My #2 best Smallmouth lure
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Before I get into the next story about my #2 favorite Bass lure I’d
like to give you a report of my first three days Smallie fishing on the
Penobscot this spring.
The season started off very late due to the cold, ice and snow. I can
usually start catching fish around the second week of April. This year
it was the third week. The water temperature was 42.5 degrees when my
fishing buddy Dave and I arrived at the boat launch. Screeching wind
and cold air! This spot winters over all the bigger Bass in this
5 mile section of river. When the water reaches 39 degrees the
Bass turn on and bite like mad. All the fish are 15 inches or
better (10 between 18 and 19 ¾ inches!) Once the water gets up
around 50 degrees the fishing is still really good but the smaller ones
move in and the average size goes way down. Then it’s one or two trophy
fish in a day amongst a bunch or 12 to 15 inch fish.
On Saturday we caught 51 Smallies in about 5 hours of fishing. Sunday
we went back for 6 hrs. and caught 43. I skipped Monday and took a
client up Tuesday and in 6 hrs we caught 71 Bass! So in a little over
17 hrs. we caught 165 big fat healthy Smallmouth Bass! We usually get
around three weeks that this happens but this year it was two weeks.
Mother Nature has a way to catch things up even after a wild
winter! Most were caught on those tubes I told you about in the
previous story! I’m telling you folks...get some tubes and fish them
the way I showed you. It’s a GREAT technique!
Ok....my next favorite lure are those soft rubber baits that look like
fish. Sluggo’s have the biggest name but I prefer Zoom Bass
Assassins in a four or five inch size. (And yup you guessed it....get
whatever color suits yer fancy! the fish don’t care!) The book says you
have to use an enormous worm hook that you bury deep into the plastic
... seems to me you have a heck of a time getting a good hook set that
way. You have to drive that hook through the plastic and then into the
I have a better
Smallmouth Bass are pure predators right? Well a
bass doesn’t get to trophy size by being stupid. If a bass thought it
was ok to hit a bait from the rear then they would’nt live very long. A
bass hits a bait from the side, or more often right square on the head!
If they tried to eat a perch, sunfish or any other stickle back type
bait they would find the dorsal spines drove up into their throats
wouldn’t they? They would swim around for a while and then expire
from the wounds or from starvation wouldn’t they? So why make it
difficult by burying that hook? What I do is take a #4 hook (short
shank bait hook or similar is fine) and hook that bait right in the
head where the eyes would be, run it right through with the hook
exposed. Now you have a bait that when a bass hits he almost
always hooks himself! And the hook set is almost always right in
the corner of the mouth!
As for how to fish it it’s very simple and it’s the only bait I can
think of that you fish mostly on a slack line. But with the vicious
hits you’ll get they really do hook themselves. You throw it out
and let it sink...ever so slowly it heads for bottom.....You wait, wait
and then wait some more. After at least 15 seconds you give it a pop!
Then you wait and wait again.....( if you are fishing shallow water
keep it off the bottom...open hook remember?) You’ll find you’ll get a
big belly in the line and you’ll be wondering what that nutcase Capt’
Pete got you into. But all of a sudden...BANG! Fish On!
This technique has saved my bacon more times than I can
count......Those days when they are being fussy they just can’t resist
a wounded baitfish presentaion. The only thing that works better is
real live minnows! If you are fishing in deep water take about a 4 or 6
penny finish nail and slide it into the head to just past the eye area
to leave room for the hook. That will give it enough weight to
get it down there but won’t interfere with the action.
I want you to think in terms of a predator. All predators have some
things in common and the biggest one is that they always look for
something different .... something wounded .... something young and
exposed .... you see what I’m getting at? These bass are genetically
programmed to go after those things. What the bait is telling Mr. bass
is " I’m sick...I’m hurt...I hope nothing tries to eat me." Then you
give it a POP and that bait says "Nyaa, Nyaa...I’m ok...you can’t catch
me." Then you let it drop again and he’s wounded....Have you ever
watched a sick fish in an aquarium? That’s exactly how they act. So it
seems to me that if you imitate something weak, sick, wounded
etc....Then you’re going to have some fun aren’t ya? Even on days that
they really aren’t into feeding much will be good days for you.
They just can’t help it.
Try this technique the next time they’re being fussy, you’ll be
glad! Next month we’ll talk more about the predator, prey
relationship or as my good friend Captain Chuck Duggins once wrote "If
you want to be a better bass fisherman....GET A CAT!!"
Tight lines! - Capt’ Pete
Next Fishing Tip: Better
Bass Fishing - Lesson 4
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