I fished for 5 hours (10:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.) with the first two hours being the most productive. I landed 20 smallmouth bass and lost 6 fish on the way to the kayak. The biggest of the day was a hard fighting 20 inch "C" class smallie! It was a VERY light bite today. Most of the fish were hooked JUST inside the mouth. I even hooked a couple on the outside of the mouth. That was a good indicator of how light the bit was.
All but four of the fish were caught on Winco's Chillee Willee. I switched up baits a few times but this was what the fish wanted. It was also an ideal bait for the light bite because it is rigged on a 1/8 football head. I prefer exposed head hooks in light bite situations. The hard jighead combined with braid and a quality graphite rod transfers every contact with a rock as a subtle but CRISP tap. Sometimes there was the tell tail "tap tap" of the fish or a "mushy" feeling but most of the time today the bites where even more difficult to decipher. I really feel that today the exposed lead head was a critical part of my technique. I would feel the tap..tap...tap...tap of the head ticking off rocks and then "nothing" ... not even mush. It was more like the "lack of weight" on the end of my line... as if the bait had lost contact with the bottom. When I felt "nothing"....I reeled up and set the hook. More times than not, there was a fish.
The chillee Willee was the ticket today. Problem...heck, I didn't realize that I only had two left!! The first CW, with some TLC, finally wore out after the 12th fish. I lost the second to the river gods in about 8 feet of water. My backup was a Tastee Tube Jr. The tube was definitely producing but not at the same rate the Chillee Willee had produced. I actually called and placed an order while I was on the water so I wouldn't forget! Yeah, I know...I'm a fanatic.
It was a classic late fall/early winter day. Overcast most of the day. 43-45 degree air temps. Water temps were below 45. The wind was a real factor with fairly constant breeze blowing at 14 m.p.h and gusts up to 22 m.p.h. straight down river. Given the wind and the concentrated location of the fish, I wanted to be as stationary as possible so used my home made stake out pole at various points (about every 10 yards) as I worked my way down river hugging the bank pictured below. The edge of the channel was about 10 yards off the bank.