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Slip-sliding into the state bass season

The bobber slid slowly across the water top, as if on a slightly tilted sheet of ice.
/ Source: The Brainerd Daily Dispatch

The bobber slid slowly across the water top, as if on a slightly tilted sheet of ice.The bobber slid slowly across the water top, as if on a slightly tilted sheet of ice.

Not again, I mumbled to myself.

Along with about a dozen other early-season anglers, I was out for crappies or sunfish on this tiny bay off Gull Lake last week. The kind of fish that typically - and incessantly - peck at bait, causing the bobber to quiver in the water.

But where there's crappies and sunfish in these small bays, there's almost always bass, too. And while the season for most species of fish in the state opened earlier this month, the bass season didn't open until Saturday.

So, while you could fish for crappies and walleyes and pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass were off limits.

The bass obviously didn't get that memo.

Like most other species in Minnesota, bass also go for leeches and minnows and nightcrawlers. So even if you're fishing for, say, crappies, the chances of luring a bass are fairly good. Especially in the smaller bays, where the water is warmer. Bobbers sliding silently across the water - more often than not a largemouth's calling card - were the norm.

But many were expecting a bit of a sluggish start to the 2008 bass season.

"This year, everyone is crying the blues of how cold it is on the main lakes," Brian Brown said.

A tournament bass fisherman out of Breezy Point, Brown plans to kick off his Minnesota tournament season the first weekend in June on Lake Le Homme Dieu in Alexandria. He planned to tinker in the Brainerd lakes area opening weekend.

"It (the water) is 48 to 50 degrees. The bays are warmer, but the fish don't know that. So I don't know what the main lake fish will do," he said.

"I think you'll catch a lot right away because they'll be coming in and warming up and they'll be active that way. But it won't be a spawning bite."

But as is the norm with bass, patience is a must.

"For opening weekend, there will be a full moon tonight," he said Tuesday, a day after the official full moon. "And the water temps will be close, but I don't think enough fish will have moved in. But the second or third week, the fish will be coming up hard and there will be a full moon (June 18, according to www.wunder, a weather-related Web site). I truly believe in the full moon (aiding fishing) this time of year.

"It's supposed to be nice over (opening) weekend. I think that will jump-start the fish and you shouldn't have to fish too hard. Just use a spinner bait or a swim jig, put the trolling motor down and go."

BRIAN S. PETERSON, outdoors editor, may be reached at brian.peterson@brainerddispatch. com or 855-5864.