March’s Outdoor Column

March brings about the thoughts of big bass and wild turkeys so let me mention a few things about each.

Once the ice leaves and the water begins to warm big bass begin to prowl in the waters of Illinois and Indiana and the chance to take the biggest bass of the season is at hand.
Big bass generally just don’t happen to people and many times the same anglers come home with the prize. Understanding the movement of big bass in early spring may help you take a big one this year.

Bass have color factors built in their skin called pigments and these pigments move about giving them their vivid colors and their darker blotches. These dark pigments also absorb sunlight as heat and are transferred throughout the body by their circulatory system. This heat, even though in very small amounts, begins to speed up their systems and they are ready to feed.

I fish a lot of strip mines for big bass and, in the early spring, I fish the north banks most of all. These north banks face the sun and big bass lie there absorbing the sun’s energy and wait for an early spring meat. Once the water warms in late March or April I look for bass in other areas but in real early spring, I like the south-facing banks.

I also pause many of my lures when I retrieve because many times a big bass in following behind but can’t catch up; this pause may either trigger a strike or allow the big bass to catch up to the lure. I’ve had several big bass almost rip the rod from my hands when I made a pause in the lure in early spring.

This is one reason I like the jig and pig so much in the early spring. The jig is constantly pausing as it drops and big bass love that action.

While hunting turkey in the spring, a hunter needs to find the roosting spot of the turkeys in his area. Once the roosting spot is located, the next areas to locate are the feeding areas of which there could be several within a given area.

Noticing which food plots are being used most often is critical as a hunter needs to find a spot between the roost and the food. When a turkey wakes up in the morning it flies down from its roost and heads for food much like we head for the kitchen for breakfast. Finding their rout from roost to food and finding a good spot along their trail to hide is a key element in bringing home a good turkey.

Your local Big R Stores have all the equipment necessary to take a big bass or to bring home a big turkey this spring. While you are at the store, don’t forget your fishing and hunting licenses need to be renewed!

About Sam Van Camp

Born: Danville, Illinois | Married: Pam Van | Lives: Georgetown, Illinois | High School: Danville High School | College: Danville Area Community College, Eastern Illinois University | Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology with Minor in Botany | Specialties Areas: Master’s Degree – Fisheries Biology, Mammalogy, Herpetology | Previous Jobs: School Teacher – Basic Biology 36 years Outdoor Writer – 38 years (1 Book Published “Jitterbug Collector’s Guide State and Federally Licensed Taxidermist – 35 yearsWood Carver specializing in song birds, birds of prey and waterfowl 46 years | Hobbies: Bass Fishing, Hunting, Collecting Fishing Lures