Sorry for the secret lake report but I just don't want to contribute to the heavy fishing pressure of the spot that I fished today.
I arrive at the spot with my buddy and we are both very optimistic and eager to catch some smallies! Up until this day, I had not caught a single smallie yet this year. But the weather last weekend was really warm and most of the week was also really nice. So with the water temps rising and the fishing moving shallow to start to spawn, I just knew that today was going to be the day that I catch my first smallie!
I had already heard of people catching at this particular spot. I also heard a lot of ignorant people say that "every" fish in the area had already been caught and some people even made the comment that the fish would be all "herpe'd up" with jacked up mouths. Yeah, well I'm sorry but to those people, you were dead wrong. I caught a total of 7 smallies and not a single one of them showed a single sign of ever being hooked. They didn't have a scratch on their face, a single hole or mark from a hook, and had very clean, unharmed mouths.
We both started off the day throwing crankbaits. I was throwing cranks that dived to ~10 foot or so. My buddy catches a little dink on his very first cast and I caught one about 10 minutes in! It was just a little dink about 1/2 lb or so but it was my first smallie of 2012 so I was super excited! About 30 minutes or so later, I catch another little dink that was about 1/2 lb or so. But this guy must have chased it a ways and committed at the last second because it hit my crank as I was about to pull it out of the water. We kept throwing cranks for a while but were getting nothing.
We then decided to switch it up and try some more finesse presentations. I started throwing a drop shot but wasn't getting any bites. I then started throwing a variety of soft plastics. I used both texas and wacky rigs and tried various styles of soft plastics in various sizes and colors. Within about 10 minutes of switching over, I feel a single tap followed by line tension and I set the hook! Fish on! It feels like a much nicer fish and immediately my adrenaline is pumping! I shout out that I got one! I fight it in and flip it up onto the bank. Immediately I am guessing that this smallie was about 1.5 lbs and I was dead on. She weighed in at 1 lb 9 oz. I had my buddy take a picture and let it go.
I was extremely happy at this point because I finally caught a nice little chunky smallmouth! But I was even happier because this was my first fish on my new bait caster! I recently purchased a left hand retrieve Abu Garcia Revo SX with a 7.1:1 Gear Ratio. It handled the fish beautifully! It also casts insanely well with little effort! I was casting lures that weighed only 1/8 oz with 50 lb power pro super far without even really trying. I was thoroughly impressed! I had it paired with my Team Daiwa T 7' Heavy Rod.
After that fish, my buddy catches a nice little chunk on a crankbait! He says it's probably only half a lb or so. I say that I think it's over a lb. So he gets out his digital scale and I guess that the fish will weigh 1 lb 4 oz. He puts it on the scale and can't believe it. It goes to 1 lb 4 oz and doesn't even flutter on the scale. We both got a good laugh at the fact that I somehow guessed the exact weight of this smallie. So I snap a pic for my buddy and let it go.
I then decided to move spots and try the same method out. I make a few fan casts in the general area working my bait very slow. It had such a slow fall rate that I often had to remind myself to let it sink for a few seconds until it hit bottom. As I did just that, I went to twitch my rod and I felt a ton of tension in the line. So I lower my rod, reel up the slack and set the hook hard! I really laid into this fish and I can honestly say that this had to be the most awesome and satisfying hook set that I have ever performed. As soon as I set the hook, my rod stops in place as if it was snagged. But this was followed my massive, super strong head shakes! I immediately knew that I had finally hooked into a big smallie! I start reeling her in and she is just pulling and weight back really hard. I see her flash and my adrenaline that was already raging goes into overdrive! I shout to my friend that I got a big one! I continue to fight the fish and when I flip it up onto the bank I am ecstatic! I knew that I had beaten my previous personal best which was 3 lb 0 oz. We weigh the fish and she comes in at 3 lb 11 oz! New Personal Best! I had my buddy snap a few pics and sent her on her way. Her tail was a bit red and she had a nice chunky belly but it wasn't super huge and full. I'm not sure if she was getting ready to spawn or had already spawned out.
I switched back to a drop shot and start fan casting the area that I was. I get a solid hit and set the hook and ripped it out of the fish's mouth. I guess that's what I get for using a 6" worm on a drop shot. I downsized to a 4.5" worm and cast to the exact same area where I just missed the fish. The very first cast and I get a bite and set the hook! This time I pulled in a smallie that was just about the same size as my buddy's 1-4 so I decided not to bother weighing it and let it go.
I then decided to switch it up and tied on a football head jig with a craw trailer. I cast it out there nice and far and begin hopping it back along the bottom. About the 3rd cast in, I realize I have been twitching my rod and haven't felt bottom contact in a while. So I open my bail, let it hit bottom, and continue my retrieve. A few hops later and I get a solid hit! Again I lower my rod tip, reel down the slack, and I set the hook hard! Another awesome and satisfying hook set! This fish immediately feels heavy and is pulling hard! I shout to my friend that I got a good one and as he asks if it's big, she jumps out of the water and makes a huge splash! She is shaking her head and trashing like she had lost her mind! I flip her up on shore and am immediately surprised when I see the gut on this fish. She was most definitely a pregnant female that was ready to burst! She weighed in at 2 lb 11 oz. She was much shorter than my 3-11 but her belly was more than twice as fat! I had my buddy snap a couple pictures and let her go.
To sum up the rest of the day briefly and to try to avoid writing a novel, my buddy caught a couple more on crankbaits including a nice 1 2 lb even smallie! We both had several missed hook ups and lots of baits stolen. But overall it was a great day of fishing for smallies!
Fished from about 2pm - 9pm. All fish were CPR'd :)
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