Monday, June 29, 2009

Number 7

Even with a good plan, sometimes dumb luck comes into play. Sunday was one such day. The sweltering heat was about to break due to an incoming cold front. From experience, smallmouth bass in streams seem to put on the feed when a storm or cold front is about to hit. Bad weather is usually good, often very good.

Sunday I took a relative newb to smallmouth fishing out for his first real wade hitting the water around 7:15. Bret threw a 3" tube and 1/4 oz buzzbait most of the day. To his credit, he is patient, thoughtful, and willing to learn. I took my time and gave him a bunch of good spots to fish. At the first good spot, Bret fought a nice 16.5" smallie to hand!

I started to catch fish on a shad white Rick Clunn Lucky Craft Waketail crankbait 1.5. The bait is a fat bodied, jointed lure that swims an 'S' on retrieval. Enticingly dancing a white feather on the rear treble. It draws a lot of strikes shortly after splashdown. It can be retrieved up to 6" below the surface or just below the surface creating a wake. In faster riffle water, it excels being worked perpendicular to banks across the river rocks. This is how I caught an 18" smallmouth bass in a spot I always catch a 17-18" fish.

I was at about 7 topwater fish (2 15"ish on Rapala Surface walk) when I recognized the sun would soon end any shade on the next riffle. So we hauled ass through unproductive water to get there. Paused in a large pool. While wading up to our waists, we both caught fish on tubes. I had a 15"er jump over our heads to toss the bait. Sooo cool. I threw a 4" tube, Bret threw the 3". Bret largely swam his while I tumbled mine in current, let it sit at key points, or jerked the tube sporadically once in a while before letting it settle. The smallies I caught were significantly larger.

Bret continued to catch a dink here or there on his tubes. I caught a 15" on a crankbait at some push water.

My normal route on this next pool changed as Bret walked up the shallow right side, I was forced more into the middle. I was working the western eroded bank with a tube increasingly parallel to the bank, dragging my tube downstream almost on the bank. I had the idea the fish had gone deep in the burning sunlight. They had. I caught 2 and lost one.

The next cast hooked up again. Seemed like a 15-16"er as I stood belly deep. It made some runs but stayed down. It made a lot of short runs and wouldn't quit. I couldn't bring it to hand quick because of the steep deep bank to my left. So I started controlling the fish to swim all the width of the stream to bank her in some water willows on the right. Noticed the fish was much larger than either Bret or I had suspected. She measured to 20" by a hair

Bret had been casting across the stream perpendicular. In situations your jig is only in the strike zone for a couple feet. Usually a wasted effort in current. Even in bass fishing, numbers are everywhere. Perfect illustration of how wading down the deep side, keeping your bait down in the strike zone parallel to the bank fan casting the shoreline ahead catches more fish. I invited him over. As he caught the next fish, a larger bass tried stealing the tube away from it.

Caught a few more on splashdown on the wakecrank, including a 16" in a shade pocket I had hit. Bret was in the penalty box with tangled mono. His reel had a small diameter spool and 10lbs mono (big game?). No antireverse on the spinning reel=oof. Ok for crappie and short casts, not ok for a 500 cast day.

We both had fun and cut up. Started the filming of INSA bass handling movie for youtube. First take turned out unintentionally funny.

Headed home early as my hangover caught up from Saturday night. Action was better than it seemed as we had line to respool, filming time, took our good ole time.

BT 18 SMB (20", 18", 16", 4-15-15.75")
BH 11 SMB (16.5)


  1. What are your thoughts on water clarity and topwater? My river has been muddy all summer, and is just starting to clear. I haven't had any success on topwater yet. It has been all about tubes, worms and crankbaits. I can't wait for the big smallie strike on topwater. Should be any day now.

  2. Much later than last year. Don't know why, Jeff. Routinuely getting topwater fish last few weeks. A lot immediately following splashdown on an eddie.

    It's been fun getting nice fish on tubes too.

    I am jonesing for some 30-60 bass days.