Going Fishin'

Going Fishin'
Red Sunset

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tide Has Turned

The exceptionally cold, wet spring in Western Pennsylvania continues with high, muddy water everywhere.  Most depressing for someone like me who has been looking forward to the warm, sunny days of spring all winter long.  Fortunately, I had opportunities to fish outside Pennsylvania in March and April - but even then those accursed spring cold fronts preceded my arrival.

I caught crappies on Lake Eufaula with Todd Huckabee while testing new Yum crappie baits.  And I caught my first smallmouth of 2011 on Tennessee's Center Hill with Jim Duckworth as he demonstrated a Bandit crankbait pattern.  And I spent a cold night in Arkansas with Mitch Looper chasing double digit pre-spawn largemouth.  But I really longed to return home for the early Erie smallmouth fishing.

Finally, after a couple false starts on Presque Isle Bay of Lake Erie, I had a most exciting day of fishing with my wife Marilyn on April 30.  It took us about 45 minutes to locate a mid bay hump with a group of smallmouth hanging at the inside break.  Marilyn scored first with a Hopkins jigging spoon.

After that first fish, however, it only took 15 minutes to catch a smallmouth on each of our 10 pre-rigged rods.  Our early season PIB challenge is not to use a bait that has caught a smallmouth until every pre-rigged bait has produced a fish; it keeps us from settling into using the same old lures all the time.  So, in addition to the jigging spoon, we quickly caught bass on a Galida Grub; Kalin Lunker Grub; Marabou Pro 2.0 Road Runner; Rollin' Runner with Baby Shad; Northland Bug-A-Boo Jig, Storm WildEye Swim Shad; Silver Lucky Blade Bait; Poor Boy's Tube; and a Mann's Sting Ray Grub!  All lures were slow-rolled or deadsticked on the bottom.

With the green light to fish anything, it was tubes and grubs that produced the majority of our fish.  We landed 20-some smallmouth (missing a good number of strikes) that include six bass in the 5 to 5.5 pound range.  But our best accomplishment was a pair of 20-inch 6-pound smallmouth (weighed on digital scales).  This was the first time in nearly 40 years of fishing together that Marilyn and I each caught a six-pound smallmouth on the same day!

We are now energized for the rest of the fishing season!