The first half of April has been one of continuing fluctuation of fishing due to winds and conditions. However, I am happy to be able to announce that the Marsh is showing a considerable level of improvement in both water conditions and fish concentrations. Our last 11 trips have for the most part been pretty good. Big fish for the period has been 9.5 pounds, with a fair amount 5 pounds or better. We were only blown off one of the the last 11 trips.
Fish are concentrated in the lower reaches of Farm 13 in the heavy stump fields with both quantity and quality be produced. Top bait for the better part of the day is Senkos and Senko Swim worms, however we have had considerable top water action on both Chug Bugs and Spooks.
The best locations seem to be the center south areas of Pin Ball Alley with some production also just to the west of this area. The southwest area is still pretty muddy and has not been producing.
On the Stick Marsh side we have been finding fish in an around the stands of bulrush, and in around any visible brush. Again, as with the Farm side, the best bait has been Senkos weightless, and the Senko Swim worm.
Working the Senko Swim worm: We are rigging this bait with an 1/8 to 1/4 ounce weight and skin hooking the bait. The consistency of the bait is a bit tougher than the regular Senko and we find we get a better hook set if we skin hook the bait. Swim the bait as you would a spinner bait, varying the speed until you find the speed that produces. For the most part, the speed for us has been slow, working the bait just above the brush. Pausing the bait has been good, but don't let it sink to the bottom as the brush is dense and you will leave your rig behind most times.
Working the 5" regular Senko will allow you to get to the bottom if you rig it weightless and of course slow is the way to work this bait.
Watch for the shad busts both on the Farm and the Stick Marsh side. With a shad bust you are looking for multiple bass coming up, not the single fish chasing a shad or shiner. If you are lucky enough to observe this phenomenon get the Chug Bug or Spook going. After the shad pass through and move on, drop back to the Swim Senko or the regular Senko to continue catching. If you stay put in the area, the busts will occur again. Don't try to follow the shad as you will spend your time chasing and you will miss out on the catching.
Shiners have been producing, however in order to keep them out of the wood because of the shallow water conditions, trolling is necessary. Trolling is difficult due to the submerged wood.
Be careful of either side as the water levels are at a bad level right now. Wood is just below the surface and with the water conditions due to wind seeing the wood is most difficult. Move slowly when in the wooded areas. I recommend you remove your transducer from the trolling motor when working in the heavy wood if you don't wish to buy another. Also operate that trolling motor just deep enough to get a bite in the water or you may be buying a new shaft.
If you get on a stump and need the big motor to get off, turn your boat to the side that the stump is on. This will spin the boat off the stump a lot easier. I have seen many people end up going into the water because of an attempt to rock the boat off. I definitely do not recommend rocking the boat.
Use common sense and keep it slow in known wooded areas and you will not only come out unharmed, but you will have some really good fishing. Look for top water to increase rapidly now and look for bigger fish to come on top water.
See you on the water. Say hi if you get a chance. Remember, if the wind gets up, be very careful in the wood: you don't want to punch a hole through the boat!