If you listen closely, you’ll hear a sigh of relief as bass fisherman flip their calendars to find that March and better fishing are right around the corner.
At Shearon Harris Lake just south of Raleigh, grass means bass, and veteran fisherman Jaime Fajardo will be running and gunning the most productive green patches with a pair of hardbaits to capitalize on rising water temperature and catch shallow, prespawn largemouth.
“I look for any grass on the lake,” said Fajardo, who lives in Raleigh.. “Whether it’s the old hydrilla or primrose that’s died off, it’s still down there in the water, and the bass will go to it because it holds heat.
“Harris doesn’t have a lot of cover, so if a fish is swimming down the side of a flat and all of a sudden he comes up on a big wad of dead grass, he’s going to hold up on it.”
“The key is, hydrilla isn’t everywhere in March,” said Fajardo. “Normally, I ride with my side-imaging on to find it, but, I know where it is because I know where it was topped out in the fall. The grass that was too thick to fish in the fall is where you want to fish in March.”
Noting that the water level at Harris is running a foot to 18 inches higher than normal, Fajardo points out that grass in 3 to 4 feet of water may now be in 6 to 7 feet of water.
“Anybody that fishes Harris knows the grass is on the flats,” he said, “any flat place going into creeks or on the main lake. Some guys will throw a deep-diving crankbait in 2 to 7 feet until they get hung up in it to find it.”
“You want to find the clearest water to fish, and that is usually mid-lake. Tom Jack Creek, Skeet’s Gut Creek and No Name Creek will have the best clarity. That’s where I focus.”
While February water temperatures will hover in the mid 40s, March temperatures will eventually reach the 50s, and bass will give chase to reaction baits.
“The baits I like to fish with, 90 percent of the time, will be a Rat-L-Trap and a jerkbait,” said Fajardo. “Obviously, you’re going to fish slow. With the Rat-L-Trap, I’ll be yo-yoing it off the bottom and ripping it out of the grass. With the jerkbait, I like to get it hung up in the grass and just let it sit there before ripping it out.”
“I like translucent jerkbaits on sunny days and pearl white on cloudy days,” he said. “I always throw a black and chrome Rat-L-Trap, but you can go with a Sexy Shad color, and alternate the size between a ¼- and a ½-ounce, depending on what the fish want.”