Focus on tree laps and rocky points
Rusty Bowers, a veteran bass fisherman from Albemarle, N.C., said March is a great month for big largemouth bass at Badin Lake.
“If you’re fishing a bass tournament with a 5-fish limit, you’ll need more than 20 pounds to have any chance of winning,” said Bowers. “In March, the fish generally run from 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds.”
Bowers uses a two-pronged attack to entice strikes from prespawn bass.
“I fish either a 1/2-ounce jig or a large Zoom Brush Hog creature bait,” said Bowers, who favors the green pumpkin color whether he’s fishing jigs or plastic baits. He targets tree laps and rocky points in 5 feet of water or less.
Bowers prefers water ranging from dingy to muddy, stain that should be readily available given the rains that have drenched the area this year.
From early to mid-March, Bowers targets rocky points, dragging his jig ever so slowly to get strikes from bass that are still mostly sluggish in the cooler water. Many times, he’ll feel only a sight bump or see a subtle movement of his line indicating a strike.
Switch lures when water warms
Once the water warms into the high 50s or low 60s, he switches to the Brush Hog. He’ll flip the bait into tree laps in pockets or along creek banks, probing each tree lap slowly and thoroughly.
“With the warmer water, more fish are moving shallow and preparing to go on the beds,” he said. “Tree laps are natural stopping places along the way.”
Bowers favors nooks and creeks around the Old Whitney area, home to numerous fallen trees. He said ideal fishing conditions in March would include a slight breeze, stained to dirty water, the lake being pulled, high water and a sunny day.
“Pulled water makes the fish more active. And a sunny day puts the fish tighter to cover. That’s what I want when I’m fishing tree laps,” he said.
Cold fronts force Bowers to change tactics.
“I’ll fish a spinnerbait when there’s a cold front,” said Bowers. “I use a 1/2-ounce white spinnerbait with willow-leaf blades in gold and silver.”
Fishermen are likely to encounter dingy to muddy water this spring because of excessive rains. These conditions might surprise some fishermen given that Badin doesn’t turn muddy that often.