The past two winters, I have been doing my best to beat Cabin Fever by casting to open water smallmouth on the Mississippi River. Don’t get me wrong, its a great time and beats the heck out of ice fishing or sitting at home watching “World’s Greatest Fishing Show” (No offense Z); but there are times when I want to fish for big green bass, with big lures and big sticks. The river smallies are all about 8lbs test and 1/8oz tube jigs with spinning gear. There is a part of me that is only satisfied with 1/2oz jigs, 7′ Heavy Baitcasting gear and thunderous bone jarring hooksets, you know what I mean????
So this past Saturday morning I headed up to northern Minnesota to meet my buddy Bill to fish a warm water discharge that is know to have opportunity for both numbers & quality largemouth even in the dead of winter. I got a late start from home, so it was nearly 1pm before we wet a line and the area was crawling with anglers fishing for bass, panfish and whatever was biting. Bill did catch a nice chunky largemouth on his first cast, but over all the bites were far and few between. I broke off on two jig bites due to old line, I told myself to respool before the trip, but I did not
Shot a picture of this little guy, at the time, was not sure if I was going to catch any more…
About 4pm, most anglers had really cleared out, except for Bill and on other guy. I told Bill, that if I drive 4 hours, we would fish still we freeze or cannot see, it was the latter. With the reduced pressure and light penetration, the bite seemed to slowly pick up. It was still a tough bite, as I had to keep using the brush hog and Bill used a small finesse jig. Also, I had to basically dead stick the bait and shake vigorously on the slack line to get my force bead to click against my sinker. One thing was, the water was very clear and with my JKruz sunglasses, I often could see bass cruising through some sand spots along the first break. So on many of the fish, I would pitch my bait into the sand spot and shake it. The shaking would quickly attract sunfish, once the sunfish started pecking, bass would often come check to see what was up…… And often after 30-60 seconds of shaking, a bass would pick up my bait, I would have not caught half the bass I did that evening with out quality polarized sunglasses.
This was my big fish of the day, right around 3lbs
We did manage right around 30 fish in that last two hours, with the biggest right around 3lbs. As we walked back to the vehicle, I convinced Bill we would wake up by 6am and be there at first light to give it another try. Seeing the bass we did not catch and the length of travel drove me to give it another shot on the morning of the Super Bowl Sunday. Check back soon to read the rest of the story….