Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's the Buzz?

I had a small window of time after work last night to put in about an hour at best to fish at a local lake.  It sure didn't feel like a typical March day much less the first official day of Spring.  My plan was to fish from shore for a few quick bites and hopefully for some willing largemouth bass.  It was warm, muggy, buggy, with frogs and toads hopping out in front of me like deer crossing the road in front of your car at night as I hurried along a path to my fishing spot.  I had a hard time stepping around and over them in an attempt to avoid making frog or toad path pizzas.

I would have been in heaven if I had experienced that in my youthful life.  I loved to collect frogs, toads, and salamanders as a kid.  I had some pretty awesome terrariums throughout my life.  Amphibians are for the most part easy to keep, easy to feed, and become quite tame after a while.  I cringe at the thought of using them for bait because, well, they're my buddies.  However, I don't frown on other anglers using them, it's just my taste in fishing.

So, here I am fishing my cold weather early spring patterns, tossing worms and working them slowly through the water column without any bites, working dropoffs near shallow water but in the deeper holes.  There was a fair amount of panfish surface activity, so perhaps that approach wasn't the right way to go.

I decided to work the parallel to shore, wondering if the fish were up against the bank in the shallows in ambush of Kermit the Frog going for an evening swim.  I could work the dropoff and a good portion of adjacent shoreline doing that.  I had a bite and missed it, most likely a youthful bass or yellow perch, with not much weight to it.  But it was a clue that the bass were in shallow.  A couple casts later, and I had a good pickup, and set the hook into a chunky fourteen inch largemouth bass.
A chunky fourteen inch bass like this one fell for my plastic worm.  But I wanted bigger...something different.
But maybe I needed something different.  I just had a good feeling about it, frogs and toads hopping about, panfish surface activity everywhere, bugs in the air, warm temperatures and that evening calm on the lake... the lake was calling out to me for topwater. 

Luckily, I decided to pack my buzzbaits with me.  So, I dug one out and tied it on.  After several casts out to deeper woody cover without a bite, I decided to again work the shallow banks, casting parallel just inside the dropoff for my last hurrah before dark.

On my first cast doing that, with the lure heading towards me about ten feet away, the water erupted.  I hooked a good fish near the bank that was probably in the three pound range.  I gloated, and hooted and hollered to my buddy laughing that I hooked a bass in March on a buzzbait.  I wanted to land that fish badly, but it had other ideas, throwing the hook as I bellowed my frustration across the lake, scaring the geese that had landed just minutes before that were now cruising on the mid lake surface.  It just goes to show, that just as you can't count your chickens before they hatch, you can't count the bass before you land them.
I was spoiled, a few days earlier, I boated this 21.5" fat largemouth on a lipless crankbait.  I wondered if big sows like this were cruising the shorelines looking to eat Kermit the Frog.
It would have been my first ever bass landed on a buzzbait in March in Maryland, but instead, became my first ever bass hooked on a buzzbait in March in Maryland.  Heck, there have been years that I was still ice fishing during this time of year much less tossing topwater lures for largemouth.

This could be a trend!  More warmth on the way the next three days.  Time to break out the topwater!  Oh what fun we could have!

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