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Fall is Prime time for trophy smallmouth bass on Lake Erie

Fishing in and around the Great Lakes region including all tributaries and adjoining states.

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Fall is Prime time for trophy smallmouth bass on Lake Erie

Postby eriequest » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:41 am

Smallmouth bass are, pound for pound, one of the strongest, meanest fish in fresh water. Lake Erie smallmouth, however, are not of this world. They're big, powerful fish with a nasty disposition. They're just as likely to pull hard for the bottom and thump repeatedly with determined head-shakes as they are to race for the surface and let loose with an aerial display that would make the Blue Angels take note.

Just ask Kevin Hamer and his crew from Central Indiana. I had the opportunity to fish with Kevin and several members of his family, along with a friend in November. We fished in the Canadian waters of Lake Erie, where the fishing pressure is absolute minimal. We targeted a large offshore reef near Pelee Island and were the only boat on this large, remote spot for miles. How was the fishing? We caught some of the largest Bronzebacks these fisherman had seen in their lives. All 4 fisherman set new "personal best's" for largest smallmouth bass they had caught personnally.

Within minutes of beginning to fish, we had boated a 20 inch, 5.5 pound trophy Bronzeback, only to be followed minutes later by a chunky 4.5 pound Lake Erie smallmouth.

Greg shows off a feisty Lake Erie Smallmouth Bass caught with Erie Quest. Nice Bronzeback!

Kevin and Greg both had new "Smallmouth - Personal best's" and impressed with the number of large Bronzebacks that Lake Erie holds

We had started the day fishing with Carolina Rigs, tipped with a softcraw. But after some experimentation by the crew, we found that using a "Drop Shot" technique...worked best. It produced three Smallmouth over 6 pounds.

The techniques used to fish the drop-shot are simple. Cast it near fish-holding structures such as humps and rock piles and slowly drag it back. When the wind is blowing -- as it often is on this huge body of water -- many anglers will simply allow the wind to drift them across the area. Keep a taut line and, if you're in the right area, it's only a matter of time before the bites come. We were anchored on this day in 2-3 foot waves and casting out from the boat.

I was watching one of our crew cast out from the boat and his fishing pole tip...tap, tap, bang! Ryan lifted the rod tip skyward, the rod blank loaded into a satisfying arc. A huge 6+ Smallmouth Bass rocketed out of the water, twisting and spiraling, trying to throw the hook. After several minutes and multiple skyward leaps we pulled the beast from the water.
A large, beautiful, healthy Smallmouth...21 inches, 6 pounds & 8 ounces.

Ryan shows off his trophy Smallmouth Bass from Lake Erie using a Drop Shot Rig, Fall, 2008

One for the ages...happy Indiana fisherman, Ryan displays his 6 pound, 8 oz. Trophy Smallmouth Bass

Drop-shotting on Erie is primarily done with spinning tackle. When using such light line, a smooth, reliable drag isn't a commodity -- it's a necessity. Drag should be set fairly light. Generally, the big bronzebacks you tie into on Erie will be coming from open-water haunts. There won't be many weeds, logs or other obstructions. Allowing the fish to simply tire itself by fighting the length of the limber rod and the reliable operation of the drag system on your reel will prevent you from breaking fish off.

Welcome to Lake Erie -- land of giant smallmouth bass and the new home of the drop-shot. Kevin displays a Erie "football" caught with Erie Quest Charters, near Pelee Island, Ontario, Canada

Indiana Walleye member Chad, displays his Bronzeback while Drop Shotting on Lake Erie with Erie Quest

Smallmouth Bass fishing is as good as it gets on Lake Erie...Fall is "Prime time for trophy Bronzebacks"

Lake Erie is a special place indeed. It is one of -- if not the best -- smallmouth fishery in the world, and the autumn months can produce some of the year's best action. Learn the art of drop-shotting as it applies to this freshwater ocean and you'll be primed for the outing of a lifetime.
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