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Adapting makes for better fishing

OPINION by Corbet Deary | March 30, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Many might consider a significant chance of heavy thunderstorms enough to detour their plan to go fishing. But experience has taught me that fish often go into somewhat of a feeding frenzy when the barometric pressure drops, immediately before the arrival of a cold front.

I was also aware that the white bass usually start heading upstream for their annual spawn during the latter part of March. Of course, they might also still be staging, somewhere downstream, in wait for their biological clocks to cue them to begin their run.

But the time of year and forecast was a recipe for an action packed morning. That in mind, Taylor Bellott and I left my house shortly after daylight with hopes of finding multitudes of fish gathering at the base of the rapids.

I suppose we might have had second thoughts, if our destination was only accessible via a lengthy boat ride. But a boat ride was not on the agenda. Plans were to park on a dim road and embark upon a trek to a spot where the white bass gather to spawn every spring.

So if the fish had not yet begun their annual spawn? No big loss, other than rising early. And the way I saw it, if the fish were there, a couple hours of sleep deprivation was a small price to pay for an action-packed morning of fishing.

And we could be back in the truck in a jiffy, in the event the heavy thunderstorms that were forecast to rumble through our section of the state by mid morning came to fruition.

Well, it didn't take long to figure out that the peak of the spawn was only days away. We managed to coax several males from the water within a couple of hours. And as for the sows, or lack thereof, that could be expected. They always lag behind by a week or so during their push upstream.

It also grew evident that the forecast was spot on, as the distant thunder rumbled shortly after our arrival. And although we managed to weather the first two waves of showers, the third cloud was far more intense.

Although the storm had cut our excursion short, we were more than satisfied with the success we had experienced earlier in the morning. And we were already in the process of planning our next excursion to this same spot during our trek back to the vehicle.

Of course, we would have rather returned bright and early on the following morning. But responsibilities lurked throughout the entire weekend. That in mind, we scheduled our next excursion for bright and early on the following Monday morning.

And bright and early it was. In fact, we had the rig parked, struck out through the woods and arrived at our destination before the break of day.

The conditions promised to be far more friendly than they were during our initial outing. Although the temperature was somewhat cool during our arrival, the forecast called for sunny skies that would push the daytime highs to near 60. The wind would intensify as the day progressed. But plans were to be back at the rig and headed home by the time the clock struck noon.

The weather was perfect. And we were geared up and ready for a perfect morning of fishing. However, we failed to consider the results of the storms that had rolled through the state just days earlier. Torrential rainfall had swelled the river and left the water tinged and swift.

Granted, the water conditions could have been better. But there were still a few spots from where we could cast without tangling our line in the trees. And as for the water color and current? We would simply resort to heavier lures with larger spinners.

Well, as it turned out, our change of approach was just what the doctor ordered. In fact, we managed to coax 37 white bass from the murky waters by mid morning, a few of which were sows.

That in mind, we eagerly planned yet another excursion for the following morning. Hopefully, the water level would have subsided, and it would be noticeably more clear. But if not, all was hardly lost. We would simply resort to the lures that proved effective on the previous day. And with a little luck, our presentations would appear too enticing to ignore.

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