Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sense of Urgency When the Bite Is On

When one is primarily an on foot river and stream angler, there aren't too many short cuts you can take when the larger smallmouth bass spread out. There is no 25 mph zip up river to the next guaranteed spot in a jet boat.When you really get on a pattern covering ground becomes vital for larger numbers of big fish.

 Higher water helps bunch bigger bass in eddies and current seams. Hopefully, the big girls haven't just eaten when or if you get there.

You can try to stay mobile by riffle hopping in a car-if you know the river or creek well.

You can also try to float in a kayak or canoe. The weakness of floating is the massive loss of observation skills. On foot, I can climb high banks, up sycamores and log jams and really spy out what is going on. I will make more casts to a spot on foot than a floater. This will often lead to more fish. Sometimes on foot you 'mistake' your way into a undercut bank on the bank of an eddy. One which you would have never found because you would have kept your yak out of that eddy as not to spook what you are casting at. Often in a yak, you are out of control, your bait isn't presented slow enough, or you fiddle with some malfunctioning boat element. Cutting further on the casts. many times visual clues lead me to notice something I would have missed sitting in a boat.

So what you get left with when you do find a really good bite for plus size smallmouth bass is a mad dash for the likely habitat. Cutting across farm fields, through woods, over hills, whatever. To get to that next sun exposed wood jam in an eddy near current.

A sense of urgency is a keen weapon. Planning your route on a map and any short cuts you may take. Remembering where the riffles are and which parts can be skipped.

Often, you have 30 minutes or 45 minutes until you have the next chance at some big boys. It can be hard not to fish for a dink or two in some of the available spots along the way. Just remember, every dink I stop for means more mishaps and more time eaten. Time away from more 16"+ smallmouth.

Now that you've cross country hiked through the mud and over the one hundredth dead tree blocking your path, your heart rate will be elevated. Beware the loss of patience. Early in the year, patience and thoroughness mean more big smallmouth bass. Slow things back down once you get on the hogs again.

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