It’s been a crazy winter and spring


Andy Crawford

There has been some crazy weather this winter and spring, and it’s had a significant impact on bass fishing this spring.

Here in Virginia, and throughout the Midwest and most of the rest of the country, there really weren’t any extended cold spells this winter. It’d get cold for a couple of days but then warm right back up for a week or more. Water temperatures never really got down to where they should have been or would have been in a normal winter.

This spring hasn’t been any more stable. Unusually warm weather early on has been followed by unusually cold weather. That keeps water temperatures swinging back and forth instead of gradually warming like in a normal spring.

This has the bass in a pattern that isn’t a pattern. They really aren’t doing the same thing at the same time. They’re scattered. Just south of the latitude I live on some are in their prespawn mode, some are on the beds and others are well into their postspawn. It looks to me like some bass spawned as early as late January — and I’m talking in the lower Midwest and upper South, not Florida.

We saw this at the Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend presented by Econo Lodge. Most of the guys who did well fished several patterns and several different types of water. My experience was pretty much the norm.

I found some bass way back in the pockets in less than 3 feet of water by throwing a ChatterBait and pitching soft plastics. But I had another thing going out in 8 to 12 feet of water with a SPRO Little John Baby DD and a Missile Baits Baby D Stroyer as well as a topwater plug.

It’s not unusual to find bass at different depths but what got me was that there wasn’t any way to put enough of them together to make a good sack unless you kept moving back and forth. The numbers just weren’t in one place. It was junk fishing at its best. 

And it looks to me like that’s what we’re going to see over the next month or two. I’d say at least well into May. Savvy anglers will hunt and peck their way to a good catch. They’ll grab one or two moving up on the beds but they’ll also grab one or two coming off the beds, and you never know which one will produce the bigger bite. All you’ll be able to do is take what’s there and be thankful for it.

There’s a bad and a good side to what all is happening this year. 

The bad is we’re going to have to work for what we catch. There’ll be no running to our favorite spring place and loading the livewell. It’ll be a struggle at times with only the persistent being rewarded.

The good is that we’ll learn a lot about bass behavior, and we’ll learn to take advantage of the moment. Maybe even better, we’ll learn to keep moving when we aren’t catching them and to mix things up until we find the key that unlocks the bite.

All the bass aren’t doing the same thing, and neither should we.