Monday, May 20, 2024

March Kerr Report By Jason Houchins



March Kerr Report

As I look at the lake this morning there is more ice than water, very rare for this time of the year. Our first round of tournaments were cancelled and winter has made a late impact on the Southside region of Virginia. The promise of a few weeks ago has all been erased and the hope that spring will eventually start is becoming repetitious. With the super cold temps look for shad to dominate the month as the main food source for bass. This March will be an unknown on what to expect, but bass have to eat and sometimes the water temperature may not always dictate a fish’s mood. Look for a possible shad kill wherever you fish and the birds will let you know where to find the bait early on this month.
In the first part of the month I would definitely concentrate on the lower end of the lake. The water is warmer and clearer, which is a much better condition to fish in cold water. I would key on rock banks and drops close to the main lake. Jerkbaits and a football head jig would top my list of what to throw. I like a Luck Craft Pointer 78 jerkbait in a shad pattern of some kind. I would change my cadences often until I find the one the fish want. The jig would be a simple ¼-3/4 ounce jig with a swimming trailer of some kind, green pumpkin color with a little orange seems to work fine. I’m pretty excited about a little ¼ ounce football head jig that my friend Ken Presley makes, very compact and made for colder water. I would really start slow with the jig and when I got comfortable, I would slow down more. As much as the water is cold the fish still have an internal clock that is ticking, so don’t be surprised to find them shallower than expected. But patience will be key early on in the month this year. If you get tired of twitch, twitch, pause or the drag of a jig, try a drop shot on fish you might see on your graph. I’m definitely not a drop shot master but the thing sure does catch fish in all conditions. If I can catch them on a drop shot, anyone can. That is way out of my comfort zone.
Eventually the weather will bust loose and the water temperature will warm. As it starts to get close to that magical 50 degree mark, so many techniques will come into play. Shallow to medium crankbaits, rattle baits, and spinnerbaits will all become a factor. My favorite go to bait this time of year is a simple #7 Shad Rap, a crawfish pattern or shad is my favorite color. It has a real subtle tight wiggle that mimics shad early in the year. A slow retrieve with a few short pauses is an excellent tactic and can be productive. A Rattle Trap is also one of my favorite baits, I love a shad color early and a craw pattern color later on, paired with a simple slow bottom hugging retrieve. The spinner bait I like to use starts as a simple ½ white, I modify the blade and put a giant willow on it to slow down the fall and increase flash. I love slow rolling a big blade late in March, it has produced some giants.
As the fish move into their pre spawn mode in the latter part of the month, expect some of the biggest fish the lake has to offer. From what I’ve seen during December and January, I believe you will see some heavy bags of fish this March. Again concentrate on those chunk rock banks and start moving your focus towards the upper areas of creeks for staging fish during the end of the month. As the water starts to warm up the upper parts of the lake will really get good. The water will warm fast with the color absorbing the heat, so don’t be afraid of the dirtier water after a good warm spell. I really feel confident you can catch fish on this lake now and I believe that the biggest struggle you will have this month is more a mental challenge than anything. I honestly don’t know exactly what to expect with these conditions, I have never faced them at this lake this late in the year, so it will be interesting for sure. Just keep in mind regardless of the water temperature these fish are biologically ready to move up, stay positive and keep chunking.

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