Don’t miss 'em

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

Now is the time to put your boat in the water and catch a big one, maybe the biggest bass of your life. The giant females are starting to move toward the spawning flats, and they’re feeding up as fast as they can. The ones I’ve been catching are spitting up a half-dozen shad during the fight to the boat. It looks like an early spring.

That’s not just because the water’s warming or anything like that. It’s also because the days are getting longer. That triggers the spring spawn in the older fish. That’s why I’m writing about this now and why you should be on the water, now.

In my opinion, the bigger ones spawn a lot earlier than most anglers, and even biologists, think. It’s also why a lot of guys miss out on some of the best fishing of the year. If you wait until you feel warm it’s likely that the good fish have already dropped their eggs and are in their postspawn mode.

Here’s what we’re looking at right now. The winter has been erratic. It’s cold for a few days and then it’s warm for a few days. That means the water isn’t as cold as it usually is in the middle of February. In some places, it’s around 47 or 48 degrees. And even in places way up north, it’s between 40 and 42 degrees.

My years on the water have taught me that the giants will spawn in the 55-degree range, sometimes they’ll go down as far as 52 or 53 degrees. Couple that with the longer days we’re having and that means we’re only a couple of weeks away from the spawn.

The moon phases are favorable for an early spawn this year, too. We’ll have a full moon on the 25th of this month. That’ll be followed by a new moon on March 11 and then by another full moon on the 27th. My guess is that the true trophies will be on their beds sometime between now and the end of next month.

If you wait until you think it’s spring, it’ll be too late. What’s pleasant to us when we walk outside doesn’t mean a thing to the fish. Go when they’re getting ready to do their thing and you’ll have better “luck” than if you wait until you’re ready to do your thing.

Don’t be fooled by snow storms that blow through your area. Sure, it feels cold to us but to the fish they’re another matter. They only last a few days, at most, and the air temperature usually isn’t that cold.

Snow does dump cold water into some waters but it’ll quickly warm back up if the sun is shining and the air temperature is reasonable. Keep in mind that 4 inches of wet snow only equals one inch of rain. If the snow is dry, it’ll go to 10 inches of snow for one inch of rain. That’s not much water.

Get out there now. Don’t miss ‘em.

advertisement

advertisement