Marches of the Past

Old Man Winter has had Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, sequestered since Dec. 27, and on Feb. 17, he noted in an email that "March is near," hinting that he is eager to launch his kayak and dissect the deep-water lairs where the smallmouth bass abide during the winter.

Myers is a regular contributor to the Finesse News Network. He posted his first report on April 10, 2015, and since then, he filed scores of reports about wielding Midwest finesse tactics for smallmouth bass in the rivers and streams that flow through the Appalachian Mountains in his neck of the woods. Likewise, FNN members are eager to read Myers' reports about how, when, and where he fished during March of 2016.

Since Jan. 11, 2012, we have published 76,108 words about how, where, and when Midwest finesse anglers fished in March. These words emanate from anglers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

Our first March guide was published in two parts. The second part was published on June 12, 2012, and in the introduction of that guide, we wrote: "The reason we began posting these chronicles is that we received several petitions from anglers from various locales across the nation imploring us to post our logs or chronicles or reports as archival reference points for other anglers to follow in the future. According to the rationalizations of these petitioners, these chronicles will allow veteran finesse anglers to stay on the appropriate path year after year, and in addition, they will help newcomers to the finesse world to more quickly negotiate the different twists and turns that Midwest finesse anglers make throughout a year. If these petitioners are correct about the historical importance of these records, it is essential at this point to note that this spring's unseasonably warm air, ground, and water temperatures created some oddities that might never appear again. Therefore, when anglers examine and attempt to follow these accounts in the future, they might be wise to pay heed to the reservoirs' surface temperatures rather than the calendar dates. 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 2011 was 48.6 degrees. 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. And 117 of them were caught on Mar. 30, 2012, when John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished a heavily fished exurban community reservoir.

The weather and fishing was dramatically different in March of 2013. In many Midwest finesse anglers' eyes it was hell rather than nirvana. The monthly guide noted that winter was relentless by pointing out that many locales in northeastern Kansas 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 I and my partners 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 at our northeastern Kansas reservoirs on Mar. 7 was 40 degrees. On Mar. 15, the surface temperature was 43 degrees. On Mar. 28 and 29, the surface temperature ranged from 42 to 46 degrees. (It is interesting to note that across all 12 months of 2013, my partners and I caught an average of 39 black bass an outing and an average of 11.6 per hour.)

Even when Old Man Winter isn't 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 11 Marches, commencing with March of 2005, weather woes allowed me to fish only 103 times, and when I could fish, I and my partners caught 2,559 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, or 24.8 an outing, which is an average of 6.2 black bass an hour.

There are outings in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri when Midwest finesse anglers partake in outings that we describe as bass fishing for trout. These outings occur when we fish reservoirs that are stocked with trout in February, 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 there will be some trout-less outings, too, and one of those outings occurred on Mar. 28, 2014, when Frazee and I fished the same community reservoir, and we caught 101 largemouth bass and no rainbow trout.

One of the trout that we inadvertently catch while we fish for largemouth bass in March in northeastern Kansas.

Listed below are six links to the 76,108 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 helped and 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:

(2) This is the link to the Mar. 20 to Mar. 31, 2012 guide:

(3) This is the link to the March 2013 guide:

(4) This is the link to the March 2014 guide:

(5) This is the link to the March 2015 guide:

(6) This is the link to "A Month-by-Month Guide to Midwest Finesse for Bass": It possess a 609-word synopsis of how, when, and where we have employed Midwest finesse tactics to catch largemouth bass in March.

Brent Frazee with one of the many largemouth bass that he and I have tangled with Marches past in northwestern Missouri.

Rick Allen of Dallas with a largemouth bass that he caught while walking the shoreline of a community reservoir in the suburbs of Dallas.

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