As I am planning road trips for Season Eleven of Extreme Angler TV in 2012, I take great pride in the fact that I am able to locate, catch and capture on camera, some of the biggest bass ever seen on TV north of the border.
It is by no means an easy task.
Ask my competitors what its like to keep the camera rolling when hunting down bigger than average Bass for those "live" flip, pitch, cast and hook shots without going broke on all that dead video tape.
I`m talking about filming on public water, not a private waterway, pond or in some far off destination with mega sized bass on beds.
When you see our tagline, 'as hardcore as it gets"....well, it is!
And lately, I have had the pleasure of fishing for big brown bass with the same Heavy Duty gear that I make my bread and butter. Heavy action St.Croix rods, Ardent Flip n Pitch reels, 20-25 pound fluorocarbon lines, wide gap X-Point hooks and of course, those incredible Strike King Perfect Plastics including Rodents and Game Hawgs...absolute killer on both largies and big ole smallies.
Its not that I don`t enjoy catching smallmouth bass with traditional methods and baits like topwaters, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, tube jigs, grubs, drop shot, etc...I do. But, when I can pick up one of my heavy action casting outfits, pull my cap down and roll up my sleeves and get to work hunting down those big brown bass in heavy nasty cover, well, its a match made in heaven.
Or shaking a noodle-like spinning rod over six hundred feet of water so "maybe" one of those negative mood bass will decide to mouth my bait and then pull it up like a wet blanket, then have to fizz it so it maybe survives the battle and lives to fight another day.
Again, thats not my idea of action-packed bass fishing.
Sure, sometimes thats exactly what has to be done in tournament situations.
I`ll choose the heavy duty stuff over the soft-noodle stuff any day of the week.
My job and career is fishing. I have to catch fish or its no-go-Joe!
But, when the conditions are right and I`m either filming a show or going out for FUN, and smallmouth are the only bass available in a certain waterway, then I`ll pick up the casting gear and find those bigger than average smallmouth and make `em fight hard with the heavy action casting gear.
And, another good thing I like about this type of smallmouth fishing, the fish are less stressed out due to long drawn out fights with light action spinning outfits.
On heavy duty casting gear, you can make them fight hard, but land them in a much shorter time frame.
Locating smallies in river conditions is very predictable, they may be different in appearance, but very similar in the locations smallmouth like to occupy.
Outside turns in the river bed, laydown logs, overhanging trees, docks, stumps, current breaks, weed to sand transition areas, rock piles, gravel, etc...different rivers, same locations!
Those big brown bass will occupy the shallows very similar to largemouth bass.
These bigger than average smallmouth bass are not at all like their cousins in ultra clear great lake conditions, these brown fish act like largemouth, rather than the traditional smallmouth anglers have read about or saw on tv.
You need to remove the mindset that smallies are line-shy, moody creatures who favour clear, deep water. Thats not the case when it comes to northern smallmouth in cottage country waterways.
These brown bass eat EVERYTHNG that will fit into their yaps.
Or at the very least, make an effort to try and eat it.
Everyday is different.
Having options will increase your odds of provoking strikes from bigger brown bass.
Do some research on the waterway, locate the heavy duty cover these big brown bass love to occupy and break out the heavy duty casting gear and have some FUN, instead of trying to stay awake dragging or shaking a tiny morsel from six hundred feet of water.
Keep it fun and you`ll enjoy fishing, for the rest of your life.