Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. I have been fishing quite a bit, with some interesting results. I have fished numerous rivers and creeks in the past couple of weeks. I have caught fish every time out, just not the ones I am looking for. It seems that all I can catch is small males. This is not totally puzzling at this time of year. Right now, the big, females are thinking of one thing…............spawning. I am not saying they are spawning right now, but they are getting ready. While many smaller bass (mainly males) are occupying normal habitat spots - runs, pools, eddies, etc; the females are not occupying these same areas.
What I believe is happening is the larger females are near the shore in shallower water, but scattered throughout the river/creek. Finding them right now is kinda like finding a needle in a haystack. Normally, when anglers chase river bronze, you can focus on likely bass areas in a river and do well. But right now those females don’t care about depth, current, cover or food.
Case in point happened this past Sunday. Jim and I were floating close to 8 miles of river. Every spot that produces fish, and big fish, historically throughout the main part of the summer/fall was devoid of females. Sure, we caught a couple of little buck males, but nothing else. As I was floating aimlessly down the river and firing casts at the bank, a little male grabbed my spinnerbait. As I was reeling him in, a giant smallie (probably a female) was following close behind. More than likely these two bass were paired up getting ready to spawn. Unfortunately, this only happened once in our entire float.
Another place those big females could be at right now is smaller creeks. Many times larger females will head up small tribs. to lay their eggs. Now I have fished two different small creeks and have only caught males there as well. But, I must admit, that when it came to the creeks, I did not cover much water.
While I would like to catch those large, prespawn females, I know that once the spawn is over those big mommas will surface once again. I will say with the low water we have right now it should lead to a banner spawn year.
As of late, I have been catching a lot of fish on spinnerbaits and suspending jerkbaits. It seems those males cannot leave these two baits alone. The Single Colorado bladed spinnerbait has been hot…...........something like this:
The above baits are crafted by Bob Park of Raptor Premium Spinnerbaits. This color is my favorite and is called “Graham Cracker”. You can view his baits at http://www.raptorpremiumspinnerbaits.com
Another spinnerbait that has been hot for me is a spinnerbait called a Limberneck. It is no longer in production and is almost impossible to find. I got a few from a buddy of mine. I don’t have a picture, but it is quite unique. You can google search it and see what it looks like. I only have two so I will need to be careful with it….........
The suspending jerkbait that has been great is the Pointer 65DD by Lucky Craft:
I have been working this bait relatively fast with little pause time between jerks. The smallies are loving it…..
Until next time….........................
AS ALWAYS…....................................HAIL TO THE SMALLIE
This past Saturday I headed north to float with my good buddy, Jim. We had the Coosa kayaks in the water by 7:30 AM. Weather was great and the river was in great shape….........plenty of current, but clear. The first two hours we had no fish. We were puzzled? All signs pointed to a great day to be out in search of bronze. Finally, we came upon a fast water chute with a large eddy on the side. We had caught fish here on many other trips. I fished the spot first and blanked (this would be a theme for me all day). Jim came in after me and cracked two nice fish on a tube:
Now we felt we had our mojo going (at least Jim did). We floated just a couple of hundred yards downstream and Jim cracked another nice fish:
We continued on downstream as I was looking for my first fish. Jim caught another nice one on his tube by fishing another eddy near faster water. We continued on downstream and hit another spot that contained a large eddy next to fast water. I fished it first with a couple of different presentations (including a tube) with nothing to show for my efforts. Jim came in behind me and cracked another fish on a tube.
Now I am all messed up. I must be doing something wrong. Jim is fishing behind me and just “schooling” me. Finally, on a spinnerbait I catch my first smallmouth of the day. It is small and does not measure up to Jim’s beauties. Then I catch a largemouth on the spinnerbait in the same spot…..............didn’t need a little, river largemouth messing up my already messed up mojo.
We continue on and I continue to struggle. We had one more spot that I truly believe is one of the neatest spots on the whole river. We have caught fish in the past there, but I figure today will be perfect as the water levels should be just right for that spot. It should hold a bunch of fish. Once again, I fish it first and come up empty, while Jim fishes the other side of the river. Jim catches a fish immediately on my swim jig across the river. Then I tell him he might as well come over to my spot and show me how to catch them. He comes over to my side of the river and, of course, cracks a nice smallie:
Now I am totally resigned to the fact that today is just not my day. It happens sometimes when Jim and I fish together. Some days I have the hot stick, and other days Jim has the hot hand. And, of course, some days we both are hot (those are the best days). I was able to pull one smallmouth from our final spot (small…......of course).
We ended our float around noon. I am not sure exactly how many fish Jim caught, but it was definitely a lot more than me. I ended up with two juvenile smallies and one under-sized largemouth. As I headed back toward home, my desire to catch some fish had not been extinguished. Fortunately, the day was still young so I decided to hit some spots closer to home.
I stopped by the Vermilion and talked with an elderly couple that allow me great private access on their property. It was the first time I had talked with them since last fall. They were both doing great and we talked about the past long, cold winter. I asked if it was ok to drive on down to the river. They said no problem. The Vermilion is still a little high, but water clarity is ok. I hit two great eddies next to fast water that I routinely catch fish out of ever spring…...............no dice. My rough day continues.
Next, I hit a small tributary of the Vermilion and found it to be in perfect shape with very clear water (especially for spring time). I hit two prime spring areas and was able to muster one little smallmouth and one little largemouth on a spinnerbait (yes, I tried the tube as I knew I had to, but came up empty). Next, I hopped back in the truck and wanted to hit one more trib. just miles from my house.
I arrived at this very little creek and found the water to be in perfect shape. This creek normally stops flowing by July. But in the spring always holds a few smallies. I hit my usual spots with the spinnerbait and the swim jig….................nothing. I went back to the truck and grabbed my tube rod and retraced my steps. I kept telling myself that I knew the fish were there. Sure enough, armed with the soft plastic, I caught three smallmouths in the exact same spots I had struck out with the spinnerbait and swim jig.
I headed for home around 5:00. I had put in a full day. I had awoke at around 5:00 AM and got home around 5:00 PM. Not the greatest day for me when it comes to catching fish, but I did enjoy myself. The moral of the day for me was two-fold. First, you can do everything right sometimes and still not catch fish like your buddy. Secondly, while Saturday saw 80 degree highs and you would think the fish would just be blasting fast moving baits, what you think is not what the fish are always thinking. Always stay versatile and be willing to slow down and fish baits near the bottom. The baits that were successful on the previous trip may not produce the next trip…............even if conditions warrant their effectiveness. All of these things make fishing so interesting…........and challenging.
AS ALWAYS….............HAIL TO THE SMALLIE
Got an email from Mike Quigley this morning. He hit some great strip mine bass using my Bucketmouth Delight swim jig. Here are a couple of pics….......
And then he caught this one….............a shade over 6 pounds:
This is the jig that did the damage:
As you might expect, Mike is purchasing some more….............................
AS ALWAYS….........HAIL TO THE SMALLIE