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Preston

timely advise needed

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Alright, my situation is clear lake probably 70% smallmouth 30% largemouth. The lake is in Tennessee where we have had a freak show winter. It snowed one day and the next day it was 60. A cold front moved in 2 days before we start fishing and lets say it stays for the fishing. O yea and the lake does not have that much vegetation if any. And there aren't many flats. Any advise would be great cause im a little inexperienced when it comes to winter fishing. All i know is im gonna be wearing 2 jackets.

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Smallmouth relate to structure, not cover. Look for steeply sloped, rocky points on the main channel. If you are fishing artificials try a hair jig with trailer and/ or a 3 1/2" Gitzit. Fish across the point, beginning in 10-15' of water and work your way out to deeper water. When you find the right depth, all the smallmouth in the lake will probably be at that particular depth.

Second, search for isolated humps or rock piles and fish them thoroughly, from all sides. This structure can be in the middle of the lake or cove, it does not need to be even remotely related to shoreline.

Third, creek beds where the old creek emptied in to the bigger creek or main river before the lake was built. This might be out in what appears to be the middle of the main lake or lake arm, but trust me, smallmouth relate to this transition.

Fourth, steep rock walls, especially those that are "stepped".

It's too early to fish flats or gravel bars and anywhere you find a mud bottom, move on. These areas are a waste of time. If you focus on smallmouth, you will still catch some largemouth and spots, but it doesn't usually work the other way around.

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I'm not to familiar with smallies seasonal patterns but I'm gonna have to say...DROP-SHOT ;)...Try small worms and tiny flukes in shad colors on offshore structure, rock piles, humps, ledges, etc. Also a small finesse or hair jig in a natural crawfish color bounced and crawled along drop-offs and clay-banks.

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I was in a situation like that a while ago and I had my best luck with tubes and drop-shots.  We caught a few fish on wacky rigged senkos too.  We were fishing mid-lake humps with really steep sides.

tube colours- chartreuse and watermelon, with an inserted tube head

drop shot- I forget what brand of baits I used for this, but they were small, shad-bodied things and they were grey :D

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Guest avid

Before I moved to Florida I use to smallie fishing alot.  whenever I went to unfamiliar water I would tie a dark (usually purple or brown) curly tail grub on a round jig head.  I would then look for rocky banks with steep inclines.  I would cast the jig close the shoreline and bounce the jig down the rocky slope.  Yes, I would lose alot doing this.  That's why I didn't use expensive lures, but a couple bags of twister tails and couple dozen 1/16th, 1/8th, and 1/ jig heads won't set you back much and they will find the smallies.  Once I had the depth and structure features worked out I would swith to fun lures. like crankbaits etc.

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