Late April 2012 Smallmouth Bass Fishing On The Creek
The weather forecast was gloomy, but we decided to go anyway. We couldn't pass up a Saturday of floating and fishing. The four of us decided to go despite the threat of showers and thunderstorms. Hold on, before you consider us complete idiots let me say that we decided to do a shorter float trip which would allow us to get home in half an hour if we tried. The shorter trip still had plenty of good fishing spots and the four of us going were mostly interested in going. The rest of the gang decided to pass based on the whether. That was until we started loading up boats and a long time friend of my father said we had better throw him in a boat too. He wasn't going to let us have all the fun without him.
The one unique aspect of this trip is that we rarely have groups bigger than three where the focus is on fishing. Usually as the group grows the focus sort of shifts from fishing to relaxing, swimming, and just hanging out. The group this day was focused on catching as many smallmouth bass as we could before the storms came.
The Nest Protector
The first part of the trip was pretty typical and we caught a fair amount of little smallmouth, rock bass, and sun fish. Nothing worth bragging about. A little ways down stream we got to experience something that you don't get to see everyday. In a small shallow back wash a male small mouth bass was protecting his nest from approximately twenty to thirty sunfish that kept trying to rush in to get the eggs. After a few minutes of watching you almost just have to feel bad for the poor fish constantly guarding the eggs from nonstop attacks. Back and forth... back and forth... back and forth. He never had a chance to stop for rest. As soon as he would clear the group in front of him more would attack from the rear, and he would shoot after them continuing the cycle.
I included a video I took of the fish below. It's not the best quality and it's kind of hard to see, but if you can get your eyes on him you will be able to see him shooting around trying to keep the other fish away.
The Smallmouth Bass Protecting His Nest
All Caught at Spider Cove
After we wished the nest guardian the best of luck and parted ways, we shortly arrived at a small bank I call Spider Cove. It's actually not a cove at all, and in fact if I were an intelligent person I would have named it Spider Bank, but I'm not... so I didn't. Spider Cove is a small bank where the creek makes a ninety degree turn to the right. I gave it the name Spider Cove because it always seems to have a high population of spiders on it (yes it's very clever I know). There are some rapids that lead up to the corner with a log that barely sits above the water, and is very hard to see before people crash in to it and tip. After witnessing several of our people crash over the years we all just kind of started stopping there to ensure that everyone makes it through all right. The water around the corner gets fairly deep so its not a bad swimming hole while we wait.
Admittedly, I was kind of wanting to rush down the next fishing spot I knew was coming up real soon. The rest of the group however wanted to fish the spot so I agreed. We all started fishing and produced some amazing results. One after another all of us started pulling out decent sized smallmouth. We ended up staying at this spot well over an hour catching fish non stop.
After this point the fishing was amazing for the remainder of the trip.
My Biggest Catch of the Day
The biggest fish I caught this day was on just down stream from Spider Cove in the area I mentioned I was excited to get too. Again we all caught plenty of good fish, but I managed to pull in a real whopper that actually completely bent the hook wide open. I was really lucky to even bring him in.
Unfortunately, because I was in open water when I caught him we weren't able to get a measurement of how long he was.
The next place we stopped we refer to as the lagoon. It's a very nice big deep area that is great for fishing and swimming. One of the other guys and I made it down to this area before everyone else and I caught a pretty good sized fish. Again in this spot we were able to watch several bass protecting their nests. These fish weren't interested in bait, which is just as well because we all would just assume they continue their business of keeping the fish population healthy.
In my experience, usually when you can see a smallmouth swimming around in the water they won't go for your bait. Some people attribute this to the smallmouth being able to see anglers. I don't know if that is actually true, but I've rarely had luck catching fish that I could see. Today was different however. I'm not sure if it was just because they were riled up from the spawn or if I just got lucky, but in this area I was able to catch 3 decent fish that were just a few feet out in front of me swimming around. The first caught my eye because of how dark it was in the water. Originally I didn't even think that it was a smallmouth because under the water it actually looked black, while the ones around it all had the typical yellowish-brown. Intrigued I through a worm out too it, and it jumped right on it. I brought it in to discover that it was just a very dark smallmouth. I repeated this process with a second swimming in the same area and caught it as well. A few feet down stream I saw a really good sized smallmouth and decided to try my luck a third time. My worm was a little worse for wear and the first three cast the bigger fish had no interest in it. So I went and got a full live squirming worm, left it hanging a good 4 inches off the hook, and cast again. This time the big fish went directly at it, further adding to my conviction that big bass are easier to trick with full bodied live worms.
Just down stream from the Lagoon the excellent fishing continued and one of the other guys caught another whopper of a fish. The water in this area is a little deeper and slower so it tends to have a lot more sun fish to pick at your bait. Despite the sunfish my buddy caught his huge bass, and we all added a few more fish to our long forgotten counts.
Unfortunately we again weren't able to measure this fish to see how long it actually was, but it was pretty impressive nonetheless.
The last spot we stopped at for a while we call The Rootball. The river runs through here fairly deep and quickly, but off the side a fallen tree offers some slow deep water as well. I was the first one to arrive at this spot, and for the fourth time that day I caught a fish I could see. I watched the big fish circle around the back of the root ball and decided to give it a shot. My worm disappeared in the deep murky water, and nothing happened at first. I couldn't see my worm or the fish and was about to give up on the silly idea when he suddenly struck and I fought to drag him in.
We stayed at this spot another hour and caught several more fish before we all finally decided we were wore out and just paddled back to the house. I don't know how many fish we all caught that day, but we all agreed between the 5 of us we were probably somewhere around 100 fish. It also never rained, so all in all we had an awesome trip.