Marches of the Past
February 28, 2017
Since Jan. 11, 2012, we have published 94,133 words about how, where, and when Midwest finesse anglers fished in March. These words originate from anglers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
Midwest finesse anglers who ply the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, as well as at many other locales across the nation, can be bedeviled by either Old Man Winter or Mother Nature's windy ways in March.
What's more, our abilities to find and catch significant numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass during March are often problematic.
When our black bass fishing is problematic in March, we suspect that these bass are in transition from their winter haunts and ways to their springtime haunts and ways. And when they are in this transition phase, they seem to be so widely scattered that it is difficult for us to cross paths with them.
When anglers examine our accounts in hopes of replicating or not replicating how, when, and where we caught or failed to catch our quarries, it might be wise for them to pay heed to the reservoirs' surface temperatures rather than the calendar dates of our outings.
For instance, the average surface temperature at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas that we fished during the last 12 days of March in 2008 through March of 2011 was 48.6 degrees. Then in 2012, the average surface temperature for the last 12 days of March was 61.3 degrees." In essence, March of 2012 was nirvana. I was afloat 14 times, and my partners and I tangled with 630 largemouth bass, which is an average of 45 largemouth bass an outing and 11.25 largemouth bass an hour. Of those 630 largemouth bass, 117 of them were caught on Mar. 30, 2012, when John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished a heavily fished exurban community reservoir in northeastern Kansas.
The weather and fishing was dramatically different in March of 2013. In many Midwest finesse anglers' eyes it was hell rather than nirvana in northeastern Kansas. That winter was relentless. We were pummeled with more than five inches of snow on Mar. 23, which was Palm Sunday. Winter's blustery ways allowed me to fish only six times for a total of 17 1/2 hours, and 4 1/2 of those hours were at a northeastern Kansas power-plant reservoir. During those six outings my partners and I caught only 103 largemouth bass, which was a piddling average of 17 largemouth bass an outing and 5.8 largemouth bass an hour. The surface temperature was 40 degrees on Mar. 7, 2013; 42 degrees on Mar. 19; 43 to 45 degrees on Mar. 20; 43 degrees on Mar. 28; and 43 to 46 degrees on Mar. 29. (After those 31 horrendous days in March, 2013 became a bountiful year, which allowed my partners and me to catch an average of 39 black bass an outing and an average of 11.6 per hour.)
In March of 2014, I fished nine times, and the surface temperature ranged from 38 to 47 degrees on Mar. 11; 43 to 47 degrees on Mar. 13; 42 to 44 degrees on Mar. 14; 44 to 46 degrees on Mar. 17; 43 to 45 degrees on Mar. 18; 43 to 48 degrees on Mar. 19; 46 degrees on Mar. 20; 45 to 48 degrees on Mar. 25; and 43 to 45 degrees on Mar. 28.
In March of 2015, I fished seven times. Ice covered 50 percent of the surface of the reservoir that I attempted to fish on Mar. 8, but on Mar. 9 most of the ice was gone, and the surface temperature ranged from 40 to 42 degrees. It was 44 to 47 degrees on Mar. 16; 47 to 53 degrees on Mar. 20; 47 to 50 degrees on Mar. 24; 47 to 52 degrees on Mar. 27; and 50 to 52 degrees on Mar. 30.
In March of 2016, I fished seven times, and the surface temperature was 44 to 45 degrees on Mar. 3; 46 degrees on Mar. 4; 50 to 53 degrees on Mar. 9; 49 to 52 degrees on Mar. 21; 49 to 52 degrees on Mar. 22; 50 to 52 degrees on Mar. 29; and 53 to 54 degrees on Mar. 31. Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 94 largemouth bass on that warm Mar. 31 outing.
Even when Old Man Winter or Mother Nature's windy ways are not a thorn in our sides, March traditionally can present Midwest finesse anglers with 31 days of problematic largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass fishing in northeastern Kansas. For instance, during the past 12 Marches, commencing with March of 2005, the weather woes allowed me to fish only 110 times during those 372 days. And when I could fish, my partners and I struggled to catch 2,816 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, or 25.6 an outing and an average of 6.4 black bass an hour.
Our average catch per each four-hour outing during March is lower than our annual one. For example, we caught an average of 30.4 black bass an outing and 7.6 per hour during the calendar year of 2008. We caught an average of 35 black bass per outing in 2009 and an average of 8.8 per hour. We caught 43.8 per outing in 2010 and 10.9 per hour. We caught 35.9 per outing in 2011 and 9.01 per hour. We caught an average of 36 per hour in 2012 and 10.2 per hour. We caught 39.1 per outing in 2013 and 11.6 per hour. We caught 31.5 per outing in 2014 and 7.5 per hour.
There are outings in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri when Midwest finesse anglers partake in an endeavor that we describe as bass fishing for trout. These outings occur when we fish reservoirs that are stocked with trout, and we inadvertently catch some trout with our Midwest finesse rigs. We usually catch more largemouth bass, but Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished a heavily fished community reservoir on Mar. 11, 2014, and we caught 48 rainbow trout and seven largemouth bass. On Mar. 25, 2015, Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, and I caught 75 largemouth bass and 25 rainbow trout at a community reservoir in the northern suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, but Frazee and I fished the same community reservoir on Mar. 28, 2014, and we caught 101 largemouth bass and no rainbow trout. Steve Desch and I caught 29 rainbow trout and 26 largemouth bass on Mar. 9, 2016. Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I caught 59 trout and 33 largemouth bass on Mar. 22, 2016.
Listed below are eight links to the 94,133 words that we have published about Midwest finesse fishing in March. We would appreciate receiving comments from readers and anglers about how these monthly guides have either helped or failed to help them to catch more black bass during the month of March.
(1) This is the link to the Mar. 1 to Mar. 19, 2012 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/an-addendum-to-the-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-part-3/.
(2) This is the link to the Mar. 20 to Mar. 31, 2012 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/an-addendum-to-the-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-part-4.
(3) This is the link to the March 2013 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-march-2013-2/.
(4) This is the link to the March 2014 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/midwest-finesse-fishing-march-2014/.
(5) This is the link to the March 2015 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-march-2015/.
(6) This is the link to the March 2016 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-march-2016/.
(7) This is the link to "A Month-by-Month Guide to Midwest Finesse for Bass": http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/a-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-for-bass/. It possesses a 609-word synopsis of how, when, and where we have employed Midwest finesse tactics to catch largemouth bass in March.
(8) This is the link to the 2016 edition of our Marches of the past column: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/marches-of-the-past.
Here are some photographs from Marches of the past