I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant encounters with geese. I don’t know what in the world makes those dang things so ornery but my gosh, they’ll try to eat your face off if you just look at ’em wrong. They’re some mean dudes and I don’t want anything to do with them.
Although they’re total jerks, they’ve started to inadvertently help me understand when the fish are moving shallow. In my part of Georgia, they don’t necessarily tell me when prespawn starts, but they do tell me when I need to start transitioning from prespawners to spawners. Allow me to explain.
My buddy and I fished a tournament one Saturday in early March. It was one of those special days that only come around once in a blue moon and we absolutely beat their faces in. We were culling 4-pounders all day on what seemed like every other cast. Towards the end of the day in between our giggling and high-fives, I noticed that a bunch of geese were sitting on their nests along the bank. They were mean as a two-headed rattlesnake, too. Anytime we got within 20 yards of them they’d get to hissing and carrying on like they were big and bad.
After we won that tournament I figured I’d fish the Sunday tournament by myself. My buddy had to work or something, so I just jumped in and figured I’d see what happened. I started off the day by fishing stuff almost identical to what we had fished the day before. I beat the tar out of that stuff and man, by lunchtime I probably had three fish for four pounds. I didn’t know what the heck was going on.
I decided to call an audible and start targeting the bass closer towards their eventual spawning grounds. I keyed in on sunny, windblown, south-facing, sandy flats and I absolutely stomped ’em for the last three hours. It was a repeat of the day before, but just a little closer to spawning flats. And wouldn’t you know it… I got hissed at and chased by ticked off geese all afternoon. They could hiss and carry on all they wanted to but I won that dang tournament.
I honestly don’t know what made me even begin to put two and two together but I’m sure glad I did. Each and every year, I watch closely for nesting geese on the shoreline. It seems to always happen towards the end of the prespawn period so whenever I see them, I know the bass are fixing to make a major and sudden move away from their typical staging areas and towards their spawning flats. The prespawn bite is quickly coming to an end.