|Yes, ours aren't often, bronze or brown.|
Water was rising from rains and stained 18" visibility. With overhead sun warming, near perfect late Winter conditions. Visibility had been nearly 5' just last week.
I started out on a high bank lined with green pricker vines that choke on any cast you try to make. Measure every cast or else. Ground was mostly frozen still. Maybe a quarter inch of thawed ground then hard. I didn't need to be slipping down this bank. There was a steep slide into chest deep water. I once took the slide to grab a pig, I'd have to do the same if I got lucky and hooked one here.
To make casting FnF less of a chore, I debuted one of my new 1/8th oz snag less BT special hair jig sans float. Basically, a 1/8th oz wire guard Wallyworld Tube jig with like a 2/0 or so hook. Tie on some black, red, brown, craw flash with the red thread. Toss. Repeat. Soon, I had a tell tale tick and yanked a surprised 13" smallie reverse cliff dive style.
Always a rush to land that first cold water fish. Tells you a lot. Earlier in the day, the better. I tired of the long, high, pricker bank I left for another upstream hole. Here, I nailed 3 fish in 20 or so casts with a FnF jig free lined in 5-8' of water. The two largest, (15-15.75") were hooked under their jaw. Telling me they had picked the bait pointing down on it to where the long shank was outside their mouths when they bit the front. I just couldn't figure out which direction they can from. Soon crossed to the other side of the pool. Hooked up there quickly with the braid rod and 1/8th BT Hair special. As the jig came to the end of a log in slack- thunk! Another 15.5" SMB. Then a dink flops off the larger jig on the backswirl off a sandbar. I go to the sandbar to fish and pull another hard fighting smallmouth bass off the log from a different angle, 14".
Next stop, I hit three dinks, 2 freelining, one on the float, lose what feels like a nice fish on the BT special on my braid rod (drag tightened and I'm sure I had that fish helicoptering!
Back in the car to some rip rap like they use to keep erosion from happening: Sidewalk, blacktop, etc. Not pretty, but holds fishes. Float dunks and a 12" SMB gets me to 10. I am about to quit, so I try the 1.5 RC LC imitator from Strike King Kevin Van Dam Square Bill chartreuse crank- with rattle. Parallel to the banks in the slack and not really slow. Kind of too fast. They react! Crank is bouncing along and off large rip rap, when it just stops. Hell Broke Luce! Zig-zag. Not used to braid rod getting so much abuse. I get the pig to shore with one hook of six embedded 1/4" into the skin/bone of the bottom jaw . Measures an 18.5". Thick. Biggest so far this year.
Release him downstream, from my original position firing upstream along the rip rap, into the shallowing of the eddy. Thunka, thunka, thunka, STOP! Snagged? Nope, another nice smallmouth bass of size. Fights. He's well hooked. 18"
Released downstream. Fire back the same direction. After about 5 casts, I'm really burning it in again and it stops dead like hung on a fence. Then it rips drag and feels bigger yet. Doesn't turn out to be, but maybe the coolest looking, 17":
Glad I tried the crank out, thought about it before but there was too much wood and depth for what I had brought.
13 SMB 4 hours 15 minutes (18.5", 18", 17", 3-15-15.75")