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Norm M

topwaters in coldwater

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I'm sure most of you know I've been fishing topwaters with some success during the winter. It's not what you would even consider a high percentage gig. For example over the last three trips with almost 6 hours of topwater usage, I caught one smallmouth albeit a very nice one. You could say those results are not far removed from what has been the norm for the last several years.

 

I recently got into a discussion with several other fishermen who think you have to be insane to consider topwaters when it's tough enough to catch fish in coldwater. My position was that pushing the enveolpe on coldwater river smallmouth knowledge made it worthwhile.

 

Since it's officially winter and things get slow on the boards sometimes, I thought I'd toss this out for discussion.

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Guest rich mc

kevin dells would catch them on a chug bug when there was still some ice floating around . i think its just a river thing. rich mc

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Fishing for smb in winter is "pushing the envelope" enuf w/o using a method that is a waste of time or at best the least likely to succeed.

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If you like topwaters (it is cool to see a surface take,especially in the clear waters of winter), enjoy a challenge, like being outdoors, and don't mind the fish catch being down, what the hey. Why not? Something may be learned about their behaviors and habits. If you are enjoying what you are doing it's not a waste of time unless you need to put food on the table.

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I've found that with the rivers so low it's almost a given that I have to fish small lures/swim baits shallow. Otherwise I'm constantly dragging weeds and debris which gets old fast.

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John

 

Any more, i enjoy pushing the envelope on what is considered "common Knowledge" about river smallmouth. I know other stuff works and still use it for the majority of my trips. It's just that catching one on less than conventional methods puts a bigger smile on my face than getting several on more main stream methods.

 

I accept the fact that I'm likely to catch fewer while experimenting. You never know though when something unconventional becomes main stream because it flat out works.

 

I think part of it may also be that I get more time on the water than the average bear and don't mind using some of it to play around with different ideas. I think that's one of the reasons Phil and I hit it off so well. We both are always wondering why not instead of no, it will never work That and he's a great guy as well..

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Norm,

I have a couple of friends that prefer catching fish "against the grain". They prefer to be experimental in most situations. It just makes their day when they catch fish in their own special way. The smile is what counts at the end of the day. I have learned not to say, "that will never work".

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Norm,

I have a couple of friends that prefer catching fish "against the grain". They prefer to be experimental in most situations. It just makes their day when they catch fish in their own special way. The smile is what counts at the end of the day. I have learned not to say, "that will never work".

 

That makes sense John, especially if you're focused on the same water year in and year out.

 

How about catching one while standing on your head Norm? That would change things up a bit. :P

 

I like the thought of challenging yourself to learn something new; you might stumble on a pattern that is unique but has its time and place.

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Had fish chasing minnows on the surface today so a top water should have worked. I've seen this the last few times when I've been in Indiana. Guess I'll throw a topwater in the bag. i might have to hire a fishing caddy to carry all this stuff. Jimon the Indiana board picked up some fish on a baby torpedo so you have competition.

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with all the achy joints I have it's hard enough sometimes fishing up right. i doubt I could stand on my head any more even with three men and a boy helping out.

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Had fish chasing minnows on the surface today so a top water should have worked. I've seen this the last few times when I've been in Indiana. Guess I'll throw a topwater in the bag. i might have to hire a fishing caddy to carry all this stuff. Jimon the Indiana board picked up some fish on a baby torpedo so you have competition.

 

I'm not sure if Phil intended that but for anyone inferring support for Norm's topwater in winter water temps in the low 30's-low40's it should be noted that it's not yet winter & more to the point the water temps the last few extremely warm days are typical only in mid spring/autumn when topwater is appropriate.I got a nice smb yesterday that gave away his position working the surface.No way that fish will be chasing minnows on top after even one day with his in the 30s-40s.

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Really Ron.

 

The 19 inch smallmouth i got on a spook in late November was in 38 degree water. I have been catching river smallmouth on topwaters throughout the winter months for several years now. If you don't try, you will never have any success at anything. Predators like to use edges to help them catch prey more efficiently. The surface is an edge, almost as absolute an edge as the river bed.

 

You have shad distressed by coldwater swimming in a disoriented manner on or near the suface. The bottom is heavily coated with algae making bottom feeding problematic at best. Most of the macro inverts on the bottom have burrowed in for the winter and the crawdad activity has been greatly lessened also contributing to lessened attention to bottom dwelling prey. With the thick algae cover the bass are not resting on the bottom but suspending above it. i doubt it's any harder to suspend a foot or two below the surface than it is an inch or two above the bottom. There is a source of prey that is easier to catch than normal because on environmental conditions. Smallmouth bass have proven to be a very adaptable species. Why would they not be able to adapt to this one, especially when it is an adventagous adaption ?

 

Like I said, it is not a high percentage gig by any means. It's not something that is going to appeal to most folk for that very reason, I completely understand. What I don't understand is how something someone has not experienced can be rejected out of hand.

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Norm

Anyone who's read my posts over time should know that topwater is my favorite way to fish for smb & about the only way I do for lmbs.There's plenty of time from April-November & also for that matter from Dec.-March if water temps allow which in time to come they regrettably often may thanks to global warming.As for rejecting topwater with water in the 30's or struggling to get into the 40's I stated why I rejected it in my 1st reply.

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I'm not sure if Phil intended that but for anyone inferring support for Norm's topwater in winter water temps in the low 30's-low40's it should be noted that it's not yet winter & more to the point the water temps the last few extremely warm days are typical only in mid spring/autumn when topwater is appropriate.I got a nice smb yesterday that gave away his position working the surface.No way that fish will be chasing minnows on top after even one day with his in the 30s-40s.

 

Ron twas this post I was referring to, not your first one. I totally understand the first post. It's the last sentence of this post I was speaking of rejection of the idea. One thing I've learned about fish and fishing is to not think or say something will never happen.

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Norm

It's not about never saying never.It's about topwater should not be espoused as a viable option in typical winter water temps ie mid 30's-mid 40's anymore than using pinhead minnows under a dayton bobber is for muskies never mind that someone may have caught one that way.

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Ron

 

Obviously it's not for you, fine and dandy. If it had been a one time fluke deal , would I have kept reporting and talking about using topwaters in winter for as long as I have? I put forth the option for those who wish to try something different and possibly expand thier horizons on smallmouth behavioral possibilities in rivers in the cold water period.

 

It wasn't all that long ago that fishing for coldwater river smallmouth in any way was considered a waste of time. I doubt we will ever have all the answers but I leave open the chance to learn as much as I can about it. I doubt that topwaters will ever be a major piece of the coldwater puzzle. However, it remains a piece , regardless of the size.

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I think it is a great idea to experiment with different presentations during all tiypes of conditions. If you run into Smallmouths that are in shallow water they may very well hit a very slow moving Topwater. After all they see things looking up as opposed to down below them. I would get some Norm and experiment with different colors to see if any one particular color gets more action then another color. Then again my good friend could catch Smallmouth on a stick with leaves and a hook.

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who is justin bieber

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