Every fishing season an oddity unfolds here and there that leaves me thinking, if I had not just experienced this, I probably would not believe it. Such was the case tonight. I was jonesing to fish all day. Work kept me busy until the late afternoon. Around rush hour, I was off. I'm normally pretty antsy when I get to the river, but tonight, I took it slow. Instead of putting on my waders and hopping in, I decided to just grab my rod and reel and shore fish.
I started off with a 3" Heddon Zara Puppy and began walking the dog downstream on the surface of a shallow run. The lure got blasted as it neared a rocky point. I missed the fish and despite repeated attempts, could not get it to attack topwater again. I switched lures and tied on a Live Target shallow-running crayfish crankbait. It has been producing well for me lately and despite two more boils in the area of the missed fish, no takers. It wasn't long before I made my way up to where I had the missed strike. At this point some gusty wind howled downriver and as I cast into the wind I got a minor bird's nest. I launched a long cast toward mid-river to clear my line and as I picked up the slack and the lure dove under it got clobbered. It wasn't a big smallmouth and after an initial fight I was skiing it across the surface for a quick unhook. THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED. All of the sudden I felt a big "thud" and my drag started peeling off. Apparently a bigger smallmouth had noticed the commotion and came up and stole the crankbait from the smaller fish! I could not believe it. What started as a routine fish turned into an 18.75" slab of a smallmouth! All I can say is, what luck!
After the photo and release (and wiping the ****-eatin' grin off my face) I continued to work the crankbait in the same area, hoping there was more than one bad boy home. A short while later I returned to my car and put on the waders, ready to cover some water. I seemed to get into my groove as I rotated between the hula grub, white buzzbait, Sammy, and crayfish crankbait. I ended up with 19 smallmouth for the evening. The second largest taped at 18.5" and hit the crayfish crankbait coming downstream next to some big rocks. What a night! USGS 11.14' / 545 CFS
Oh yeah, and a neat spider in the tall grass early on...