The smallmouth were rough on me this season.

Detroit River BASS 2015I’d never fished the Upper Chesapeake Bay before this year, but I was excited to go there because of the famed Susquehanna Flats. Any time I hear that a fishery has big productive grass beds, I feel like I’m going to be in my element and it’s just a matter of picking them apart. Unfortunately, for reasons that still aren’t clear to me, the grass was not a player at all in this event.

During practice we experienced unusually high tides and I had very few bites. I know that the tide would be critical – and that it was important to be on the best places at the best tides – but I didn’t know when that might be. It was going to be a matter of survival.

On Day One, I caught four fish, but three of them weren’t legal. The one keeper I did catch was just over a pound. Nevertheless, weights were low and I knew that if I had a decent day on Friday I could make the top 50. Almost immediately on Day Two I landed the fish I needed to get back on track, a beautiful 3 pound largemouth, but I just couldn’t add any others to it. Eventually, that led me to go up the Susquehanna River where I quickly caught a limit of paper-thin smallmouths. With five in the livewell, I went back to look for more largemouths, but it just never happened.

It turned out that many of the top finishers fished around the take-off area, playing musical chairs on the few docks in the North East River. It worked out for some of them, but many others struggled doing the same thing. That’s not my gig. I just can’t force myself to fish in a crowd if I don’t have to do it, so while my performance wasn’t good, I don’t regret the decision to venture outside of that little fishpond. read more…

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