This handful will catch them all in March
Growing up, I read plenty of articles that asked what single bass bait you would use if you could only choose one. Actually, we have lots of choices that often makes fishing confusing but fun.
I love all baits and styles of fishing, especially anything new. Narrowing anything down is hard for me, so I’ve made chosen five baits to cover about everything you can encounter in March. Here in North Carolina, with all the weather swings we have, you need a variety of baits to stay on the fish.
You can’t go wrong covering flats and points with a lipless bait in March. Even fish on beds that you can’t see will snap at it. This bait is effective from water temperatures from the mid-40s all the way to the 70s. It is best for pre-frontal conditions and areas where there is some aquatic vegetation on the bottom. You do not have to have the weeds; that is just the ideal set-up for it. Falls of the Neuse Lake has no weeds, and I’ve caught countless fish on lipless baits there.
Big creature bait
If you are not finding fish on staging spots on points and flats, that is when you want to get in the coves and fish cover with a big, Texas-rigged soft plastic. My favorite is the 4-inch Culprit Incredi-Craw. This bait has a big profile, yet it looks very natural, so it works in all water colors. The color called Bama Bug is my favorite. Mama Bug is a mixture of green pumpkin and junebug; you can’t go wrong there. Big plastics work best in water 55 degrees or warmer.
When the lake gets flooded or stained, you can’t beat a spinnerbait. This bait is probably only the best choice a small percentage of the time, but when it is, you can catch more big fish in a short amount of time than any I can think of. I’ve caught March bass on spinnerbaits literally from just inches of water on down to 40 feet. The perfect condition is pre-frontal, 55- to 60-degree water, flooded cover and stained water. If it is calm and clear however, the only good spinnerbait bite is deep. You need the wind and/or clouds to break up the image of this bait in shallow water.
Bladed swim jig
One bait that was not on my list as recently as five years ago is the bladed swim jig, popularized by the Chatterbait. This bait is deadly for big fish under almost every condition, but it seems to me there are windows when they really want it. What I mean is, you have to commit to this bait, really throw it for hours, and at some point, the fish will turn on to it. This bait works best to me in stained water, 5 feet deep or less. It works well in clear water under windy and/or cloudy conditions. My favorite trailer for this bait is the Culprit Incredi-swim. I match the trailer to the color of skirt. I like greens the best, followed by blacks and shad.
This last one was a tough call between a swimbait and a buzzbait. It’s a good thing we really don’t have to make that decision, because for me, it’s the more the merrier. On the hypothetical list, the swimbait bait gets the nod for versatility. Swimbaits catch fish in conditions and places that all the others will, except for muddy water. You can literally catch fish in so many ways on this bait. It is great shallow on a belly weighted swimbait hook, or on jigheads in deeper water. I find myself fishing this style of lure almost every time I go out, year-round, but March is possible the best time. It is finesse enough to catch fish in clear water and has enough appeal to attract fish from a distance. My favorite is a swimbait that I designed for Culprit called the Incredi-swim. It takes features from a variety of baits I have liked for years and puts them in one durable bait.
Close, but no cigar
Everything else in your tackle box can work. Fish in March are generally feeding fish with the urge to go shallow, making it the month when lots of big ones are caught every year. So have fun and don’t limit yourself to just one — take em all.