Guests this week had successful outings for quality smallmouth. More four to six pound fish than we expected. This will shape up to be one of our best years for April smallmouth (not quite over yet). Even though we’ve had some rough weather, the fish were still catchable. We had to make adjustments and our adjustments worked. Thank goodness for Quiet Cove Jerkbaits, Luck-E-Strike, Megabass, Lucky Craft, and Fishing Complete’s trailers. As we put the pattern together, we used them all.
The mistake I made was telling my regular clients to wait until May 1 to come for a jerkbait bonanza. Normally that is a good date to start. We are now on our third week of consistent catches. It is very good even though it changes a little from one day to the next.
A noteworthy catch was Saturday, April 22 when the best five weighed in at 24.82 (anchored by a 5.92). Half-day catches are regularly between 20 and 30 keepers. Today (April 24) there were 22 keepers in less that 3 hours. We have three Traverse City area lakes producing at this time.
Forget what I said about May 1–get here now.
They are hot after this recent full moon. The jerkbait bite is in FULL swing. 28 keepers in 3 hours 15 minutes with 3 over 5 lbs. but nothing over 6lbs. If you care about water temperature, it was 41 degrees. Expect fish over 6 lbs. this week.
I had told clients not to come up until the end of April–wish I hadn’t said that. Also ciscos, lake trout and whitefish very catchable but you’ll find us chasing the smallies until someone requests something else. I haven’t had time to fine tune the bigger perch but will squeeze that in between smallmouth days.
It is that time of year–get the jerkbaits ready.
The five baits pictured represent the categories in which we breakdown our choices. As we start the season on the big (I mean big) brown fish, we have each of the categories ready for action.
#1 A floater that pops back to the top quickly
#2 A floater that pops back to the top slowly
#3 A suspender
#4 A deep running suspender
#5 A sinker
As we locate fish before the arrival of clients, we always have the first four options rigged and ready to go. The fifth option is used in more specialized scenarios.
After determining which style works the best we then work on the other variables: size, color (belly color may be most important), speed and cadence, and the desired depth.
There are many factors to consider to solve the puzzle. YOU DO NOT FISH ONE JERKBAIT FOR ALL APPLICATIONS.
When asked about my “favorite” jerkbait, I fail at giving a good, short answer. It depends on circumstances.
In my opinion, on tough days there is a fine line between catching and not catching on jerks. I will have four or five jb rigs on the deck of my boat–constantly switching.
I fished behind another jerkbaiter who was using a high-dollar suspending bait and struggling. We were using a gold, slow to popback bait with a sweeping cadence with a five second pause. The bait was almost at the surface when the strikes occurred. Two days later, they were back on the suspender.
The three boxes pictured are the baits that are onboard during jb time. What do you suppose the dollar value is? More jb talk soon!
In a few weeks we will start our open water fishing. Until then our hard water problem is dictating what we do. With 12 to 14 inches of ice we are spending our time harvesting fish for the table and the freezer. Although ice fishing ranks a distant third place (behind smallmouth fishing and birdhunting) I have to admit this has been a banner year. We ate fresh perch 10 times in January and have frozen several bunches.
Those of you thinking of booking dates for 2017 need to remember that June through September fills up first with May and October filling up only after weather patterns can be determined.
Last year our May calendar didn’t fill until the end of April. You will probably be able to call a couple weeks ahead to get a date for May 1st through the 20th. We have already filled many days thereafter.
If you are a beginner or if you have youngsters you’d like to introduce to sportfishing, schedule for the soft-plastic season (June to September). Advanced fishermen will enjoy the cold-weather jerkbait bite.
When you call, we will be able to determine the best time for you to come.
Have a great 2017 on the water.
To all our friends and clients.
And thanks for giving us our best year. We had guessed it would have taken many years for our charter service to get to this level–we underestimated the number of fishermen drawn to this area.
Thanks to the folks who have booked for 2017.
Now is the time I normally fish for the freezer. But with 22 inches of snow on the ground here, we will be heading south sooner than usual. Quail hunting and some winter bass fishing is on the schedule before we return to await open water in April.
See you then!
Our last few clients will be here and gone within a couple of weeks.
Am I done? No. Time to “meat fish” (perch, walleye and cisco).
As long as we have open water these fish will be readily available. Also, will spend several days throwing swimbaits and umbrella rigs for BIG smallmouth before switching to blade baits.
The winter fishing clothing has been pulled out of storage–here we go.
The grouse and woodcock hunting has been interesting. Eighty degrees one week and thirty the next. We will include pheasants and quail soon.
Thanks to our working partners for assisting me and our clients. Prominent contributors to this successful year are…
All Seasons Resort of Kalkaska; Jack’s Sport Shop; Fishing Complete; Sherm’s Marine; Mercury Marine; BassCat Boats; Lew’s; and Dennis from Buck’s Wholesale Bait for keeping this website alive.
Support these folks.
Here are your choices:
1 Smallmouth fishing. George and Mike had 45 to 50 today with several 4 lbers and George’s big 6 lber. Jim and Kathy had quite the smallmouth outing on Saturday.
2 Perch fishing. Took husband and wife for half day trip and had 36 up to 12″. All artificials! No live bait.
3 Cisco fishing. Sorry, no time to do this right now.
4 Bird Hunting. Bird population lookin good! Just getting started.
THANK YOU to Tails-A-Waggin’ Acres near Marion, Michigan for hosting
the 11th annual Disabled Veterans Free Pheasant hunt this past weekend. Yank, Duke and I volunteered on Sunday to point some birds for the vets. (I let the dogs do the pointing–I just stood around).
Well run, Chuck!
Spinnerbaits have been the way to go on the inland waters. The bays, however, require a finesse approach from 22′ to 55′.
The boat ramps have fewer and fewer users except on the weekends.
Through the week we see very few boats, only a few trollers way off shore. The bass fishermen have backed off but the bass have not. When the winds let us fish our numbers have been very good.
Bird season approaches and we will be doing double-duty the remainder of the year. Several of our regular clients are coming up to do the “blast and cast”. We will bird hunt for three hours in the morning and fish for four hours in the afternoon. Fun!
Many who do not bird hunt are coming up for fishing only. Also Fun!
Around the corner our fall walleye and perch fishing will heat up. And when there is time we slip over for some cisco.