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Illinois hunting and fishing

Chad Fargher of Washington caught this 26.5-inch, 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth bass on April 3 in a Fulton County strip-mine lake.

Big bass bonanza

April 11, 2010 at 05:54 AM

Spring bass lures

There’s no question the No. 1 lure for big bass in the spring is a jig and pork trailer.

But as water warms, many anglers throw other lures with success. Warm, windy days are a perfect time for spinnersbaits and chatterbaits, as numerous anglers proved last weekend.

As water warms and bass suspend, Chad Fargher of Washington said he also prefers to fish a jig with a swimming motion instead of hopping it along the bottom. Rattling lures and slow-moving crankbaits are also good spring choices for suspended fish.

In the second half of April Fargher will increasingly turn to swim baits, lizards or big tubes fished early in the morning or late in the afternoon over flats or wood.

Saturdays in the spring follow a familiar routine for Chad Fargher and Kyle Waller.

Wake early. Eat breakfast. Discuss lures. Catch bass. Head home.

Last weekend Fargher and Waller enjoyed a hefty departure from normal. “We had the best day of fishing we’ve ever had,” Chillicothe resident Waller said

While wetting lines in two Fulton County strip mine lakes, Fargher and Waller — 29-year-olds who have fished together since third grade — landed three trophy bass they weighed at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, 7-2 and 6-9.

What made their outing even more noteworthy is that they were not alone. In fact, April 1-6 is the best stretch I’ve experienced for big bass reported to the Journal Star. Here are other documented catches from that period:

  • Kelly Presley’s 8-3 out of Fulton County;
  • Christopher Tuckey’s Knox County 24-incher;
  • Jacob Ewing’s Woodford County 7-pounder;
  • Jake Howard’s Knox County 7-pounder;
  • Joe Ewing’s Fulton County 7-pounder;
  • Jim Babcock’s Banner Marsh 6.5-pounder;
  • Rick Morgan’s Fulton County 6-4;
  • Garrett Whitehurst’s Fulton County 6-pounder.

What gives? Well, any bass chaser can tell you spring is the prime time to target lunkers. But each spring offers certain times when fishing is best.

Last weekend was one such opportunity. Water went from the 40-degree range to almost 60. Winds whipped up. Fronts passed through. And an unprecedented number of anglers felt rods bend and hearts quicken.

Fargher sees parallels between last weekend and what happens to whitetail deer every November.

“For big bass I see mid-March to the end of April as the same thing as the rut for deer in November,” the Washington resident said. “A big bass reminds me of a big buck. They get big because they’re smart. But right now is when they are most vulnerable.”

Fargher and Waller proved that by hooking three lunkers off the same flat in less than 30 minutes.

First Fargher caught and released the biggest, a 26.5-inch pig that hit a Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait. “I’ve fished tournaments for 12 years and never caught one that big,” said Fargher, who plans to have a replica made. “It was one of those submarines I’d seem swim under a boat before but never been able to hook.” 

Next came Fargher’s 24.5-inch, 7-2 chunk on a black-and-blue jig (pictured below).

Illinois hunting and fishing

Then Waller hooked his 24-inch, 6-9 (pictured below) on a Strike King Series 4 crankbait.

Illinois hunting and fishing

“It doesn’t get much better for an Illinois boy than that,” said Fargher, who also caught a 2-2, 16-inch crappie(pictured below)  that same day.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Success didn’t happen by accident. Sure luck was a factor. But remember, Fargher and Waller fish every Saturday in the spring in search of big bass. And they
upped their odds by fishing when the conditions were right, targeting specific locations and using certain lures.

All three fish were caught after a rainstorm moved through Canton. All three came off a flat, rocky area adjacent to deep water.

“Location is so important this time of year,” Fargher said. “If you can find a flat off the main lake that has deep water near it, you can usually find big fish.”

That will be true through the spawn. And conditions favoring a big-bass bite are sure to arise again in the next few weeks. Just be willing to heed Fargher’s advice.

“The main thing is to get out there. And remember, you’re not going for quantity, you’re going for quality,” he said. “You might only fish for a few bites a day. But it might be the best bite of your life.”





Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Them fish are all Hawgs!

Posted by HawgNSonsTV on 04/11 at 06:54 PM

Now thats some quality fish!
Frank J Harvey

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/11 at 09:04 PM

None of those fish are over 22 inches?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/14 at 03:24 AM

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