Thursday, August 15, 2013

After Work 8/14/13

Finally got on the water at about 3:30. Low, low, just a little flow. I walked down through the woods to fish a seldom fished riffle. In 10 casts, I had 3 impact strikes resulting in two 17.5" smallmouth. The third strike was more of a drift of a pencil bait. Snarfed off the surface by a decent smallmouth. Followed back to me by a bass much larger. Naturally, I'll sacrifice a 13"er for a 19"+, so I played the fish into a double hooking. They shook and struggled until I had them almost to shore. The thin pig went airborne 3' from me and the second hook tore loose from her. DAHHH! So close to epic.

Wow, what a great start. I was a little concerned nothing hit when I moved the actual baits. Pools were a waste of time. Near flowing water or forget it. Preferably shade. Sensing a pig bite, I moved with authority. Until I found a dying 17" bass in the shallows. Nothing I did seemed to help, so I left him near current in the deepest water I could find.

I picked some dinks on a small, shallow diving crankbait, but again these were in aggressive feeding areas. Was not shaping up to be a numbers day.

I decided to go with a light pencil bait for less splash in spookier areas and switch to Sammy when I wanted big splash. This worked well. Soon, two more 18"ers and a 16.5" to hand on the Sammy 100. Still just a few lethargic swipes or a larger fish crushing a lure intermittently. 15.75"er destroyed the lure, another one launched in the stratosphere and was lost. Yet another charged impossibly fast at a lay down and was gone.



The sun's drop played games with Mr.Smallmouth's tracking of my walk the dog lures. It played the same trick on me. Depending whether some low angle sun fell on a pool to light it, my bait would be smashed or ignored. Causing quick assumptions as to their disposition.
Finally, I hit a choke point below a major pool. It hasn't produced many fish in the past. I let loose with a knuckleball Sammy cast 10 yards short of my target. I cringed as the lure hit the shallow water much harder than I wished. Three. Dog. Wags. BOOOM!!! Rakka-tack-tack-tack- Ker-splash! Zip-Zip-ZZZZ. *Oh, crap, only the rear hook* *Bulldog her or she's gone* Wowwle-Wowwle-splash. GOTCHA! Celebration pelvis thrust. Snap pic, release.


19.5" Jeez, I love catching the largest fish at the end of the day. Pumped. Just an 1" and a jump away from 6-18"+ fish on the day.

I spent insane calories getting back to the car. It was worth it.

5 hours 29 SMB (19.5", 2-18", 2-17.5", 16.5", 15.75")


  1. Nice stuff BT. In the previous post I guess I should have said you have big fish water compared to our water. I fish the North fork, Middle fork and Salt fork near Danville and the big fish are few and far between. I know you put crazy hours on your water and are well rewarded which you should be, but I think even if you put that kind of time on these 3 creeks/rivers the big fish numbers wouldn't compare to yours. Im gonna put the fly rod down and try the spinning rod and make long cast like you say and maybe I can see an improvement. Topwater usually catches bigger fish and I will concentrate on that. I will let you know how it goes. The thing is I don't even see any big fish while wading? Hopefully there are a few there but just well hid. I don't know how deep of water your fishing but where im at 4' to 5' is pushing it. I have been catching small fish in faster water and thinking the big dogs are in the holes?
    Thanks for the neat blogs and good luck!

  2. No problem. It is entirely possible that those streams you mention have a slower growth rate associated with their smallmouth bass. There are a number of streams in southern Indiana where SMB top out at about 15". There are others where an 18" is as big as they get and therefore rare. I avoid the 15" streams and usually the 18" streams have a bunch of 17"'s to catch so they are worth it.

    Illinois seems to have some really good fishing around the Northern part of the state. Looks like a lot of ground to cover to try new streams, unlike here. I can drive an hour and a half or less in any direction and be on 25-30 different rivers and creeks

    I once saw an IDNR graph that outlined the amount of minerals in the soil and how they pertained to fish growth according to region. Certain types of rock hold more food because they have texture and thus more surface area as well. Pretty neat if true. So the most potent soil also had more food for insects and on up the line.

    Topwater does more easily catch bigger fish. I think it is because the added factor of the noise and the fact we can see the fish react to it. Underwater, we don't know if our lure is repelling fish or causing them to balk. Consequently, we can adjust our topwater presentation more easily to what Mr.Bass wants. You can also throw them far without a worry of hangups.

    Big dogs- during warm water should be attracted to oxygen and therefore riffles and near to riffles when it is warm. Your stream could have the large fish acting nocturnally or at the bookends of the day. Patterns can be weird like that. Big boys well under the roots or in the roots- very hard to fish with a fly

    I rarely fish 5' of water in warm months.

  3. BT, how loud Is that pencil topwater? How does it sit in the water? How is the finish holding up? I prefer a quieter more flat lying topwater. I bought 1 Sammy a few years ago. Terrible bait. Flaking finish, cheap hooks, loud, sits like a bobber. Way too many baits like this on the market. Fish get conditioned to this type of bait.


  4. It has a single knocker in it, sits in the water tail down. This draws a lot of strikes just sitting there by the way. Finishes rub off with the sharp hooks you should be using to get a good hook up %, but the Duo Realis Pencil seems pretty durable, only light scratching thus far. Almost like they made it out of shiny silver plastic.

    As far as fish conditioned to Sammy 100. Guess that's possible, I've throwing one for 6 years now, but not seen any evidence. Sometimes they want something different, but when they are it, there's nothing more effective for numbers and numbers of large fish. By far the best big fish lure for me in the summer. You can throw one a long way, skip it into tight places. Hell, I catch fish pitching it into rootwads, the 8"-10" below the surface it plunges then accelerates to surface draws strikes. The finish doesn't matter at all, the one I'm using now has half the paint chipped off and the results have been stellar. I'd consider Sammies to be one of the quietest WTD lures, which is just what you want for low clear water.

    One year after the flooding of 2008, the baitfish were few and small and they didn't want the bait at all. As the baitfish got replaced, they've been on it again for the last 4 years.

  5. What size Duo pencil are you using and what color you like BT? Yah im getting one. :)

  6. BT, after the floods of 08, a lot change here. It used to be a more bottom bite in the summer, with tubes in current etc..Since that time, it has turned into a surface, minnow/shad/bug bite with shallow running cranks or straight topwater.

    1. Interesting. To me, bottom bouncing seems to work more when the rivers have flow in them. Maybe the last three years of drought? Also, topwater is easier to notice when the river doesn't make as much noise itself. I'd say the same with tubes being effective in the far past, but I think I've just gotten effecient in some ways.

      Most years the bite has been the same, just the fish populations have gotten smacked by floods. Have been some really great spawns recently so that is a plus.

      CM66: I like the 85 size Duo realis Pencil.