The water was clear, the sun was high, water temperature was rising and the mudline was in the middle of the river. Little did I know this would be one of the most epic reasons to get out of Easter Dinner in my life! We started out by running into a creek and caught a few on the Jackall Squad Minnow in Ghost Minnow and Super Shad. We also caught a few on Strike King KVD Jerkbait in Green Gizzard Shad. As we fished our way out of the creek we ran to some islands in the middle of the dirty water part of the river.
In the dirty water, we relied on covering a lot of water for the bites that we got. When we got a bite however, it was a GIANT smallmouth. We used several baits like the Z-Man Jackhammer chatterbait in Black/Blue with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper Penetration swim bait trailer. We also used a War Eagle Golden Shiner Spinnerbait (1/2 oz non screaming eagle version due to bigger blades) and a Chartreuse and White double colorado bladed Hawg Caller Spinnerbait. We then decided to go back to the clean water and found a mega school of smallmouth loaded up on a steep drop rock bank.
We started off by fishing that steep drop bank with the jerk baits, and proceeded to catch them on swim baits, spinnerbaits, and dirty dark green pumpkin Cabin Creek tubes. The fish were just crushing the tube. One particular technique that I used to catch some bigger fish was slow rolling a Keiteich swing impact fat 4.3 and 4.8 size swim bait in pro blue and bluegill on a Strike King squadron 1/8 oz jighead. In order to do this technique you had to fish the drop-off at a 45 degree angle to maximize your bait in the strike zone. Remember to not be afraid to try bigger baits, because big fish will eat bigger baits. At the end of today, both boats caught well over 200 fish and it was an epic Easter fishing day that will never be forgotten.
This past weekend we traveled to the mighty Potomac River for a quick weekend getaway. Due to the cold weather and work schedules, we arrived there Saturday around 3:00PM. Upon launching the boat, we noticed the water was very dirty, and approximately 54 degrees with the wind blowing right into the launch and the tide going out. We immediately ran across to a calm water pocket near some hard cover and began to throw a black and blue Z-Man Chatterbait with a black and blue Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper swimbait on the back. The reason that I ran over there, was because the wind had not been blowing the cold water from the main river into this area, and the sun had been beating on this water all day. The water temperature was 60 degrees in this area. Within the first 20 minutes we boated our first keeper. The fish had moved up shallow due to the warm water and actually had baitfish trapped in less than one foot of water.
After making two passes down the bank, I decided to go crank baiting some rock banks on the same side of the river where the warmer water was. I went here because historically after a cold front, the hard cover banks hold more fish that are more likely to bite where as often times, grass fishing after a cold front can be very difficult. Within the first 5 casts, I caught a fish on a Jackall Aska in the color Purple Chartreuse. This has always been a tidal water go to for me, because of the wide wobble and its unique ability to catch fish in dirty water. This bait has a circuit board lip which is incredibly durable and does not break. A lot of people throw the Luckycraft 1.5 square bill but I like the Jackall Aska because not as many people throw it. We then pulled out into some deeper water along the rock bank and caught a few on a Norman Deep Little N. I had to go to this crank bait due to the deeper water and the fish being further down in the water column.
Sunday Morning we were all excited to go fishing. We knew this was going to be a great day with the temperature forecasted to get into the 70's and sunny skies. We started off fishing a rock bank in the early morning on the Virginia side of the river. Water Temperatures were around 53 degrees and we caught 4 fish pretty quickly on a Spro Aruku Rattle Trap in Mudbug Red and Red Crawfish. We also caught one on a Jackall Aska. The way that we had to fish the rattle trap was making a long cast, paralleling the bank at a 45 degree angle and slowly retrieving the bait back to the boat. As soon as the sun came up and warmed up we started running around.
As the tides shifted and the water warmed up, a mudline became very clear. What became even clearer was that there was a very lengthy clean water line on the Maryland side of the main river. As we started fishing up the river, we noticed beautiful green grass beds. We caught many fish out of these grass beds. The reason that I went to the grass beds was because the grass had been filtering out the dirty water and the sun was beating on this bank so it was very warm. By the end of the day, we were pulling 62 degree water temperatures in these pockets. I caught several fish on a Mizmo black and blue tube on the transition line at high tide. VERY IMPORTANT- I HAD A RATTLE IN THE TUBE. I also had to let the tube set on the bottom for up to 15 seconds without moving it to get bites. I was using a 1/4 oz Eco Pro Tungsten bullet weight with a 4/0 Trokar Tube Hook on 15 lb fluorocarbon on a 7'1'' G Loomis 854GLX casting rod with a 7:6:1: Shimano Chronarch reel. I also caught some fish sight fishing with a Green Pumpkin NetBait Baby Paca Craw on a 5/16 oz Eco Pro Tungsten bullet weight with a Gamakatsu 4/0 Superline hook. For the Baby Paca Craw, I elected to go with 20 lb Seaguar Invisx fluorocarbon, because we were around some giant largemouth bass. And a 4 inch green pumpkin senko: the senko I fished wacky rigged with 8 lb fluorocarbon. Ironically, these fish were up super shallow, and having a Jetboat was a huge advantage due to them being on the inside edge of the grass.
When the tide came ripping back in, this messed up the sight fishing pattern. By now the wind had picked up to 5-10 mph out of the south, so i went right to the hard cover banks and continued to cover water. We ended up catching 10-15 fish while running hard cover banks by throwing a Z-Man original chatter-bait with a gold blade in chartreuse and white color. The key adjustment that I made was I threw a Zoom Pearl White Superfluke on the back. This was a much more subtle approach on my chatterbait and the fish preferred this over the swimbait. When fishing the original chatterbait, make sure you superglue your trailer to the hook to maximize fishing efficiency. The chatterbait gear I used was the 7'2 Medium Shimano Zodias with a Shimano Citica 6:2:1 reel with 15lb Seguar Invisx. With the sun beating down and it being super warm, I cannot say enough about the Aftco Ninja sun protection, as it was vital to the success of blocking those harmful UV rays. This Easter weekend, I will be back on the Susquehanna River for two days. Stay tuned for more tackle techniques, fishing reports, and updates next week. ALSO FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT TO US IF THERE IS A SPECIFIC TECHNIQUE/QUESTION THAT YOU WANT US TO BLOG ABOUT; WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Throwing big swimbaits is taking the world by storm right now. What started out as a sort of quiet movement is gaining more momentum every day. Unlike a crankbait, it’s not as simple as picking up a rod, casting out, and getting a bite. There are many things you need to know about big bait fishing. If you’re not doing it properly, you could miss out on the biggest bass of your life.
Confidence in Your Swimbait
So why is now the best time to learn swimbaits? Simple, the fish are shallow and are aggressive. The biggest hurdle you’re going to overcome with throwing a big bait is gaining confidence in it. You have to understand that it’s no different than hunting a big buck or going after any other trophy for that matter. You need to prepare yourself for long days that often result in no fish at all. You’re going to throw thousands of casts for one, magical fish. If you’re not disciplined, you may very easily give up after just a few hours.
Prespawn fish help make this easier. By being aggressive and shallow, your odds increase dramatically. The more fish you catch by doing something different, the more you learn the subtle nuances that trigger those big fish to bite. Time of day, moon phase, cloud cover, even a train passing by can have an influence on the amount of bites you have. Learning these subtleties and recognizing their importance reveals just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using swimbaits properly.
Time of Year
The fact is many people haven’t fished much over the winter. That means your mind and your body is fresh. You haven’t gotten into any routines yet and you’re not focused on any particular presentation or bait. The best time to learn swimbaits is while your mind is clear.
You also can’t give yourself an out. When you go to the lake, you take only your big baits. If you bring a backup, you’re already preparing your mind for failure. You go into the day telling yourself that you’re going to make a limited effort to learn swimbaits, then you can switch over to what you know will produce numbers for you. Here’s some advice on that: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get exactly what you’ve always gotten. Period.
You’re targeting a fish that is easily over 10 years old. They’ve seen every lure, heard boats, and eaten senkos. They didn’t get that big by being dumb and eating every squarebill they saw. You want to trick these fish, you need to commit to doing it. It’s an earned right. If catching 10 pound bass were easy it wouldn’t be such an accomplishment.
Bass Don’t Discriminate
If you learn swimbaits, you’ll quickly find that they’re just as effective with spotted bass and smallmouth bass as they are with largemouth. All four of those giant smallies were swimbait fish. Don’t think that smallmouth won’t attack a big bait. They absolutely will. The Megabass Magslowl is a great example of a large bait that smallmouth will destroy if presented properly.
You’ll still have days, even weeks where you blank. You have to be able to commit and stay the course. There are great bait selections at Susquehanna Fishing Tackle and the guys there can point you to the right fishing tackle and swimbaits to get you started. You will probably start with a smaller swimbait, but look forward to practicing and graduating to the bigger baits shortly. Once you get over the mental block that you have with throwing a big swimbait, you can easily catch multiple fish a day. Starting out with a seven or eight inch bait and moving up after you’ve caught some fish is also a smart move. Jumping in head first with a $400 bait that you lose on the third cast is never a good time. Start small, this is worth the investment of time and money if you do it properly. You won’t be disappointed with the results.
I spent 21 hours on the water this past weekend and the bite was on. The beauty about Spring is that you can never cover enough enough water. Many fish were caught in pockets along the bank on Cabin Creek Salty Critter Tubes (green pumpkin) dyed with a chartreuse spike it tail. The presentation was key because instead of dragging the tube you had to let it sit on the bottom. We caught a crayfish on the tube and matched the hatch accordingly.
One other bite that was phenomenal this past weekend was the Jerkbait bite. Many fish were caught on the Jackall Squad Minnow 95, Lucky Craft Pointer 100, Megabass Vision 110, and Rapala X-Rap 10. As far as colors go, in the clear water we relied on the ghost minnow colors. When we were in the dirty water, we relied on Hot Steel X-RAP, Chartreuse Shad Squad Minnow, and Pearl Ayu Pointer 100.
The other technique that we caught fish on this weekend was the swim bait. The swim bait that we threw was a Keiteich Swing Impact 3.5 in Sungill. While fishing this bait, I was able to debut the new G Loomis GLX 803 spinning rod and I have nothing but great things to say about that rod. Not just sensitivity, but that rod may be the most comfortable fishing rod that I have ever held in my hand. I fished with it all day and have nothing but great things to say.
The final thing that I wanted to touch on in this blog was the ANGLR TRACKER. THIS THING IS AMAZING. Not only did it store my whole trip, but it let me know how many casts I made, waypoint every fish I caught, and logged all of the conditions while I was fishing. I want to do a live video on this in the near future, because I have only began to scratch the surface as to how awesome this tool will be. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR COANGLERS.