What are hot baits for bass in March?
Richard Rackley of Garner caught this 10-pound largemouth bass on a jig in March.
Three patterns have always seemed to be among the best to fish in March.
First, Carolina-rigged lizards are great baits for probing points and other structure at any depth leading into spawning areas. With fish moving every day this time of year, you never know for sure what depth they’ll be. The Carolina rig maintains contact with the bottom at all times and can clue you in fast. They were really popular several years ago and are kind of out of favor now, which sparks my interest in the technique.
Carolina-rigging can be boring if you stay too long on a spot, but if you keep moving, it can be fast and exciting. You can fish it fairly quickly, and it is easy to feel the bottom type and develop a pattern based on that. I really like Culprit’s pro-style lizards in green pumpkin and junebug.
Second, spinnerbaits are at their best in March if the water comes up, gets some color to it, or if it is windy. Since March is nearly always windy in North Carolina, spinnerbaits should be considered a top choice. I keep at least one Assassinator spinnerbait tied on all the time. I like a 7-foot medium-heavy Daiwa rod and Daiwa Steez or Zillion reel with a 6.3-to-1 retrieve ratio.
Always fish big laydowns or pole-timber in the back of pockets with this bait. If the water is in the bushes, watch out! You could be in for the best fishing of the year with a spinnerbait. Pay special attention to flooded, dead brown grass we call “hay.” I use double willow-blades in sunfish or natural shad under normal conditions. If the water is muddy, then I go with double Colorado blades and a color I designed for Assassinator called “Dustin’s Mud Secret.” I like the half-ounce size best.
Finally, flipping jigs in shallow heavy cover will net you your share of lunkers this month. Remember, bass are always on the move in during this prespawn phase, searching for food and a good place to spawn. When they venture shallow, they’ll stop in heavy cover to rest and feed. Nothing gets in and catches them better than a jig. You might even discover there is an early spawn going on, especially if there are flooded willows around.
When jig fishing, you need to use heavy line and rod to get them out of the cover. I like to use a 7-foot-6’ Daiwa LT flipping rod with 7-to-1 Zillion reel for most of my flipping, paired with 20-pound test fluorocarbon — or 65-pound braid if you’re a braid guy.
For flipping jigs, most fishermen use a fairly heavy weed-guard to avoid snags and a sharp, strong hook. I start with a 3/8th-ounce jig and will go up to as much as an ounce to penetrate the predominant cover. If you are fishing mostly logs, a 3/8th- or half-ounce jig will work fine most of the time.
I like several types of trailers. For smaller jigs, I choose Culprit’s new Tailgate special. For large jigs, you’ll find me still using some of the larger pork rind trailers.
Swimming jigs can also be deadly in and around heavy cover if the bass are more suspended. I mostly use a quarter-ounce swim jig and a grub or small Culprit frog trailer. Some fishermen even use swimbaits on the back for a different action. I use with the same flipping rod and line when swimming jigs.
These are just three of the lures I like in March. You can throw the whole tackle box at them this time of year. Bass are feeding and moving into new areas, so they are susceptible to being caught on anything. Stick with the best lure for the conditions and for your confidence, and you will be rewarded with great catches.
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