Those Crazy Smallmouth – Cast and Release

In the annals of smallmouth behavior a situation exists where no matter what you do it seems impossible to hook them up. The day might start with losing smallies on topwater baits laden with treble hooks. You’ll try different hooksets, check your hooks and change baits but the results are the same. Even though the topwater bite is “on” a move is made to work jerkbaits and spinnerbaits but no matter whether the bass are jumping or sounding the big fish that are biting still spit the hook. We think, “We can still fix this” so we make a change and start throwing all types of soft plastics. They still get off.

This scenario differs greatly from the norm. Typically we work the problem by going through the type of rod, line or hooks we are using plus examine our technique for flaws then make the necessary adjustments. What we are experiencing in this case is atypical and has more to do with the way the bass are biting ANY lure presented to them. The cause is unknown at this time but the effect is not. A day like this can really affect your confidence.

I was working at my desk one day when a customer called me after they fished a tournament. He said, “Wayne, I’m telling you I had the tournament won with the bass I had on the line but I just couldn’t get them in the boat.” Getting bit wasn’t the issue, landing the bass was.

You are probably reading this waiting for the punch line, the intuitive “game changing” answer to the dilemma. In this case you may have to settle for some encouragement that you are not in this alone. As frustrating as the situation can be it’s important not to let it shake your confidence. It’s likely that you did everything you could to adjust but the smallies just wouldn’t cooperate.

As a trend that lasts for an entire day this scenario doesn’t come up very often. One unique characteristic of the event as I have experienced it first-hand and as it has been reported to me is the aggressive bite. The cause and effect of this could also track one other direction…

Most of us have had this experience: The other person on the boat is catching fish on nearly every cast and though we are throwing the same bait on the same spot with the same tackle, we can’t get bit. It seems possible to me that on the “Cast and Release” day I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and some intangible quirk in my hookset is the culprit.

The research continues…

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(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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