This has been one of the wackiest springs I have ever seen — and it’s not even officially spring until March 19. But when the bass take to the shallows to spawn and feed, that has always been my trigger for springtime fishing patterns here in Florida.
The unfortunate part is that it seems like every weekend is hit with a cold front. I don’t know about anyone else, but it has put my fishing in a bit of a bad pattern to say the least. There is nothing like a good weather change to make the bass move from one area to another. When the wind starts blowing or changes directions, the rains show up, or the temperature drops 20 to 30 degrees, bass in shallow water simply do not stay in the same place.
Literally every weekend I have gone out, I have run into these conditions. My plan was to take off Saturday (March 7) and head down to Lake Okeechobee to spend the day fishing out of the river. Lo and behold, we have a cold front swinging in that will take the Saturday temperature to a high of 67 degrees after a morning low of 48 degrees. Really?
I’m trying hard to put my best foot forward fishing the FLW Series tournaments but have consistently been hit by this crazy weather. On the upside, this front is only going to last through Sunday. By Monday we should be stable, and I can get on with the rest of my practice.
With a lake the size of Okeechobee, you want to cover as much water as possible. I have had very good luck in the past on all sides of the lake. The tournament is based out of Clewiston, but I want to make sure that I get a chance to explore various spots on all shorelines. That means spending a night on the north end of the lake after a day of fishing, loading up and going out of a ramp on the west wall the next day before we land in Clewiston and proceed to fish all over on the south end.
The goal is to find the bass in a state of spawn, as they should be somewhere on this lake. But figuring out exactly where means miles to run and much water to search through.
I cannot remember the last time that I saw cold fronts show up strictly on the weekends, or so it appears. Last weekend my wife and I went out to do a little fishing with the hopes of stopping at our favorite oyster bar on the lake to have lunch.
By the time the restaurant opened, winds were up over 15 mph and gusting, with the direction blowing straight into the docks, making it impossible to tie the boat up there. Needless to say, the fishing wasn’t very good either.
I find myself watching the news daily, both morning and evening, trying to figure out what the weather is going to do to me out on the water. I hope that this front coming in will blow through and it will be the last one we see, at least for a while. It would be nice to fish the tournament and have some sort of consistency with what the lake and the fish looked like during practice.
I’m not really complaining. Well, maybe I am. I have to admit that going out to spend numerous days on the water is very enjoyable, but when competition factor changes things. I know there are fish to be caught in Okeechobee, including some big ones. My goal is to make the most of these changing weather conditions and see what I can put together. I’d like to give myself a shot at finishing in the money of one of these big tournaments.
Even if I don’t finish in the money, I still take a lot of pleasure in competing against some of the best around and measuring my fishing skills against them. Based on the first tournaments results, I’m not looking too good right now. I know I can do better, but I need to get in some good practice to boost my confidence.
No matter what the weather conditions are, I will be out doing what I love most and that is spending time on the water. I can’t wait for Saturday — I just wish it wouldn’t get cold on us in the morning.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.