March and April bring water temperatures to the 50-degree F mark, causing bass to come up from their wintering areas with a renewed interest in foraging.
New Jersey has a number of quality largemouth bass habitats, including Greenwood Lake, Monksville Reservoir, Big Swartswood Lake and Lake Hopatcong in the northern part of the state. In the central part, there are Manasquan Reservoir and Assunpink Lake. In the south, there is Union Lake.
Bass lures such as skirted jigs, crankbaits and jerkbaits work well in early spring. At this time of year, the key to drawing strikes is a slow, deliberate presentation. Water in spring can be cloudy from run-off, so use a lure with highly visible color or some flash.
At about 55 degrees F, big bass will move deeper into the bays and coves. For this reason, fishing the cover provided by stumps and weed beds can be effective.
The New Jersey state record largemouth bass was a 10 lbs. 14 oz. specimen taken by Robert Eisele at Menantico Sand Pond (Cumberland County) in 1980.
Article Written By Paul Weidknecht
Paul Weidknecht’s non-fiction has appeared in "Outdoor Life," "Yale Anglers' Journal," "Fur-Fish-Game," "Snowy Egret," and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in "Clapboard House," "Potomac Review" online, "Stone's Throw" magazine, "The Oklahoma Review," and "Freight Train" magazine. He lives in northwest New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Muhlenberg College.