It was a beautiful day for winter fishing. The air temperature topped out at about 44 degrees and the water was a balmy 43 degrees. Simply awesome fishing weather! We were even greeted with an early morning rain shower. The wind was our friend today...you know... the annoying friend that won't go home after the party is over. Winds were out of the west at about 10 mph. most of the day with gusts up to 23 mph.The river was on a slight rise. There had been a rain event farther up river. I had hoped for a little more drastic rise but that wasn't in the cards. Smallmouths typically go on the feed when the river is on the rise.
The Winco' Chillee Willee accounted for all my fish today. Rigged on a 1/8 oz football head it is an excellent imitation of a minnow slowly working its way across the river bottom. I ended the trip with 12 smallmouth in the boat and 2 lost on the way to the kayak. I couldn't crack 18 inches today on smallmouth. That's a personal goal I have every time I hit the water. I want to catch something over 18 inches.
Our group caught a number of 17's and I pulled a really chunky 17.25. Not a bad outing for winter fishing! I was definitely satisfied.
My strategy was simple. I wanted to put my bait in front of as many potential biters as possible. That's somewhat of a difficult task in the winter because your presentations have to be slow...VERY slow. I ended up drifting ledges using a combination of the current, wind and one handed paddling to SLOWLY drag baits across submerged ledge rock and down into the trenches. I would drag the bait about 10 inches or so then let it sit for 10-15 seconds. The slow methodical presentation really paid off today!
One of the highlights of the day was watching one of our party pull a nice Smallie on a spinner bait. Yes, that's right...a slow rolled spinner bait fish in 43 degree water. My personal coldest to date is 47 degrees. Overall a great day on the water with some great kayak fisherman.