I had a great few hours on the river today. The water is still a little high for my liking so I found a small “protected” area of the river that had very little current. I launched and returned to the same spot (single access trip). My fishing “area” was very small so I made it a point to fish slowly and deliberately making the most of the water I could access. The approach paid off with five chunky smallmouth bass ranging from 15 to 18 inches.
The river was down considerably from flood stage just several days before. The levels were still falling as I fished. Visibility was very low at about 1 – 1.5 feet. Water temperatures appear to be under 50 degrees today although this is a guess because I did not have my thermometer with me.
Today the sky was clear and the sun intense. Air temperatures were in the 50′s but the wind cooled things a bit. There were long periods of no wind but closer to the evening the wind started kicking up more frequently and was gusting at about 15 m.p.h. This presented some challenges in terms of keeping the kayak positioned.
There was a very strong pattern in terms of where fish were located. All my fish were caught well inside the slack water off current breaks/eddys. The fish were positioned in the center of the eddys/pools as apposed to the bottom or the top.
The last time I was on the river the smallmouth had on the feed bag and would take a bait when left at rest only a few seconds. Today it was back to the slow grind I know so well from winter fishing. Slow drag feeling the bottom….let it sit. The fish telegraphed their hits with a single “tap” followed of course by my hook set!
I cycled through a number of baits today. Spinnerbaits and suspending jerkbaits were ignored. The five fish I caught came on several different soft baits. The Chillee Willee took the honors of enticing the biggest fish. I rigged the CW on a 1/8 oz football head jig.
The Winco’s Cold Water Smallie Delight drew most of the strikes and fish. The CWSD was fished on a 1/8 oz. flutter head. I went to this bait for a couple of reasons. First, it seemed that the fish were willing to hit a bigger bait. I had caught one fish on a 3.25 inch Predator Craw. I then had several taps on the Predator Craw but came up empty on the hook set. The CWSD offers a longer profile than the Chillee Willee but without the bulk of the Predator Craw. The fish definitely preferred this profile today. Second, I was getting hung up like crazy with the 1/8 oz football jig head today. There was a lot of random wood on the bottom. The CWSD rigged on the Flutter Head allowed me to “slide” the bait across the bottom without catching what some refer to as “stickeral”..you know…a stick!
Overall, not a bad day on the water…come on spring!!..get here soon!