May 2010 was one of the top 4 months I've ever had. 11 fishing trips (10 wades- 1 float) in 31 days. I averaged 5.64 hours fished resulting in 259 smallmouth bass and 21 'other' fish. That's 4.18 smallmouth per hour, rivaling my best month fishing smallies in Indiana (September 2007 - 5.19 per hour-444 smallies). The month included 8 different rivers and streams. Landed 32 smallmouth bass over 16", which is 5th best overall.
All in all a great May. I had an absolute blast. I credit thinking differently about where and when to fish, trying new places, changing up fishing style, finally not pounding round nails into square holes.
Where and when- I tried to fish shallow streams with water up slightly to mask my coming. When possible, I avoided sunnier days. On sunnier days, targetting streams covered with shade. I worked these streams slow and deliberate with wide wobbling baits.
New places- 4/8 streams in May were new to less than two visits. None of the stretches had been fished by me previously.
No secret, I love fishing topwaters most of the time in Indiana once the bass take to it. Topwater fishing is effecient, draws out big fish, and topwater bassing is fun! A friend of mine suggested, on some days a bait that can dive slightly below the surface can be the trigger. Wake baits and jointed swimbaits have been the stars in May for me. It has really been the wide wobble slightly below the surface to 18" down that has been my ticket. The water has been clearer, allowing me to see the strike most of the time anyway. Very fun to watch bass come up and look at a slowly wobbling, crippled minnow before deciding to inhale!
I have a theory on the big drop off fish populations in some larger streams due to huge floods in Indiana in 2008. The study (obsession) of 1.5 years has too many coincedences. I stopped going to 'name' rivers that are supposed to produce. The catch rate went up even if I caught less monsters overall. Action is important.
Getting out and spending the time to observe water levels and what it takes to muddy a stream, have been another key to success. Some streams are surprisingly resiliant when we've had a lot of rain. Each of the last few years, I've gotten better at figuring there is somewhere within an hour and a half to catch brown bass.