those of you that have fished with me, it is no secret that my
favorite way to target river smallmouths is with a spinnerbait.
The reason for this is simple. Itís all about the fierce strike.
River smallmouth bass, especially the trophy-sized bass that
swim in the Susquehanna River, explode on spinnerbaits with a
vengeance. Inexperienced clients caught off guard literally have
had their fishing rods ripped out of their hands. One bait can
only withstand so much punishment before it snaps in two. Itís
not uncommon for two clients and me to go through a dozen
spinnerbaits in one outing.
I will start
to target river smallmouths when water temperatures reach 52
degrees, but 55 degrees seems to be the magic number on the
Susquehanna River. At 50 degrees, the first wave of
the spawn has usually happened on the
Susquehanna River, and the fish we refer to as the
ďA-TeamĒ are in post-spawn. These fish will become inactive for
a short period, then on put the feedbag again. At this point,
they become very susceptible to a spinnerbait.
The baits we
use are custom-built by Bigmouth Lures. The staple colors in my
tackle bag are gold shiner, Penrod special, and blue herring. I
use these in 3/8 and 1/2 ounce. I prefer a 7-foot medium-heavy
power, fast-action rod for the 1/2-ounce baits and a 6 1/2-foot
medium-power rod for the 3/8-ounce baits. I only fish
spinnerbaits on bait-casting tackle with reels geared to 7:1
retrieve ratio. This allows me to burn these baits as the water
warms. The line that I prefer is
monofilament in low-visibility green.
Where I will
target smallmouth bass with spinnerbaits will be determined by
water flow. In the beginning of the season when the water is
usually running high, I target eddies on the shoreline and along
the sides of large islands. As spring season progresses and the
water levels drop, weed beds will begin to make their appearance
on the Susquehanna River. These
are submerged gravel bars that become ďsummer flow islandsĒ
where you could even beach your boat and camp on. Behind these
weed beds are drop-offs that become a perfect target for
post-spawn smallmouth bass. The technique there is simple.
Overcast your target and vary your retrieve until you get a
strike. When this happens, take mental notes, make the proper
adjustments, and the excitement will begin. Cloudy days,
mornings, and evenings are best.
spinnerbaits is simple enough, but there are many subtle
techniques that make them even more effective. Book a trip with
us today for some hot spinnerbait action on the
Susquehanna River from mid-April to mid-May, and I
will be glad to show you how itís done. You can reach me on my
mobile phone at 443-614-9842 or on our Web site, www.penrods