Growing up on the coast of Texas, I really never looked at bass fishing as something worth learning. I mean, why would I fish for bass when I could chase hard fighting redfish, trout, and all sorts of saltwater fish. I always fished ponds around the house back home in Texas, but never really looked at bass fishing from an anglers eye. I have since moved to Erie, PA (a world class smallmouth bass fishery) and have changed my thoughts in regards to the bass!
You see, bass fishing isn't just about fighting fish to the boat. Even though smallmouth bass tend to fight harder pound for pound then any other fish, it's figuring them out I find so alluring. One day you may find fish holding tight to cover and getting them to eat a jig is easy as pie, but then the very next day you may find them over rock piles in 30 foot of water. Lake erie isn't a very deep lake and is pretty non-structural so the smallmouth tend to hold tight to cover. Sometimes as deep as 50 foot!! SO finding them in a lake the size of Erie can present a huge challange.You can find yourself spending hours upon hours in search of these fish in that huge lake, but once you find them, the award can be extremely gratifying. My prefered method is drop shotting. It goes against everything you'd imagine about working artificials, but it a a proven method for these fish.
Erie is not only known for the numbers of smallies it produces, but the size of the average fish here is astonishing. During the spring months when these fish move into the shallows to spawn, it's not uncommone to catch several over five pounds. To any bass angler, that's a respectable fish by anyone's standards. Even without a boat, an angler can find plenty of areas to wade and catch some nice spawning fish.
During the summer months, these fish will be spread out over the entire lake anywhere from 25 to 75 feet of water. Eventhough you may have trouble finding them, you can best believe they will be holding in thick schools with well over 100 fish.Don't let all my excitement about smallmouth fool you....We have one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the Northeast part of the country. Even though you won't find trophys, like with our smallmouth, you will find numbers of fish that would impress even the most discriminatiing angler. Presque Isle holds tons of nice fish with plenty of areas to fish for them. During the spring, you'll find them staged up in their beds on every square foot of shoreline. Sight fishing for these females can be very rewarding and deffinetly put patients to the test.
My favorite method for getting these fish to the boat is a Texas Rigged worm worked very slow. That hard "thunck" gets me excited every time! It truly never can get old with me. Pitching tubes can also be very effective. Focus on breaks next to deeper water to locate the larger fish.In Erie, bass fishing can be easy as anything one day, and the next day seem almost impossible. I wonder sometimes if that's the real reason for them to be so addictive!
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