I cannot remember a St. Patrick's day weekend where I had opportunity to spend an afternoon on the water with 80 degree air temperatures and between 62-64 degree water temperatures. With the expectation of getting on the water on Sunday, I spent Saturday getting all the yard work (possibly a bit premature), out of the way so I had zero guilt spending Sunday on the water. It was everything I hoped it would be with the exception of a 15-25 mph south wind which at times created issues with boat control. Regardless, it was great to be on the water and getting my Rivers Edge custom made jig hammered by some hungry largemouth bass.
Immediately upon dropping the trolling motor I was surprised to see the water temperatures hovering around 62 degrees. I expected 55 degrees or less, but regardless, I almost immediately found eager fish. I crossed over a small channel and into 6'-8' of water with a slopping rock and wood bank. I started throwing a medium diving Chartreuse Bandit crankbait but after about a dozen casts, decided to slow down and throw a jig. It was roughly 3-4 flips into the bank before the first 1.9lb largemouth thumped the jig in about 5' of water. It was a nice way to start the day and shake off the winter rust. I continued to pitch to the shoreline slowly working the jig along the bottom back to the boat. By the calendar date, I would assume the bass would still be in deeper water, but since the water temperature was so high this early in the spring, I didn't want to rule out the bass moving shallower. It was another 20 yards or so before my next fish, a small dink that bit in 2' of water or less near a rock covered bank. Not two casts later another solid 1.7lb largemouth ran off with the jig almost directly under the boat in about 8' of water. So at this point I'd caught fish at three different depths, so decided to continue working the jig with a Net Bait brown and orange craw trailer completely back to the boat.
As the wind continued to howl across the water, I decided to go back over the 200 yard stretch I'd caught fish on and change jig colors to give the bass another menu option. However, I hadn't even turned the boat around and caught another 1.5lb bass off a large laydown I'd thoroughly fished not 2 minutes before. So, I decided not to switch jig colors and fished up the bank to wear I'd began. This proved to be good move as I managed to catch two other fish along the way roughly the same size as I'd caught over the past hour.
I decided there was one more rocky point I'd seen a 3+lb largemouth caught on last year early in the spring. The sun had been on the rocks all day and the water depth was 2'-4' around the point entering a shallow spawning bay. As I reached the point, I was torn between a swim jig, a shallow crankbait, or the jig in which I'd caught all my fish on to this point. So I decided to stick with the jig, and it paid off. A couple casts onto the rocks and I set the hook on a 2.35lb largemouth that was already in mid season form with the fight he put up.
It was a great ending to a surprisingly productive afternoon on the water in early March. I hope the weather continues to hold its pattern and the fish continue to cooperate this early in the year.