into the plastic during the manufacturing process and the bass seem to
hold on to these lures just a little longer and give you a few more precious
seconds to detect the strike and set the hook. This is not just some gimmick,
it really works.
While I am just randomly casting my lizard to shoreline
cover, I usually use a 6" lizard since I seem to catch bigger bass
with it. But, when I know I have found a bass on a bed, I prefer the 4"
version since it is more difficult for the bass to pick the lizard up
without getting the hook in its mouth. Most any dark color will work,
I just have developed a lot of confidence in black/neon and I like to
fish a chartreuse tail on any soft plastic lure in stained water and almost
all of the water in Lake Livingston right now is either stained or off-color.
I will usually "Texas rig" my lizard with a 3/16 or 1/4 oz.
bullet weight and a 4/0 VMC Texas Special worm hook. The VMC Texas Special
worm hook is an extra-strong, bent (or offset) shank worm hook that is
very well adapted to this type of fishing and is one of the few that comes
out of the box sharp enough to fish. This time of year, I always "peg"
my weight with either a rubber band or a toothpick so that it won't slide
up and down my line easily. I do this because many times when you cast
your lure into heavy cover without the weight being "pegged",
the lizard will get tangled in the cover but the weight will slide down
the line and give you the false impression that your lure has penetrated
the cover and reached the bottom. So peg those sinkers and get those lizards
down to the fish. That 4/0 hook may look and sound large but remember
that March is going to give us the best chance of the remaining year to
catch the biggest bass of our life.
The next time you go into a restaurant
with mounted bass on the wall take a 4/0 worm hook and lay it in the mouth
of an 8 or 9 pounder and you'll see why I use a 5/0 a lot of the time.
Since most 9 pounders can swallow a grapefruit, I don't hesitate to use
a big hook.
For line, I prefer fresh, premium quality 20-25 pound test
monofilament with good abrasion resistance, like Trilene XT or Big Game.
This line virtually disappears in the water. I usually use a 7'6"
heavy action Fenwick HMG graphite flipping rod (model GTC 775-2) for most
of my lizard work. I prefer these longer rods to give me just a little
extra leverage when I hook a big fish in heavy cover. Also, I use like
to use a quality, high-speed baitcasting reel with a flippin' switch and
thumb bar release like an Abu Garcia Tournament Pro TP3000C.
Now that we are rigged up, we need to use an underhanded
"pitch" cast to put our lizard in the thickest shallow water
cover that we can find and fish it SLOW. This "pitch" cast keeps
the lure close to the water and lets the lure enter the water with very
little splash. Remember the water is still a little on the cool side and
the bass may not be real aggressive, so fish that lizard SSSLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!
Try to make that lizard shake without moving it and stay ready and alert.
Many times you won't feel the strike, all that you'll see is your line
moving sideways. When you see this, set the hook hard and keep the pressure
on. Try to get the fish's head up and get her moving toward you. If she
gets hung up, then go in there and get her.
I sincerely hope that at least some of the information
that I have provided was enlightening or maybe entertaining but most of
all helpful. If you would like some first hand instruction on black bass
fishing on Lake Livingston or Sam Rayburn, I guide full time on both of
these lakes and can be reached at (936) 563-5454 or email me at email@example.com.
If you get a chance, check out my website at www.detnet.com/fairbanks
and let me know what you think. Until next time, catch all you can and
release all that you catch. Good luck, be safe out there and may God bless.
Sponsored by: Ranger Boats, Motorguide, Pro-Kon-Trol,
Lowrance Electronics, Fenwick, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Energy Batteries,
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