March is trophy time for bass anglers

In March, bass will gather around rocks or any other type of riprap as they move into spawning range.

I start to get excited about bass fishing in February. And when March rolls around, I know that I’m just one cast away from the biggest fish of my life.

March is one of those months when you can actually find and catch fish with your baits the way we used to. It’s nice to have the electronics we have on our boats. But in March, all you need is the mapping tools for the lake you’re fishing, so you can find places where deep water comes in close to shallow water. And it’s nice that I can see these places on my Lowrance Hook HDS 12, instead of having one big map laying in your lap like we used years ago.

This year, with all the cold weather we’ve had, March might really be good. I think the fish will be fairly shallow, but still close to deep water. The first part of the month, depending on the weather, might be slow. But that’s going to change.

If it’s been super cold and it’s just starting to warm up, I will be fishing close to a creek channel or a deep swing. I’ve never been one to fish all the way back in a creek. I’ll be about half-way back. That’s part of figuring it out.

Bass fishing basics

You want to be sitting in 20 feet of water, throwing to the bank. Bass will come out of 20 feet of water to hit a bait like a Berkley Bad Shad or Frittside. Fish are looking up in March. When you get to mid-February, they start looking to the surface. And the clearer the water, the farther they’ll come up to hit a bait.

March isn’t a month to catch big numbers of bass in one spot, but you’ll catch your share by staying mobile.

I want to find the clearest water I can. March is a month to fish a crankbait or a jig. A crankbait works best in clearer water where a fish can see the bait’s action.

I want to be fishing around rocks. How many tournaments in March have been won on riprap? You can’t count them all. If you know a little rocky place, a little rocky point or bank that doesn’t really show at the surface, that’s an ace in the hole. And if there is a piece of wood nearby – a laydown, a stump or a brush pile – that makes it even better.

Now, by the end of the month, you’ll see fish starting to move up on the flats instead of staying out in open water on a drop. The fish will start to spread out after the water has been warming up for a couple of weeks. Instead of sitting in 20 feet of water casting to the bank, you’re sitting in 7 or 8 feet of water, making long casts to the same kinds of cover: rocks and wood.

You aren’t going to be catching 10 fish by making the same cast – in either situation. You might catch two or three, but mostly you’ll be moving a little and covering water. They gang up much better after the spawn than before it. But the first part of March is still the best time to catch a real giant.

Crawfish colors

The No. 1 color in March, nationwide, has to be some shade of crawfish: reds and browns. I’ve never said that before, but it’s been such a dominant color. You’ve got to have crawfish and shad colors tied on – not so much chartreuse, but if there’s color in the water, you can throw chartreuse.

I am going to be fishing these baits on one of my Lew’s David Fritts Perfect Crankbait rods, probably the 6-foot-8 model. I use that rod to throw a No. 5 Frittside. A lot of times, you’re throwing up into 2 or 3 feet of water, around rocks, and the bites you are getting are about halfway between the boat and the place where the crankbait hits the water. I want to fish a shorter rod so I can be more accurate with my casts. I’ll fish it with a Lew’s BB1 Pro reel, the slowest retrieve ratio I can get.

One thing to leave you with. In March, you probably don’t want that bait really digging the bottom. It’s probably better if the bait doesn’t touch the bottom. Those fish are looking up for their food, and they’ll really come up to get a bait – going down, not so much.

About David Fritts 128 Articles
David Fritts is a 61-year-old pro bass fisherman from Lexington, N.C. He won the 1993 Bassmasters Classic champion and the 1997 FLW Tour Championship, and he was the 1994 BASS Angler of the Year. He is sponsored by Ranger boats, Evinrude outboards, Lew’s, Minnkota,and Berkley.

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