Saturday, February 26, 2011

Early Season Smallie Whacking 2/26/2011

Took the dog out for some tromping through the woods near the river. She had a great time chewing bark and leading the way.

Fished an inside bend with some large chunk rocks. Water was up and pumping with maybe 14-18" of visibilty. Green. The colder weather had done a great job choking off the flow of rain into the rivers and water had cleared up nicely.

Fished right along the bank with float and fly, casting parallel and seldom more than 10' from shore. Wasn't long and a nice float dunking led to the first bass, a 15"er. It was critical to stay in the slower water to get bit all day. There wasn't much of it- point, rootwad, or riverbend here or there led to slack water close to shore- where the smallmouth seek shelter from rushing water.

Not many casts later the float sunk some 4' from shore. Reared back. It was big. The fish came up and made a few powerful runs back and forth. I kept the rod high and let in run a bit. The banks where I was fishing were the 45 degree angle type and muddy. So it was pretty hard to land fish. You couldn't beach them without risking snapping line or sliding in where the water was quickly belly deep. Slip, slide, and brush away Wendy, I lipped the fish. It had an enormous head and part of a ripped lip. Meaning someone had caught and released the fish. It looked big, but it has honestly beeen so long since I saw many smallies- all I knew was over 18". Tail was like a sailboat sail. The fish went 20.5". Felt for my camera, only to realize it was at home in my rain jacket! Oh, well. She was kind of skinny anyway.

Left and went upstream to a high water spot. Quickly two float dunks and a dink and 15"er to hand. Worked the small spot in the eddy for the boulder they like to sit on the back of for a long time when the float dunked. A nice camo- 15.75" chunk.

Carried the dog across the creek, we hustled to the next spot where a dink and 12"er came to hand on float and fly technique. I really think this techniques shines in how it slows your presentation down. That was it for the spot. We walked back, I carried the dog across the creek again and we headed back to the car and spot 1.

I intentionally fish closer to the bank further up. Float dunks. Dink.

Not long later, another dunk on a gentle drift close in. This time it is a big fish again, and thick. 18". From nearly in front of me a couple feet from my feet.

A few casts later, a longer cast dunks close to shore and I get a great fight out of the fish. Turns out to be a 17.25" linebacker SMB.

Another drift nearly in front of me results in a dunked float and an awesomely yellow 18" female is soon running all over the place!

Big smiles at this point, another float dunk with a float nearly a foot from shore. Again a thick yellow smb. This fish went 16.75".

A few casts later, I flick one downstream and let it drift downwards with an open bail. Float sinks. I nice orange gold smallie of about 15". It would be the last fish

The last bit was crazy. The really weird thing about this spot is it gets a lot of pressure and normally doesn't produce all that well in warm months.

All fish came drifting the fly in slower current next to shore and cover. Shaking the float was unproductive

Ended with 13 SMB in 5 hours Lots of chunkers:(20.5", 2-18", 17.25, 16.75", 3-15-15.75)

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