Start planning spring fishing trips

This can be a slow period for those of us who live in the North, which makes it a perfect time to plan next spring’s fishing trip.

I remember how my family and friends began planning trips in December for outings to Southern waters. My dad, brother and bass club buddies would pick a date and lake when we could caravan out of the cold weather in early spring and go south to catch big bass.

My first trip as a youngster was to Bull Shoals, Ark., which happens to be on our Elite schedule this year.

We didn’t know much about structure fishing and were basically bank beaters. It was a chance to fish some different terrain than our Northern lakes, plus we got to experiment with new techniques and lures.

After a couple of years at Bull Shoals, we wanted to go where we could catch bigger fish, so we went to Lake Eufaula, Ala.

In those days, there was no Internet and you had to gather info from magazines or word of mouth. So, when we got to the lake, we went looking for advice.

The first place we went was Tom Mann’s Outdoor World, a big bass museum and restaurant, which was near the lake. I’d grown up reading about the late Tom Mann’s legendary Eufaula catches on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail so that was a big thrill for me. We got to meet him in his restaurant, and he told us two places where we could catch a big fish. He told us to throw a big, moccasin-colored Jelly Worm, which was something we didn’t use in the North.

His info was dead-on. The first spot didn’t produce, but I caught a 9 1/2-pounder on the second spot and we all caught several fish over 8 pounds!

If you’ve thought about planning an exotic fishing trip, now is the time to do it. You have so much more information at your fingertips today and can do more thorough computer research than we did when I was younger.

Doing it beforehand can save you a lot of disappointment. Nothing is worse than make a long journey to a lake only to discover it was hit by a bass virus the year before, or that drought has taken it so low most ramps are closed.

You can learn which lakes are hot, locate the best guides, seasonal patterns, average size of bass and best lures. By doing it now, you can check out guides’ references, hang out in fishing chat rooms and learn more specifics about each body of water. You can find the best places to stay, eat and, of course, areas of the lake that are most productive that time of year.

It gives you time to shop the catalog or aisles of Bass Pro Shops for the lures you need and begin map study to determine areas you want to try.

Planning a spring bass fishing vacation can be as much fun as the trip itself and the experiences will make you a better angler at home.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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