Set out to hit one of my favorite flows, taking a break from the micro flows in the AM. Got on the water fishing by 8AM. Water was pumping through at a nice clip, high enough to put fish in the water willows. The way I like it. Visibility was 18"+ with a stain to it.
Baitfish were clearly being chased. I often catch these bass by throwing a topwater directly into the area. In this case, a Rick Clunn 1.5 wakecrank scored the first smallmouth. Shortly, I caught a couple on a 5" weighted pink fluke. Again, nice ones in the 12-14" range.
I was wading this stretch on a hunt. A couple of weeks ago I had a beast of a smallmouth nearly to hand when one last jump, left me heartbroken. I thought I had lost a huge bass. By sight, the fish looked in the 19-21" range. The pool is not really a hole but a more of a run, a collection of boulders downstream from an bedrock shelf, riffle, gradient, gravel, and rock providing plenty of habitat and places to hide, despite being less than 3' deep. I often fish this run perpendicular casting across, dragging a wakecrank, buzzbait, or fluke across the current.
Picked up a couple on WC. The pool seemed played out. The retraining micro flows have given me is to keep casting from all angles until you pull something out. Often a change in presentation can make the difference.
In this case, the gradient drop cause quite a bit of ambient riffle noise. I thought I'd try a Rico popper just to see if there was anything to it. Rod Yoder (redshad.com) had told us about his favorite topwater technique walking the dog with a spitting popper. I'd tried it a bit in the past with little success. This time it was on! I started getting the hang of the cadence the smallmouth wanted. The noise was really attracting bass in the stained water with slightly higher level. Making lots of natural noise in the turbulent run was the ticket. A bunch of nice fish came to hand. Then this happened:
The bass was thick, big headed, and strong jawed. Under its chin was a slight wound as if it had been hooked. Probably my quarry for previous outing! I measured the fish at 18.75" with a chunk of tail missing and a smaller than normal tail in general. I've noticed it is harder for me to accurately guess length on fatter fish. Just not used to seeing thick creek bass.
The bite died as the day started. The sun had come up. Target was more similar riffles for active fish.
Finally found one. A shallow bedrock flat placed behind some willow islands. The rico was nailing dinks. I must have caught 8-10 smallies there. I had found the pattern fleeing and walking the Rico. It was an effective technique and efficient. Bass who struck were hooked and landed. In 3.5 hours, I got 28 to hand.
Met up with Nate shortly after noon. We were doing a mega wade on a micro flow. Fishing started out slower overall than that morning. But soon I had discovered a Wakecrank bite, which segwayed into a tube bite.
Nate picked up this nice smallmouth bass (16.75") off that rootwad behind him as the bass took the tube on the drop.
Later we found a waterfall in the hot weather. Like sitting in a cool sauna. The pool right above was loaded with smallies. We caught a few and the rest spooked.
Wake crank/ tube day on the micro flow. Numbers started mounting up. Lots of dink to 14"ers, occasional 15". lack of size, though I know they get to 17" in there.
We had three or four doubles. We each caught a bass on tube in this case.
I was out ahead of Nate because he kept throwing a Sammy to disinterested fish and interested trees.
As the day burned, I was worn out and the fishing got mechanical. I needed some calories. Nate started to catch up. Which is good on him as he was starting to 'get it'. He caught some nice bass. Another short of 17". I got a 16" I went through a stretch where nothing stayed hooked. My thumbs were shredded. It was painful to unhook bass. I was done. Funny thing is, that can change quick when you catch something.
We hit another larger pool and I nailed a couple 14-15" SMB dragging tube and this MOTHER OF ALL CREEK GOOGS:
The pic didn't turn out it was beautiful and so fat. I'm guessing 10" close to a pound.
Feet ready to fall off, we finally got to my car around 9:20PM. A 12 hour day of fishing.
Finished with 70 SMB (42 in second wade) (18.75", 16, 3-15") 3 Rock bass.
Nate caught 33 SMB (2-16.75", bunch of 15"'s) 2 rock bass in 8.5 hours