by Keith Sarasin (c) 2001
|Take an ultralight rod and reel. Attach a plastic bait with a spinner blade. Add a
smallmouth bass and you've got a winning combination.
When I go for smallies at the opening of the bass season, I always look for a rocky area on a point in the lake. The depth of the water should be from about two feet deep and slope gradually to around eight feet. Having a weed bed or other structure is a bonus. Look also for a drop off to deeper water for extra production. The bass will travel from one depth to the other, as well as suspending at different levels. A little wave action helps in this clear water and a slight rain or an overcast day is even better.
If you have a topographical map of the lake you will be fishing, try to pick at least three target areas that you think will hold smallies. Look for areas with protection from the wind, gravel or rocks, a weedy area at the end of the gravel, or other factors that may hold fish.
Plan to fish these areas in the order you wish to cover them. If you know the wind direction, that will be even better. Go first to the point that has some wind and wave action to cover you and the boat. Try to keep the boat down from the sun so as not to throw shadows over the place you are going to fish. Ripples or small waves will increase the productivity of the day. The waves will be bringing feed in to the bass; they will be actively looking for bait to be washed in to them.
Start off by keeping the boat about sixty feet or so off shore and toss the spinner in close. Crank it in letting it drop just above the rocks and let it follow that depth as it nears the boat. Smallmouth like to hide between the rocks as they look for crayfish or leeches or any other food they can find. The slight noise and flash of the small spinner blade will definitely get their attention.
By casting in to shallow water and letting the bait drop to deeper water on the retrieve, you will cover any fish holding on the edge of deep water or cruising the edge of the drop.
The choices are many, but these are the plastics that I prefer, as I always seem to do well with them.
My choice of colours for the plastics includes yellow, white, pumpkinseed, black, and chartreuse. Spinner blades should be silver, gold, or fluorescent. Mixing and switching the colours is a good idea, as the fish will often change what they are hitting several times during the day.
The equipment you may want to try for these is light; ultralight is even better. I use an H.M.X Graphite, 2 piece rod, 5ft.6ins. in length. Couple this with a Quantum SX1 reel filled with 6lb. mono line.
Smallmouth bass can and do range in size from something very small, to fish weighing in at six or seven pounds. They are feisty to say the least and a good scrap for the angler who hooks one. An ultra light rod and reel with light line offers you an exceptional fight and lots of rod bending action.
Remember to keep the rod tip pointed up while playing the smallie in, but if the fish jumps clear of the water, lower the rod tip to prevent breaking the line. With a five-foot plus rod you can have a lot of fun, and action to match any larger fish.
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