If I were a largemouth bass, I would've cursed the cool weather this spring and become twice as sinful. Until now, that is. The recent spate of warm weather would have been salvation for me and my progeny.

The warm weather has finally put the largemouth bass in area on their spawning beds. Spawning is almost a month late this year, so there must have been a lot of frustrated lunker largemouth lovers loitering around the lakes waiting for Mother Nature to do her thing.Not that I've interviewed many.

Spawners make their beds in two to five feet of water. Remember that the fish prefer areas with access to protective deep water. Ideal spouts are in the backs of shallow coves that hide a submerged stream bed or on gently sloping points where coves meet the lake.The Beds are usually three to five feet in diameter and can be distinguised by their color, which is lighter than the surrounding bottom because spawning females prepare their beds by fanning away the top layer of silt t get a clean bottom that will allow areation of the eggs.

SPawning will last about two weeks. Top-water baits and plastic spring lizards that, imitate "water dogs" or salamanders are good lures. Most bass taken during spawning season are bucks. They run considerably smaller than the females, which are more reluctant to feed during spawning season. The spring lizard, however, is a good bet to prod reluctant old sow fish because salamanders feed on bass eggs after they're deposited.

many fisherman release females that look like they are full of eggs, in the belief that it helps future fishing and that it's more fun to catch a big fish twice than it is to eat it, or mount it, once. Pregant female bass,like most pregant creatures, can be distinguished by their heavy abdomens. Any hen that has spawned will be distinctly loose, empty or baggy in her abdomen.

Lake Anna, southwest of Fredericksburg, is only one of many lakes in the area where spawning was delayed this year by cool weather. Tom Goodwin, who works at the Sturgeon Creek Marina at Anna and takes creel counts for the State of Virginia,says that the water temperature in the lake is about 61 or 62 degress. According to Goodwin the largemouths prefer to spawn in water that is 60 to 64 degrees, so conditions should finally be ideal.

Mike Farnham, who guides on Rocky George, says that spawning has also started there. He expects that though spawning will be over soon, good fishing should last a week or two afterward, since the males will stay around to guard the nests and the females will recommence feeding. To set up with Farnham call 937-4391.