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Early Spring Fishing


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19 replies to this topic

#1 BigTerp

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Posted February 09 2014 - 11:42 AM

This will be my first year seriously chasing smallmouth. I've done plenty of largemouth fishing but recently finished modifying my 16' jon boat for waterfowl hunting and fishing the upper Potomac river here in Maryland. Waterfowl season is about to wrap up and I'm getting anxious to do some fishing. What tips, strategy's, lures, etc. can you guys share with me in regards to pre-spawn and spawn fishing for smallmouth?

To give you all an idea of the conditions I fish, I have river access to the Potomac river in my subdivision. This part of the river is right below a dam and runs rather shallow for the most part and is rather narrow at about 75-100 yards wide. There is a small area down river that gets pretty slack and runs deeper. This part of the river is mostly rocky with some mud bottom areas. I also have access above the dam. This area is anywhere from 20-30ft. deep with a mostly muddy (I think) bottom. It stays this ways for a few miles up river where it turns shallow and rocky.

Looking for ideas on where I should start to look for fish during pre spawn and spawn. And once I find some how I should attack.

Thanks for any help!!!

#2 A-Jay

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Posted February 09 2014 - 12:32 PM

Work a Jerk Bait ~ Slow.

 

Long pauses between bait movements.

 

When you think you're going slow - Go Slower.

 

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#3 Scott F

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Posted February 09 2014 - 01:27 PM

All depends on the water temperature. Where I fish, I don't even bother until the water hits 50 degrees. For me, that's the magic number. Fish can be caught in colder water but it's a lot tougher. At that point they start moving toward their spawning areas. You can catch them on almost anything, but jerkbaits, for me, will out fish anything else by a wide margin. Contrary to what most guys do, I'll also fish lipless crank baits with a fast retrieve. When the water is over 50 they will chase a fast moving bait. You can cover a lot of water to locate fish. Early in the year when the water is still in the lower 50's, I find them schooled up. Catch 1 and don't leave, there are probably a lot more close by.

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#4 ww2farmer

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Posted February 09 2014 - 06:59 PM

I have caught them the day the ice has left the lake  drop shotting deep grass lines......if they are not biting like this for me..............I go perch or crappie fishing LOL.


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#5 BigTerp

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Posted February 10 2014 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for the info guys!!

 

When I think of a jerkbait, I'm thinking an unweighted white fluke? I've never fished any type of jerkbait, but an unweighted 4" or so fluke seems pretty straightforward to work.

 

Where in the area I fish should I start looking for bass early on? Deeper water? Shallow water? Cover? I'm thinking deeper water that's close to shallow rocky water with cover would be a good place to start.

 

Thanks again for the help!!



#6 Scott F

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Posted February 10 2014 - 09:13 AM

When I'm talking about jerkbaits, I'm using suspending hard baits especially Lucky Craft Pointers or Rapala X-Raps. Where to look for them again depends on water temp. If you are fishing water colder than 50, I can't help because I wait until the surface temps hit 50. Then I'd try shallow flats near the deeper pools if you are river fishing.


If I ever had to run for my life……I would probably die.


#7 BigTerp

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Posted February 10 2014 - 01:38 PM

Ah, that makes sense. What size jerkbaits do you guys reccommend? Any colors you all have good success with?



#8 Scott F

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Posted February 10 2014 - 03:50 PM

For pre-spawn smallies I found smaller sizes work better for me. Lucky Craft size 65 &78 and #8 X Raps. Early in the year, the forage is small and smaller baits got me more fish. Color doesn't seem to matter, except sometimes it does. When it doesn't matter, everything caught em. When it did matter, only LC Pointer 65's in Chartreuse shad worked. Good luck finding those in your local tackle shop. Oh, and clown color X-Raps too. On your waters, a different color or size might work better. You'll have to fish it and find out.


If I ever had to run for my life……I would probably die.


#9 papajoe222

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Posted February 11 2014 - 11:26 PM

Smallies will hold around current breaks in faster moving water, but rarely in colder water. I'd target areas of very little to no current that are close to faster water, not fast  moving, just faster than the slack water areas. An extended 'seam' or the slack area  ahead or behind a major obsticle or eddy.  Deep water access is a plus factor, so that area downstream of the dam where the water goes slack is ideal early and later in the year.


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#10 jkroosz

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Posted February 13 2014 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for the info guys!!

 

When I think of a jerkbait, I'm thinking an unweighted white fluke? I've never fished any type of jerkbait, but an unweighted 4" or so fluke seems pretty straightforward to work.

 

Where in the area I fish should I start looking for bass early on? Deeper water? Shallow water? Cover? I'm thinking deeper water that's close to shallow rocky water with cover would be a good place to start.

 

Thanks again for the help!!

An unweighted fluke will slow your presentation enough to be effective in water less than 50 degrees.



#11 CJV

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Posted February 14 2014 - 12:56 AM

Lucky Craft pointer minnow 78SP model would be perfect just experiment with color.

#12 BigTerp

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Posted February 14 2014 - 10:14 AM

Thanks again for the replies. I'll give a few of these lures a shot.



#13 Brick

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Posted February 24 2014 - 09:40 PM

Hey bud.  I fish the potomac regularly for smallmouth from a kayak.  Where on the river are you?  I might be able to give you some tips.  My favorite lure for smallies would either be a 3-4 inch tube in a green, brown, or whitish grey color.  You can drag em or swim them back with a constant twitching of the rod.  I rig them texas style with a tube weight.  I find without an external weight, they get snagged less.  My second favorite would be a top water walk the dog style bait with a white or yellow belly.  Don't be scared to use the same size ones you use for largemouths. A very close third would be a chatterbait with a a grub trailer.  White works well in clear water, and chartreuse for stained water.  If you are going for pure numbers, not necessarily size, a good old rooster tail will do the trick.  Same colors as the chatterbait.  



#14 BigTerp

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Posted February 25 2014 - 12:37 PM

Thanks again!!

 

Brick - I have river access in my subdivision just below dam #5. Also have private access above dam #5 between Four Locks and McCoys Ferry.



#15 Brick

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Posted February 25 2014 - 04:00 PM

Never fished that area before. If you have any luck, I might have to give it a try this year.  I've fished mainly from harpers ferry to down below great falls.  I also get the yak to the bigger part of the potomac near occoquan bay/pohick bay.  I also fished the south branch of the potomac last year in West Virginia, but I hit an area known more for trout than smallmouth.  I did catch quite a few smallmouth though.  If you know what the river looks like in that area, I could probably help you more.  Some areas of the potomac have grass across almost the entire river.  Other areas have big boulders, and sporadic grass.  When the water gets warmer, right under the d**n may be a good spot to hit. 






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