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Top 5 Brown Bass of 2023


A-Jay

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 The Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) aka Brown Bass, is a fascinating and highly sought-after game fish, renowned for its spirited fight and captivating beauty. Found predominantly in North America, this remarkable species thrives in a variety of aquatic environments, including clear, rocky streams, and deeper, cool waters of lakes and reservoirs.  As a prized catch among anglers, the Smallmouth Bass has captivated the hearts of many, inspiring a fervent passion for sport fishing and a deep appreciation for the richness of freshwater ecosystems.

 

I did a similar thread last season,

https://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/topic/252116-top-5-brown-bass-of-2022/

 

And even though this year is technically not 'over',

my personal hunt for these beauties most certainly is. 

Got 2 inches of snow on the ground this morning with plenty more on the way. 

 

So the final stats for 2023 were, fish at 5.66lbs, 5.68lbs, 5.84 lbs 5.98 lbs, and big fish of the year was 6.06 lbs

For a top 5 weight of 29.22 lbs.  Includes a 5.84 lb average and is 6.7 oz lighter than last years best 5 smallies. 

Interestingly, all these brutes were caught between the 3rd week in Apr and the 1st week in May. 

And ALL on jerkbaits. (more on that in the up coming 'Most Productive Baits' thread. 

 

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And while I was most fortunate to tangle with and land several very respectable smallies though Aug, Sept & early Oct, none of them had the tonnage needed to displace any fish on the list above. 

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And so there it is.

Another one in the books.

Looking forward to next season as I've been scouting hard some new to me versions of Lake Menderchuck.

Early next season will prove if my efforts & instincts pay off or not.

 

Finally, it's a long winter, so please add any & all of the your own brown bass pictures here.

The addiction is real.

 

Fish Hard

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

 

 

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Prespawn smallmouth on a jerkbait.  Imagine that.

 

I had the best smallmouth fishing I've had in 3 years this past season, and 2 of those outings occurred during a similar prespawn bite that you seemingly quite often encounter as well.

 

Ironically, several of my better fish were also on a jerkbait in colder water(is anyone noticing a pattern here yet?).

 

@A-Jay your passion, experience, and photos are not only an inspiration to the rest of us but I also find them to very informative when applying it to my own attempts at targeting these fish on big water.  The conditions on big, open bodies of water are a challenge to say the least.

 

I don't normally weigh all mine.  I mostly measure my fish, but I usually weigh a big one to get an idea of what they are coming in at.  My best guess for my top 5 smallmouth this season would be approximately 25 pounds based on weighing at least one each time, and then multiplying it by 5.  Mine were all in the 19-20.5 inch range, and 4 of the top 5 were on a jerkbait.

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Smallmouth season is about to begin here in the next few weeks so hopefully I can keep culling. I don’t keep very good count but I’ve caught 3 21” this fall I believe and maybe a couple earlier in the year. I would imagine I have a 5 SMB lineup of 21” but they probably weighed in around 18-20 lbs. Our SMB are rarely fat so I’m just guessing a 21” is 3.5-4 lbs average 

 

water temps are still 62, when it gets below 55 the SMB really start eating fish hooks 

 

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8 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

when it gets below 55 the SMB really start eating fish hooks 

 

I had my best smallmouth fishing this season when the water temps were right around 55 degrees.  Both spring and fall.

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My best five for 2023 occurred over three days on Erie missing two days to high wind & waves. I had a 6-4, 6-0 & three others over 5lbs. I don't recall what the ounces were on the three over 5 because I only keep track of the ones over 6lbs as a rule. So the total would be around 28-29lbs for the best 5 but still less than @A-Jay's 29.22. My total last year was heavier because it included my PB. 

 

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18 minutes ago, gimruis said:

 

I had my best smallmouth fishing this season when the water temps were right around 55 degrees.  Both spring and fall.

Can’t wait! 

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@gimruis

First off - those are some very stout brown bass !

So Congrats right there.

#jerkbaitsrule

Also, Thank You very much for the kind words.

It really does mean a lot, especially today (it's been a tough one).

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

@Dwight Hottle

What a bag of GIANTS !

They were impressive 10 years ago and they still are today.

Also although we may not admit it often,

in advance of the fish hitting the scales,

I'm pretty sure we can both 'guesstimate'

to within a few ounces, one way or the other,

what that 'type' of brown bass will weight.

And while I do appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt,

 - I don't feel like I'm going out on a limb when I say that your 5 dwarf mine.

And it's not even close. 

You're still setting the bar

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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I didn’t get much fishing in this year. Last year the week of thanksgiving input a great bag together and I hope to do this tomorrow. The river is going up with big rain today so it will be tough.  I’d have to say my biggest was around 4lb this year so far with quite a few 2-3lb. So again nothing great.  Just enjoying the time I do get out.

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My biggest river smallie was prespawn but I didnt land anything above 4# just a bunch of high 3#.

 

I fished much less this year but my average size was up from last year so that's a positive.

And landed a PB on a flyrod.

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Awesome fish by everyone! Thanks for sharing!

I typically don't photo document my smallies unless I catch a PB (lengthwise), still trying to catch that 23" and up. My experience has been the same as AJay in that all my 21"s and 22"s have been landed in the April/May coldwater season on St Clair or the Detroit River. I wish I could get out in the Fall coldwater season more but my work schedule usually doesn't allow me time off like in the Spring.

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My best 5 this year would weigh in at about 19#. Anchored by a 5.67. I didn't spend much time chasing them this year. I'll have to remedy that in 24.

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New member long time reader.Im amazed by the weights some of yall gentlemen catch.I fish creeks and some small rivers so I don't catch as big of weights but I have some fun trying. Best 5 this year 4.25,4.26,4.48,4.56,4.75 Total 22.3

Screenshot_20231127-195019_Gallery_1_450.jpg.8bb3743a82f5863dddb4f3a1c4dcaa9d.jpg

 

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Sorry for the quality of pics.I struggled downsizing them.Im still searching for my biggest of the year.Some of my biggest catches have been around Christmas if your crazy enough to paddle upstream in a creek that time of year.Managed a 3.75 over the weekend.

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Just waiting on the big ones to show up.

Fingers crossed.

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I'm durn near embarrassed to participate in this thread. I have been limited by my stroke for the last year but did get out a few times.

 

I almost sunk my boat on this lake in 1985 and swore I would never go back. A couple of folks pushed and prodded and I started to fish there again in 2022.

 

Anyway, this is my pb Smallmouth and hopefully by Spring my balance issues will be resolved and I can go more often and chase these Brown fish daily. 

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I don't have precise weights, but here are my best 5 smallies of 2023. I'd be happy if this were it for the year, but I'm hopeful that I'll get more chances before the year is done.

 

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I went back to my winter creek spot today.Blue sky.I knew the bite would be slow but wanted to see if any of the bigger smallmouth had showed up yet.

Managed a 5.32 on a jig.Biggest fish of the year for me.

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Hopefully can find a few more before the end of the year.

Best 5 total 23.37

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15 hours ago, Creek Pirate said:

I went back to my winter creek spot today.Blue sky.I knew the bite would be slow but wanted to see if any of the bigger smallmouth had showed up yet.

Managed a 5.32 on a jig.Biggest fish of the year for me.

Definitely a mammoth sized smallmouth for a small river/creek dweller.

 

Might want to consider wearing a PFD in a kayak though.  Just a suggestion.

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I catch smallmouth, but not big ones. I don't measure them or weigh them, but I love catching them, so I don't know what my five biggest are and they're pretty much all the same size anyway. Here are the first five I found in my attachments. If Dwight's fish see my measly fish, his brutes will get hungry: 

 

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On 11/28/2023 at 11:18 AM, whitwolf said:

I'm durn near embarrassed to participate in this thread. I have been limited by my stroke for the last year but did get out a few times.

 

Since you're fishing following a stroke and have balance challenges, you have NOTHING to be embarrassed about. You're the toughest angler in this thread. 

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The smalljaw game is so much more to me than just fishing.  It’s the annual trip from Virginia to St Clair that we’ve made for the last 20 years, the friends, the fishing and the fish.  We go in May.  Next May we get to introduce a couple of our Virginia friends to the Smallie Magic of St Clair due to one of our regulars dropping out.  I can’t wait to experience their gobsmacked experience once we put them on their first 4lb+ smallmouth.  Here’s some of my best from this May. 

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On 11/21/2023 at 12:38 PM, A-Jay said:

 

Interestingly, all these brutes were caught between the 3rd week in Apr and the 1st week in May. 

And ALL on jerkbaits. (more on that in the up coming 'Most Productive Baits' thread. 

 

 

 

And all in different conditions- sunny/grey, windy/flat, crack of morning/midday (guessing those from the pictures).  All plenty cold though...

 

I had to go back through my pictures and memory bank for this year.  I didn't get to fish the early season for smallies the way I have in past years.  My top 5 smallmouth are actually only 4 bass and the biggest is less than the rounding error on @Dwight Hottle's total for the year (about a 14" pound and a halfer).  As such, I'm not even going to take up the board bandwidth for a picture.

 

I'm considering doing something crazy and dedicating an entire year to smallies next year (with limited exceptions).  I'm going to have to sleep on that a couple times because it will limit where I go a good bit and will definitely put me out of my depth a lot of the year.  Bait monkey will love me.

 

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1 hour ago, casts_by_fly said:

I'm considering doing something crazy and dedicating an entire year to smallies next year (with limited exceptions).  I'm going to have to sleep on that a couple times because it will limit where I go a good bit and will definitely put me out of my depth a lot of the year.  Bait monkey will love me.

 

Sounds like fun to me. 

And if you want the plus size models,

I'd recommend being on the water as much as possible

as soon as water temps tickle 40 degrees in the spring.

And put more time in again 'before' what is traditionally thought of as

'the fall' bite.  Like 2 or 3 weeks before so more like late summer.

Think first light and look shallow.

Good Luck.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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53 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Sounds like fun to me. 

And if you want the plus size models,

I'd recommend being on the water as much as possible

as soon as water temps tickle 40 degrees in the spring.

And put more time in again 'before' what is traditionally thought of as

'the fall' bite.  Like 2 or 3 weeks before so more like late summer.

Think first light and look shallow.

Good Luck.

:smiley:

A-Jay


 

I don’t mind early. 
 

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The tricky bit for smallies only is that only 3 of my local lakes have them.  One is the biggest lake in the state which I swore off fishing due to pleasure boats. One grasses over come late April and is a big shallow bowl more suited to largemouth. It would force me into some new waters for sure. Delaware river here I come. 

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I believe Fish Chris 8.5 lb Smallmouth from Pardee is the BR site record. California record Smallmouth was caught in 1991 at Pardee 9.82 lbs. lake Havasu has produced some heavy 5 Smallmouth bass limits during tournament the past 5 years but nothing over individual 6 lbs.

I am lucky to catch 5 Smallmouth bass in year!

Tom

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