When spring fishing season arrives

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We have gotten on toward the middle of the month and everyday that passes brings us closer to the beginning of the spring fishing season, which could be almost any day from now until the spring season arrives or when we have a week or two of warm weather.

We look at the calendar, but the fish have no calendar to go by, so it is simply the weather getting right that announces that spring has arrived for them and their kin.

During most of the last few years, it seems that we have had good hatches during the bedding season as folks are having to throw back some of their catch for being smaller than they want. I like to eat small bream, but some of the ones that are trying to bite are even too small for me.

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A small bream caught from the cool clear water over in the creek is about as sweet and good as any fish you will ever taste. It will even rival a sucker or jackfish for taste. A lot of us don’t get to enjoy the taste of these fish or really the catfish as much as we want to because the best way to fix these species of fish is deep fried. A big old pan on your fish cooker will attract attention from all over the neighborhood when the grease is hot. It is not even safe to cook in some places unless you have enough to share.

We know that spring really doesn’t start until the 20th of March this year, but these warm spells that we have had during the winter have turned on a lot of fish and they have enjoyed a free ride to the fisherman’s house. I am talking about instances when bream and shellcracker have bitten crickets.

The water had warmed some after several days of good warm weather, but the water was still cool for cricket fishing. Maybe the crickets were just the thing to get these fish in gear at a time we usually don’t catch bream or shellcracker in numbers. Come about April when the shallows have warmed sufficiently to attract the bedders and catches in large numbers will be the norm rather than the exception.

A number of years ago, the shellcracker would start to bed in March, and in April the bream would start. I haven’t heard of that happening in March these last few years. Maybe with the panfish activity we have had during the cooler months, they will give a thought to bedding in March and make the big fish fry celebrations start happening a couple of weeks earlier than last year.

I went by Sammy’s Bait and Tackle the other day and business was so brisk that he had Larry watering down the street to keep the dust down and visibility almost normal. Some of the traffic was folks that worked for a living, but a lot of it was fishermen hurrying to the water and leaving dust in their tracks. It won’t be many days before those working folks are going to be taking a few days off to go to the lake. A truly unlucky person is one that can’t take off some time to go fishing. In southwest Georgia that particular person is one that will be looking for another job in the near future and one that has fishing days built in.

I have seen several places where the deer hunting merchandise is still on display and our season has been gone for a month. The season ended in Alabama at the end of January and it ended on Feb. 14 in Florida.

If you were willing to pay for the license you could have legally deer hunted for another month after it went out in Georgia. If that Florida hunter had wanted to buy a Georgia license he or she could have hunted over a month early in Georgia as their season didn’t come in until Thanksgiving Day. We have improved our deer herd and the Florida folks must be doing something right as I have seen some really good bucks coming out of the Panhandle.

How long has it been since you have seen a skunk? I haven’t seen a live one lately, but have seen three dead ones along the roadside. I don’t remember seeing three skunks in the last 10 years. Something has them moving and count yourself the lucky one if you miss one. Your vehicle would need to be detailed after a run in with a skunk.