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Early Spring Techniques


Mike Clifford
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We're about to experience some perfect early Spring weather in the upcoming week.

Seeing as we're a smallmouth fishing "club", our forums wouldn't be complete without a discussion on what lures and techniques are best utilized this time of year.

 

What kind of water temp range should we expect by next weekend, and what is the very first thing you'll be tying on the end of your line?

 

This applies to spin and Bassbuggers, so please don't hesitate to jump right in!

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Start with very aggressive techniques/lures and work your way back. Right now it's all about feeding, for most of them they won't start singing "feel like making love" for a while. Look to shallower areas that provide feeding opportunities. Remember the entire food chain from macro inverts to fish has turned on, so be flexible in your decision making process.

 

If you are a member, use the access codes in your newsletter to look up past issues of the newsletter on line, lots of good articles there on this subject.

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I'd have to say that if you can find a current seam that borders a big slow moving eddie with a mud bottom. Fish that seam hard on sunny days after that sun has warmed the water up a bit. Reaction strike baits such as jerkbaits, Burning a crankbait or rattletrap would be my first choice now. Soon followed by either a Swim jig or a hulagrub.

I fish large baits this time of year also...the hatch I'm matching was born last year.

Bill

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I have to say, I learned something about fishing certain plastics at the Ralph Steiger seminar that I hadn't though a lot about before.

When he talked about the goby imitation, and keeping it on the bottom, I realized that I probably fish tubes much too fast.

As they are supposed to mimic a crayfish, these are found on the bottom as well- as opposed to jumping around in the middle of the water column.

When I thought back to what I did to entice a tube bite under tough conditions, I started catching fish immediately if I slowly dragged it along the bottom, pausing once in a while and only twitching ever so slightly.

Having caught many fish in other systems with tubes, I never get squat in the Kankakee with them.

Being loaded with crawdads, I think I'm fishing them too fast here and have lost confidence with them because the fish aren't cooperating.

 

So if we're looking for aggressive fish this week, the crankbaits and minnow patterns seem to be a popular choice.

I'm pretty sure my first tie-up will be a Rapala Floating minnow #7, Black and Silver in the shallows.....to start.

 

Anyone know when the craws start molting in most rivers around here?

I'll turn over some rocks, and if they're blue- that's what I'll use on all my plastics and Rebel Craws.

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I have to say, I learned something about fishing certain plastics at the Ralph Steiger seminar that I hadn't though a lot about before.

When he talked about the goby imitation, and keeping it on the bottom, I realized that I probably fish tubes much too fast.

As they are supposed to mimic a crayfish, these are found on the bottom as well- as opposed to jumping around in the middle of the water column.

When I thought back to what I did to entice a tube bite under tough conditions, I started catching fish immediately if I slowly dragged it along the bottom, pausing once in a while and only twitching ever so slightly.

Having caught many fish in other systems with tubes, I never get squat in the Kankakee with them.

Being loaded with crawdads, I think I'm fishing them too fast here and have lost confidence with them because the fish aren't cooperating.

 

So if we're looking for aggressive fish this week, the crankbaits and minnow patterns seem to be a popular choice.

I'm pretty sure my first tie-up will be a Rapala Floating minnow #7, Black and Silver in the shallows.....to start.

 

Anyone know when the craws start molting in most rivers around here?

I'll turn over some rocks, and if they're blue- that's what I'll use on all my plastics and Rebel Craws.

 

That is what I find with people, they fish tubes too fast or too much one speed. Slow. Slow. Slow. Think you are going slow? Slower. On the bottom during 60-75% of your retrieve. Let it fall into holes and wash in places like rootwads and undercut banks.

 

You can also fish them like a jerkbait that drops to the bottom rather than suspends. Let the lure sit to a ten count... repeat. Long pauses.

 

Every time you crank the handle the bait moves 25-34". The colder the slower. Experiment and find the trigger.

 

In my neck, fishing loud noisy baits spook a hole, so I go with quiet bottom bouncers first. Then pull reaction baits through at different speeds. If the reaction baits are getting bit, I'll throw them first. Seems the less visibility, the less spooked holes.

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#1 spring technique? Swim jig without a doubt. I have already been receiving reports this spring that my swim jig is producing large smallies and Largies.

I agree with Jonn! I've been using his swim jigs for 3 years now. They have caught more big fish for me than I can count. :blink:

This guy was 18.5 caught after the big cold front that came through 2 weeks ago.

Bill

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