Every fall there is a short window when the smallmouth bass move from the big river into the smaller creeks and go on a feeding spree to get ready for the coming cold months. While there's not a large population of smallmouth in my area, the ones that are there are usually a nice size. The problem in targeting these fish is that they move a lot.....you may catch them here today but tomorrow they may be miles away. So for most parts of the year if your lucky enough to catch one you should feel pretty good about it.
I had caught a nice smallie earlier this week, as shown in a earlier post, so I was curious if they were more in that area so I spent some time trying to refine a pattern to catch them.
I fished a large part of the creek, all of which held shad and other baitfish but there was one small stretch, approximately 100 yards long, that seemed the hold the smallmouth bass. These fish would occasionally break the surface while chasing bait but were so keyed in on what they were eating it was not easy tricking them into biting something that wasn't real.
I tried all the usual things that normally work when bass are schooling on bait ..... topwaters, crankbaits, lipless baits, swimbaits etc...but nothing was working. These fish would not stay up but for just a minute, usually just one big explosion then they were gone. So getting a bait into the boils was almost impossible.
The first fish of the day was a little musky, about a 2 footer, which came on a little square bill crankbait. I was lucky to boat him without any leader but I was able to land and release him and get my bait back.
I quickly unhooked and released him without taking a photo.
The smallmouth I caught earlier this week was on a spinnerbait so that bait saw a lot of water time and it did produce the first and the largest smallmouth of the day.
This fish was 22" in length and was quite chunky.
Easily over 4 pounds....possibly over 5.
Pictures don't do justice to how thick and stocky these fish are.
After cycling through lots of different baits, colors and sizes I found a skirted jig that looked good enough to trick several fish into eating.
When fish take a bait this deep it is a sure sign that your doing the right thing.
Here's a few photos of some of the other nice bass that I caught.
I did get several smaller ones that were released without taking any pics of them.
|A Nice 19" Fish|
|This Spotted Bass Was 17"|
|A Chunky 12"er|
At one point during my bait experiments I tried some finesse jigs. While working them in and around a couple submerged tree tops I caught these two crappies.
|Not giants but very respectable crappies|
Well, this week was the week that the smallmouth came into the creek to feed up, I'm lucky to have found them early so I had time to figure out where they were holding and what it would take to make a few of them bite.
A few of these fish will remain in this creek all winter but past history tells me that the majority will move out to deeper water to spend the winter.
With the fall colors all around and a steady rain of leaves falling to the ground and into the water
the many squirrels working both on the ground and in the trees,
the birds are gathering in ever increasing flocks,
most folks are getting ready for the hunting seasons which leaves my boat the only one on the water,
the weather forecaster calling for the first snow flakes this weekend,
the fish are biting, not fast and furious but the quality is very good.
no wonder fall is one of my favorite time to be out.