So, what's a good time start?

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So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Wed 20, 2019 2:32 pm

I've always been a 70°+ weather fisherman, but this year I want to try to start a bit earlier. So, when is a good time to do it without running for hours trying to engage at least single lethargic bass?
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby joetrain » Mar Wed 20, 2019 2:52 pm

According to the Rambler School of Angling fishing is not just about the catching. It’s a total zen experience.

If you wait for 70+ degree days you will be missing some fine fishing. Get out there and wet a line.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby jmdog2003 » Mar Wed 20, 2019 3:19 pm

Plenty of bites to be had right now but a lot of people swear by the 50 degree water temp mark to flip a switch in bass. Some time in late March/early April depending on weather trends, if you're determined to wait.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby ffishman » Mar Wed 20, 2019 4:24 pm

In IL, anytime you can get out. As for Wis, not until opener in May
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby UglyStick » Mar Wed 20, 2019 5:05 pm

Long term weather forecast says April 1st in general. But weather.com keeps down grading the high temps.
Any day it's below or at 32 degrees is a lost day as far as the fishing picking up. But late afternoon on a sunny
day is worth a shot if the wind isn't too bad. It's really about expectations and getting out in nature no matter
what it throws at you.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby CBatt2 » Mar Wed 20, 2019 6:42 pm

Not sure if you're ONLY interested in bass fishing, but I generally like to try the lakefront harbors for cohos and browns, this time of year. Early morning and early afternoon have been productive for me, in the past. White twister-tails, spoons, crankbaits, and nightcrawlers under a bobber work for me. If one isn't producing, switch to something else. Changing up can make all the difference. Good luck, and if you go, make sure you have a salmon stamp.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby billebob5 » Mar Wed 20, 2019 9:00 pm

Joetrain LOL
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Woohoodude11 » Mar Wed 20, 2019 9:46 pm

The 2 ponds I was at today had off shore readings of 46 and 45 degrees. Looking at the weather forecast, we'll be tickling that 50° sweet spot by the end of next week. Bait selection is key, though.

There truly isn't much else quite like beating the fairweather fishermen out. Most of my haunts I'll have a whole pond/lake to myself until late April.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Mar Wed 20, 2019 11:57 pm

I think for a lot of us the cold water period is our favorite (sub 50 degree) You probably have your best chance of hitting a big school or a giant...even better when you get both. Getting out of the house and zenning out with nature all good secondary reasons. I just added the last couple of days catches to my “Lying” post in ‘other waters’ Temps were 41 Monday and like Woo said around 45 today. Haven’t connected on anything big but it’s just a matter of time. All 3 days fish were caught on jerks and one came on a Strike King 3XD.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Rambler » Mar Thu 21, 2019 6:52 am

joetrain wrote:According to the Rambler School of Angling fishing is not just about the catching. It’s a total zen experience.

Joe - once again you made me laugh out loud. Thanks.
Keep calm and fish on...

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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Thu 21, 2019 11:37 pm

HEDDONFROG wrote:All 3 days fish were caught on jerks and one came on a Strike King 3XD.


So something like an X-Rap in naturals colors?

HEDDONFROG wrote:Getting out of the house and zenning out with nature all good secondary reasons.


School break starts on Monday. Getting out of the house may become a primary reason.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Mar Fri 22, 2019 1:22 am

Grain wrote:
HEDDONFROG wrote:All 3 days fish were caught on jerks and one came on a Strike King 3XD.


So something like an X-Rap in naturals colors?



As long as you have good to excellent water clarity an X-Rap (#8 & #10) will be fine. As would the newer Rapala Shadow Rap & Shadow Rap Shad jerks. I just ordered a couple of the Rap Shads because they’re slow floaters and will work better fishing from shore and casting to shallow flats. The X-Rap dives too deep for 3 or 4’ flats and the Shadow Rap is the slow sinker, same problem. If the places you fish have dirty water check out Scipio24’s thread “Favorite springtime setups” in “General fishing questions” for other ideas
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Fri 22, 2019 9:31 pm

HEDDONFROG wrote:As long as you have good to excellent water clarity an X-Rap (#8 & #10) will be fine. As would the newer Rapala Shadow Rap & Shadow Rap Shad jerks. I just ordered a couple of the Rap Shads because they’re slow floaters and will work better fishing from shore and casting to shallow flats. The X-Rap dives too deep for 3 or 4’ flats and the Shadow Rap is the slow sinker, same problem. If the places you fish have dirty water check out Scipio24’s thread “Favorite springtime setups” in “General fishing questions” for other ideas


Well, I picked a jointed shad today. I know it probably runs a bit too deep for my ponds, but I'll try it anyway. I was planning to hit Dick's or BassPro one of these days, I'll get some shallow running jerbaits there.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Mar Mon 25, 2019 10:17 pm

Grain wrote:
HEDDONFROG wrote:As long as you have good to excellent water clarity an X-Rap (#8 & #10) will be fine. As would the newer Rapala Shadow Rap & Shadow Rap Shad jerks. I just ordered a couple of the Rap Shads because they’re slow floaters and will work better fishing from shore and casting to shallow flats


Well, I picked a jointed shad today. I know it probably runs a bit too deep for my ponds, but I'll try it anyway. I was planning to hit Dick's or BassPro one of these days, I'll get some shallow running jerbaits there.


Shadow Rap Shads came in today. I’ll try and get out for an hour tomorrow and try it out.

Only $6.66 on eBay

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rapala-Fishing ... Sw3gJZMF1D
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Tue 26, 2019 2:50 pm

You like the color? I was thinking more along the lines of silver and bone.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Mar Tue 26, 2019 10:24 pm

Grain wrote:You like the color? I was thinking more along the lines of silver and bone.


I do. Pro blue is probably the most popular jerk color sold by all manufacturers...it is however my first one. I did get an opportunity to fish it today (sadly was unsuccessful) and it looks great in the water both in action and the color. Dives to about 3’ with 12lb mono and is a very slow floater. Almost too slow. It would probably suspend using flouro. I was fishing in gin clear water for the first time this year, so it was easy to see it at work. Although the bait looks opaque in the photo, this color is very translucent in sunlight. I would not use it for stained water or dark overcast days. There’s nothing wrong with your color choices. Some form of silver probably makes up 50% of my jerkbaits. Never tried a bone color but no reason why they wouldn’t work. Closest I have to bone are whites & pearl whites and they’re the first ones I tie on if I’m dealing with stained water or those dark cloudy days and especially if I’m dealing with both conditions, lol
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby dens228 » Mar Thu 28, 2019 8:40 pm

Two weeks ago I caught 10 bass in 30 degrees in the middle of a heavy snow. They need to eat.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Boarder Collie » Mar Thu 28, 2019 10:30 pm

They were putting on the bag in a pond up in Crystal Lake. I caught one largemouth with a gill in its gullet. On a chatterbait.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby crankybass » Mar Fri 29, 2019 1:22 pm

I have to say, if you can get out to fish, and there's no lightening, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., do it. Just adjust your expectations (size, number, etc.), use the time to learn something, and have fun. I do prefer if the weather is in a comfortable range, for sure, and if the Solunar calendar says it's not a good day, but the conditions are good, I'll fish.

The chatter bait is good right now. Target the transition areas, points and channels. If you bring up green vegetation, that's a good sign. When the sun has been hitting in skinny water, don't pass up throwing a finesse jig or a Ned Rig.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Fri 29, 2019 7:40 pm

I stepped out for a little while today, mostly to wet the line before it's April. After about 30 minutes I could not feel my hands and called it quits. It should hit the upper 50's on Tuesday, may be I will give it another go then. Also, are the water levels really as low as they appear to me?
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Aux Pleins » Mar Fri 29, 2019 8:38 pm

45 degree water today and bass were hitting on every cast. Could of broke records but I called it quits after 5 dozen. I may not see those numbers the rest of the year.
Nature and shit.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Woohoodude11 » Mar Sat 30, 2019 6:38 am

Grain wrote:Also, are the water levels really as low as they appear to me?

The couple places I've gone to have been a tad swollen. Literally by an inch or two. Haven't seen anywhere "low" yet.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Mar Sat 30, 2019 10:32 am

Woohoodude11 wrote:
Grain wrote:Also, are the water levels really as low as they appear to me?

The couple places I've gone to have been a tad swollen. Literally by an inch or two. Haven't seen anywhere "low" yet.


What I mean is - they look normal, summer-like. I kind of expected the ponds near the DPR to be flooded.

Aux Pleins wrote:Could of broke records but I called it quits after 5 dozen


Fishing stories.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby mike son » Mar Sat 30, 2019 12:17 pm

I'd believe it Aux, he's got no reason to mess around Grain. Bass were all over a lipless Thursday at a dirty little pond in the evening. Bass chasing it all the way to my feet. One even jumped half out the water as I pulled the lure out. Couldn't buy a bite liftings and fluttering. They were aggressive for the water temp, wanted a steady retrieve with pumps and upward pops.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Woohoodude11 » Mar Sat 30, 2019 1:34 pm

Grain wrote:
Woohoodude11 wrote:
Grain wrote:Also, are the water levels really as low as they appear to me?

The couple places I've gone to have been a tad swollen. Literally by an inch or two. Haven't seen anywhere "low" yet.


What I mean is - they look normal, summer-like. I kind of expected the ponds near the DPR to be flooded.

Then you are 100% correct lol.
The most noticeable "flooded" spot I saw at Old School was my favorite spot to stand when frogging. During the dog days, its bone dry. After an average rain its just muddy. Yesterday it was under an inch of water. Same thing with my pike spot at Wright Woods.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Aux Pleins » Mar Sat 30, 2019 1:45 pm

No stories Grain, they were feeding hard yesterday afternoon. Honestly didnt matter what you threw at them they would bite. I'm finally a believer of the wind blown shore theory, that's where the every cast action was. I throw big baits and missed many tail grabbers, but still caught a small towns worth of dink bass. I was counting on 2 or 3 fish, but got about 200 hits instead.



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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby badger75 » Mar Sun 31, 2019 9:59 am

Amazing numbers
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby jmdog2003 » Mar Sun 31, 2019 12:16 pm

I believe it too. Both green and brown fish were biting in the main current on the Dupe over a week ago. Probably been there even longer.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby DasGoby » Mar Sun 31, 2019 2:40 pm

Good stuff Aux. I think early spring can be very location dependent. Some waters and places on those waters can be very hot and others are skunk city.

I used to suck at finding the early spring bite but have gotten pretty good at the warming flats on a sunny day bite and Lake Erie tributary river bite, although I haven’t had time to hit that up this year yet.

Got out Saturday for a bit and Goby jr and I each caught 4 bass in a little over an hour. They weren’t in on the flats thick yet and the big girls aren’t in but I can’t complain. Had only 3 weeks from last bass on the ice to first bass onnopen water!
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby cletedius » Apr Mon 01, 2019 10:10 am

Not bass-related, but checked in on the wolf river cam a few times over the weekend. The Shioc1camera in shiocton was pretty much a continuous flow of packs of walleyes (& suckers) swimming past the cam. If the sampling I saw is indicative of the whole Winnebago system, the walleye population appears to be in excellent shape there with plenty of healthy-sized fish!
I warn, this can get addictive
http://www.wolfrivercam.com/default.html
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby grems » Apr Mon 01, 2019 2:44 pm

I warn, this can get addictive


Wow you are not kidding, I could not stop watching. Looks like there is a minnow on a line behind a float or something in the lower right corner of the New London view...
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Apr Tue 02, 2019 4:47 pm

HEDDONFROG wrote:Shadow Rap Shads came in today. I’ll try and get out for an hour tomorrow and try it out.


I took mine out today, and was not impressed. The box says "slow-rising", that was not my experience at all - the pause between the jerks is enough for it to bob to the surface. So, until I get a hold of some suspend strips and work out its buoyancy it goes on the shelf.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Apr Wed 03, 2019 2:06 am

Grain wrote:
HEDDONFROG wrote:Shadow Rap Shads came in today. I’ll try and get out for an hour tomorrow and try it out.


I took mine out today, and was not impressed. The box says "slow-rising", that was not my experience at all - the pause between the jerks is enough for it to bob to the surface. So, until I get a hold of some suspend strips and work out its buoyancy it goes on the shelf.


That is exactly what happened with the second one I bought (Halloween color) If I paused it for more than a second it would surface. I ended up having to rip it straight down fairly hard and basically not pause between jerks to keep that one down and when I jerked that hard, the front hook would catch the line 80% of the time. Totally different than Pro blue one I posted on earlier. That one does as advertised. I’ve read recent reviews about poor consistency on Rapala baits but this is the first time I’ve encountered it where it was that drastic. I do have suspend dots so I’ll play with it...though I shouldn’t have to.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Apr Wed 03, 2019 8:01 am

HEDDONFROG wrote:That is exactly what happened with the second one I bought (Halloween color) If I paused it for more than a second it would surface. I ended up having to rip it straight down fairly hard and basically not pause between jerks to keep that one down and when I jerked that hard, the front hook would catch the line 80% of the time. Totally different than Pro blue one I posted on earlier. That one does as advertised. I’ve read recent reviews about poor consistency on Rapala baits but this is the first time I’ve encountered it where it was that drastic. I do have suspend dots so I’ll play with it...though I shouldn’t have to.


Mine is Elite Blue, from your link, and I thought the same - time to play with the sinkers. You don't have a scale that goes to .01g by any chance? It would have made it easy to check for weight difference.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Apr Wed 03, 2019 10:52 am

Grain wrote:Mine is Elite Blue, from your link, and I thought the same - time to play with the sinkers. You don't have a scale that goes to .01g by any chance? It would have made it easy to check for weight difference.


I do have a scale that will measure weights in grams but I’ve already put suspend dots on them for an outing today. I’ll report back. I’m hoping to get some video as well
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Grain » Apr Wed 03, 2019 11:01 am

I did some experiments with the bucket and weights. Mine is 11.82 grams and definitely back heavy, it need .39-0.40 grams to become buoyant/slowly sinking to 1', so my thinking is it needs two dots and they should go between the lip and the front hook.
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby mike son » Apr Wed 03, 2019 8:55 pm

The shadow rap shads float nose up. I find they float up about 2-3" every second. The rate is probably affected by water temp too fwiw. Quality control is probably none or just visual, I don't believe they test and tune that bait before sending it to market so variance is almost expected. I've added 2x gamakatsu round bends in size four to the front for near suspending. Adding two of those hooks makes it sink very slowly. I fish the shadow rap shads if it's shallow water or the fish are aggressive. If super cold water, I use the shadow raps as they suspend. Don't smack them on the water to clean them off, they crack :lol:
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby HEDDONFROG » Apr Thu 04, 2019 1:34 am

Grain wrote:I did some experiments with the bucket and weights. Mine is 11.82 grams and definitely back heavy, it need .39-0.40 grams to become buoyant/slowly sinking to 1', so my thinking is it needs two dots and they should go between the lip and the front hook.


Yeah, I can't comment on how they worked today because I forgot I was throwing jerks using wire leaders which will obviously throw everything off. I did use the pro blue one for one fish but ended up predominantly throwing the much larger Megabass Vision 110 Magnum on shorelines and shallow flats and several fish inhaled 90% of the bait. Made it a bitch to remove with all three sets of trebles in their mouths. For deeper water I threw a Vision 110+1 & 110+2
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby cyanatic » Apr Mon 08, 2019 12:55 pm

Been too long since I've been on here (not sure if I even posted at all last season) but it's good to see so many familiar names. About 3 years ago, a lot of you and your suggestions helped me go from being a "just use a worm and bobber cause I'll never catch a bass" kind of fisherman to a "holy sh*t I really CAN catch bass on artificial lures!"

That said, I usually start my fishing in late March, early April, depending on the weather, not that I'm any kind of experienced expert. I'm writing this at work on my lunch break after having loaded my fishing gear yesterday in anticipation of hitting Opeka or Beck after work today. I literally work across the street from Opeka, but Beck is not that far and I love the setting. No knocks on Opeka (I caught my personal best there almost 2 years ago), but Beck feels more like a fishing lake if you ignore the expressway whine in the distance.

Hopefully this year's first outing goes better than last year's! A quick embarrassing story:

From what I've read, and from what many of you guys have said, I know that as a general rule different times of the year require different lures and techniques. I read that jerk baits and lipless crank baits are sometimes recommended for prespawn so last March I purchased a few. I found out that jerk baits are NOT cheap. I went to Opeka (no yak, I'm a shore fisherman) and decided to try out one of the jerk baits. I read up on some of the retrieves and tried them, but didn't generate any interest. I decided to switch to a different color. I always use a Palomar knot, and as I'm tying on the jerk bait, I think, "Hey! Maybe this is a good time to try tying that "Improved Palomar knot" I've been ignoring for years. How did that go again? Hmm, not sure but I think this is it." So I reach back and cast that baby out and as I watch it sailing out over Opeka, I think, "Damn, that one must have more weight to it than they other one. Look how far out it's going!" It was about a second later that I realized my version of "Improved Palomar" was drastically defective because the lure had just sailed off the end of my line without the slightest amount of resistance. I don't know how the hell I managed that but if any of you guys ever found a brand new jerk bait floating in the middle of Opeka last spring, now you know where it came from.! :oops:

I don't carry a thermometer with me, but when I get to Beck this afternoon I'll give it the hand test. I'll let you know how it goes on the Beck board. Good fishing all!
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Re: So, what's a good time start?

Postby Rambler » Apr Mon 08, 2019 1:11 pm

cyanatic wrote:I don't carry a thermometer with me, but when I get to Beck this afternoon I'll give it the hand test. I'll let you know how it goes on the Beck board. Good fishing all!

That's the real deal - old school. I use the totally unscientific hand method to judge water temp too. My depth finder is a rock I drop over the side to see if I can hear when it hits bottom. So far neither method works worth a shit but I have fun anyway.

I've been out a number of times already but tomorrow is when I get "serious". Heading down along the Dupe & then to one of my favorite little creeks that flows into the lower DPR. I'm even packing my hip waders just to make it real interesting.

PS - good to have you back cyanatic.
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