It’s been a strange spring for my family, your family and the entire planet.
But it’s been equally weird from a fishing standpoint as well. Our weather patterns here in the North have created a situation I’ve only seen a few times throughout my life.
It began to unfold right after Hank Cherry won the Classic.
I came home from working the Classic and taping Bassmaster shows to a wicked warm-up in Michigan. We had five days of 70 to 80 degrees which is very rare that time of year. I even went turkey hunting in a T-shirt.
As nice as that was, it usually bodes badly for our spring fishing season.
When we have a fast warm-up in very early spring it jacks up our fish. They get confused as a warm-up usually means it’s time to think spawning, but it was too early in the year.
Of course, reality sat in and brutally cold weather returned. We went from those unseasonably warm temperatures to nothing but high 20s to low 40s for several weeks. It was like living in Seattle because we didn’t see much of the sun for the next two months.
Our water temperatures stayed between 43 to 53 degrees which created the longest jerkbait season I’ve ever seen in Michigan. It lasted two months, and it rarely goes for more than a month.
I caught them everywhere I went, whether it was to inland lakes or the Great Lakes, on the KVD Deep Jerkbait or the KVD 200 Series (sugar daddy color).
And then it was like the good Lord flipped a switch.
Our sun finally popped out four days before Memorial Day, and I’ve never seen the fish go from the drop-off edges to spawning beds so quickly – like in a matter of 36 hours.
I saw it first-hand when I went into northern Michigan to film a Zona LIVE Show.
Initially, I had intentions of doing a jerkbait show. I had the lakes and areas dialed in and knew it was going to be a good one.
But when we got on the water and I saw the sunlight had spiked the water temp, I looked at my cameraman and said we have to call an audible.
Sure enough, smallmouth were flooding the shallows by the hundreds.
Those fish held back all spring, but when that sun bumped the water temperature to 55 degrees, here they came.
Usually you find one spawner here and one there. But, we had been so void of warmth and sun, that when the sun shined and the air temperatures rose, it all came together.
We typically see spawners in that 58- to 62-degree range, but when the water hit 55 degrees and there were no clouds, they showed up in droves.
I rigged up a Strike King Baby Z-too on a Trokar Ned Rig Jig head and began whacking them. I also caught some on a 2.75-inch Coffee Tube and quite a few on a drop-shot rig with a Strike King Half Shell in the siren color. Siren is a bright color that I could see easily in the bedding areas – and a color that drove the smallies crazy.
Watch the Zona LIVE on Bassmaster.com and you will see the day I had. It was incredible.
It serves as another example of how there are no definitive rules for bass fishing. Mother Nature controls the rule book, and she likes to keep us guessing.
And you know what? That’s yet another reason why we love it.