Friday, March 26, 2010
The very noticeable swirls with occasional skipping minnows we attributed to feeding crappie. But we remarked some of the swirls were rather large. Finally, we investigated the shallower flats. Bryan tied on one of Sebile's Soft Swimmers while I picked up my lipless rattle bait rod. An 18-incher that pounced on a 'Trap was quickly landed. But Bryan's next cast doubled his heavy action swimbait rod! With a 5.5 pound bass in the well for photos, Bryan nailed another near five pounder on the next cast. Testing of Bryan's jigs had to wait for another day as we made the switch to swimbaits in four feet of water...
Saturday, March 20, 2010
With the Allegheny River level dropping below 8 feet and a sunny day forecast for Friday before return of cold rain early next week, this was an opportunity to get my buddy Bryan Stuyvesant out for his first river smallmouth experience since he was a young lad. Bryan, an avid bass angler and veteran of such largemouth fisheries as Falcon in Texas and Clear Lake in California, had not been fishing since last July due to back surgery and a long recovery period. During recovery he turned to making lures -- Sonar-type baits, skirted jigs and an assortment of leadheads. I believe he has personally kept Do It Molds in the black during this economical downturn.
The Allegheny was the color of a coffee milkshake but at least it had dropped enough that we could ID places to fish. The river was running a temperature of 43 degrees. However boat control was hampered by a 15-20 mph wind blowing against the strong river current.
Within the first 30 minutes we each scored a chunky smallie by slow-rolling swim jigs with grub trailers along a cobble bottom shelf that dropped into 18 feet of water. For Bryan, it was his first Allegheny smallie in three decades...and taken on one of his homemade skirted jigs. That was an exciting moment for him!
In the next hour we boated two more smallies and missed three strikes on a different shelf. But as the sun dropped low in the sky, the bites dried up.
Next Going Fishin' trip? Well NW Pennsylvania lakes are now ice free so there are lots of options. It will be late next week, but I'm undecided where to go and for which species...largemouth, crappie, pike or steelhead.
Oh yes, one final note. I've had questions about the photo on the header of this blog, especially from my close fishing buddies wanting to know where in Northwest Pennsylvania it was shot. Well, it is the northwest - the Great Northwest. This is the Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge - perhaps the most scenic place I've ever fished for smallmouth. The smallie fishing was excellent during late April when I was there several years back, and the Columbia River certainly ranks as one of the better bronzeback fisheries in North America.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Our third jetboat trip on the Allegheny River in the past five days was the charm. My first river smallie of 2010 was a 19.5" 3-3/4 pound beauty taken on a small profile Venom Tube. It was followed by an 18-incher taken on a Jimmy D River Bug hair jig. Accompanied by Dale "Captain Dinger" Black and Dave "Hermit" Lehman, we tallied seven smallies from 17 to 19.5 inches from extremely clear, extremely low, extremely icy waters by shaking jigs on the bottom. Although ice still covers some eddies and creek mouths, warmer air temperatures and rain in the next few days should bring water temperatures into the low 40s, add some color and raise the river level - thereby triggering a stronger bite.