Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cold Water Crappies - January 25th, 2015

With water temps being a balmy 36 degrees John, Brad and I crappie fished the Stone from around noon till 4pm or so. We had the lake to ourselves save a couple of other boats out cruising around mostly. The bites we got you really had to fish hard to earn, by panfish standards anyway. I ended up with 7 and John had 3 or so big crappies and Brad caught a bluegill. The water had some stain and that may have made the fish's strike zone a little smaller. The crappie we did catch were all chunks. My biggest was just a shade short of 15 inches. The air temp was almost 50 degrees with very little wind.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chasing WInter Smallies on the New - January 17th, 2015

John waiting on the signature thump bite.

Yamaha river jet running upriver.
John and I fished from 10am till 2pm on the New looking to hook up with a big New river smallmouth. We fished jigs and tubes and had only one bite each all day....we both missed. We had the deck stacked against from the start but still fun to take a swing, the water was falling, we had high skies, and a touch of wind later in the day to contend with. John had caught a 17 inch and a 19inch fish the day before in the same area so the fish were there, we just couldn't make the sell on getting them to eat soft plastic today. It was my first day on the water for 2015 and it was a nice day to go.
The trip got me to thinking about what the basic fundamentals are for trying to get winter river smallmouth bass to bite. It has been awhile since I have spent any significant amount of time targeting them. If I stop and think about it...these basic things would be something to hang on to when smallmouth fishing in the winter season.

1) Your going to get zeroed a is not spring or summer fishing. They don't eat all day everyday and some days they do not feed at all.
2) When you win, you win big. Many of the of the biggest smallies are caught this time of the year.
3) If your think your fishing too SLOW then slow down some more. It is total dead stick action that works most times.
4) Your are spending large amounts of time covering a very small well thought out area, which is the complete opposite of river fishing the rest of the year. The rest of the year you cover large amounts of water in a small amount of time looking for the most active fish.
5) Smaller baits work better for half hibernating tight lipped smallmouth bass. Even down to 2 inch baits you might think of as crappie or panfish baits.
6) Your target areas must have...
        A) Completely slack water but be very near moving water to provide food and oxygen.
        B) Be relatively deep compared to surrounding water or at have access to deeper water nearby.
        C) Have ledges or "rock garden" areas for them to hide in and ambush predators.
7) Once you find a good winter haunt you can catch big fish there winter after winter.
8) You have got to be patient your swinging for homeruns not singles in this type of fishing.
9) Sometimes really bad awful weather and high water will trigger a winter bite
10) No matter how high or swift the river gets the fish will move to an area with no current to fight. They do not have the energy or metabolism to live in current like they do the other 3 seasons.