Spring is coming early for the freshwater anglers of south Louisiana. Anybody waiting on March to come along before they try the bass at the Basin will miss some of the best action of the year. How good is it? The first tournament of the year was held at Doiron's this past weekend, and it took over 22 pounds to win.

The weights didn't fall off very much after first place. There were quite a few 15-pound stringers. There was also a nine-pounder and a seven-pounder caught. Ivy St. Romain from Ivy's Tackle Box and Marine Supply in Morgan City reported nothing negative about the Basin. "It's hot right now, and it's only going to get better," he said.

Any concern that Katrina and Rita may have hammered the Basin seems to be unfounded. Bass in the Basin are some of the first to turn on in the state. The urge to move up and spawn is irresistible as the water temperature rises and the days get longer. Their protective instincts mean that they will bite almost anything that gets near their nest.

With so many likely areas to fish and so many baits to throw, St. Romain said that the most successful anglers would be those that dissect the well known spawning areas with precision pitching. Get a bait near a bed and you can make bass bite.

According to St. Romain, a lot of bass are being caught by pitching to shallow, isolated wood cover. Look for things like fallen trees, cypress knees and stumps. Anything that looks like a good place for a bass to spawn around would be a good target.

"The Shell Field is awesome right now," said St. Romain. "There's some wood cover over there with some isolated grass patches. The bedding fish have all ready moved up strong. That's generally one of the first places where you can find spawning bass."

Jigs and soft plastic crawfish have been working best. Romain recommended black/blue/purple 9/16-ounce jigs with either a blue #11 or #11A pork frog or a flipping blue Zoom Big Salty Chunk. If you'd rather throw the plastic craws, he said to try Junebug, Junebug red, watermelon and watermelon red. He also mentioned that solid white has been a hot color.

The Stephensville area and Lake Verette have turned on too. Both areas have been producing some good stringers up to 14 pounds. Stay with the jig and soft plastics around the wood cover.

"It's all about pitching right now," said St. Romain. Get on that trolling motor and cover water. Try to put your jig or craw around as much good-looking stuff as you can while you're out and you'll catch some fish.