Editor’s Log: Temperature Breaks - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Temperature Breaks

You won’t find anyone living in the Northeast that would call this past winter ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’. January and February were more like March and April, save for that one frigid cold snap in February. March was probably colder on average than both of those and definitely brought more snow than both combined. As a result, the freshwater fishing was more consistent in February than it was in March—generally speaking. We would never say this during an ‘ordinary’ winter.

Stubborn as I am, March is my favorite month to fish for largemouth bass and, while I didn’t get out there as often as I hoped I would, I still made time for it. My results were all over the place, and the best fishing happened in the first week.

As I write this, we’re in the last full week of March and I was out fishing yesterday with one of the best friends I’ve made in my 42 years on this planet, Dave Daluz. We were on his bass boat and fishing a pond in southeastern Massachusetts that has a pretty good reputation for producing good catches of bass. As we puttered away from the launch the water temp read 44.1 degrees – cold, but far from ‘too cold’.

Idling down the glass-calm lake, Dave was pointing to various spots around the area where he’d had success in the past, a line of houses on an outside corner, a shady point with the tips of early spring grass poking through the surface along the bank, a long stretch of flooded bushes, a shallow flat marked by a pair of buoys. There’s nothing quite like that first ride of the morning, there’s so much hope in the air and that aspect of mystery that makes fishing exciting to people like you and me is more apparent than any other time during the day.

The first couple hours of fishing were very slow, a pickerel for me, a couple tiny bass for Dave, a small bass on a jig for me, another pickerel on the Ned for Dave. As the sun continued to climb in the sky, the water temps began to climb as well but, despite our best efforts fishing known hotspots and very ‘textbook’ structures, our results were scattered at best.

Around 11:30 a.m., we decided to break for lunch and Dave drove back in the direction of the launch, not to go home, but just to explore while we ate. Eyeing his twin fishfinders, we watched the bottom dip and rise, we looked for deep structure and found those few tasty-looking deep spots to be devoid of life. Certain areas, seemingly at random, were showing increases in water temperature, most of them by about one degree.

As we returned to that outside corner with the houses on it and then swung inside it, ducking out of the wind, we found a spot where the water registered more than two degrees higher than the average water temp everywhere else. As I swallowed my last bite of lunch, Dave hooked up and it was a 2-pound bass, the biggest of the day up to that point. Seeing that Dave had hooked that fish on a jerkbait, I dropped my jig rod and grabbed my jerkbait stick, within a cast or two I had one just under 4 pounds on the deck and then another of about half that size, then a pickerel then Dave had pickerel. This cluster of action had our interest. As we motored around nearby areas, everywhere was back to 45 degrees and the bite was nonexistent, but as we slid into another small cove, the water temps spiked to over 47 again and the bite turned back on.

This was not a day that will be remembered for either of us, but it is a concrete example of how minute changes in water temp can make up the difference between a tough bite and finding willing participants with any kind of regularity. Watching the temperature gauge in April will probably also translate to finding better results. Isn’t it interesting that two degrees can make all the difference in the world?


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