It has been a little while since my last report due to some computer “deworming” issues, but that did not keep me from being on the water chasing my favorite summertime river smallies. Over the past 2 weeks I have visited a couple different sections of the Upper Miss River and the bite is in full swing right now for both numbers and big fish. What better way to beat this dramatic summer heat! The fish are very aggressive and willing to jump on most offerings but the locations have shifted a little over the past couple weeks on the river. My midday deepwater hair jig pattern that I had going a couple weeks ago has seemed to come to a screeching halt. The fish are still there, but are favoring more speed to the presentations to get them to bite.The outside bends in the river are still the best starting regions for locating current swept banks. Why the outside bends? With water temps at its peak, the smallies metabolism is on full throttle and they are using the current to help them in locating their next available meal.
My three best presentations for the bigger fish this past week has been a texas rigged YUM 4” pumpkin pepper green or black neon Garret tube in the shoreline current breaks coupled with a 1/8 to 3/16 oz bullet slip weight. The second big fish producer has been trolling or casting a little deeper mid river rock areas in the 7-11 foot ranges. When fishing the Garret tube, the fish have really favored a slow lift/pause letting the tube float back down on a taut line until bottom contact is made and again another lift and pause (Biggest thing is not to jig the tube, its trigger is the motionless fall). All my hits have traditionally been on the fall usually on the first or second hop off the bottom, especially in the morning hours when the fish seem to be real shallow. As the day rolls on and the fish tend to pull away from the shallow haunts, that’s when I pull the crankbaits out and either troll or cast these areas adjacent to some of the better shallow water spots that produced fish earlier in the day. Some of my better cranks over the past few weeks have been the Bomber model 6A or Cotton Cordell’s new Baby Wiggle O. Both of these models are excellent casting cranks and I actually prefer to troll the Baby Wiggle O to the Bomber due to its deep diving characteristic for such a small-bodied lure. And last but certainly not least has been Jimmy D’s river bug hair jigs in the 1/8oz have been day in and day out a very consistent jig for most all conditions. As many of us anglers realize that a jig is one of the most universal lures in our tackle boxes. The jig has so much capability to the way you work it. You can fish it fast, slow, shallow, deep and just about any degree of technique has a time and a place here on the river. Our best technique over the past several days has been to cast it out next to a piece of structure and let it fall on a taut line without jigging it. Once the jig hits the bottom, just burn the jig back to the boat in a very quick but steady retrieve. We have provoked so many fish to follow the erratic behavior where other lures have just been fished through an area.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of sharing my boat with Gary Nelson and Andy Carol from Pradco Outdoor Brands for a little afternoon/evening smallmouth bass fun on the Upper Mississippi river. The only thing different from yesterday to some of my trips that were earlier in the week is that the tube bite remained in full swing for most of the afternoon hours. As the evening quickly came to a close as the sun started to hit the tree tops, I picked up and ran to one of my favorite shallow water current swept boulder areas. As expected the fish were there and ready for action!! We were able to field test a brand new spinner bait by a brand new company of Pradco’s called the BOOYA series spinnerbaits. We were throwing the smaller 3/16oz model . The 100% silicone skirts and the jewelry quality blades set this spinner bait apart from all the rest in its ability to burn this lightweight morsel just under the surface to provoke strikes and to say the strikes were vicious would be quite the understatement. This technique produced some of our biggest fish of the evening with several fish hitting the tape at 20”.
As I mentioned earlier in my report, the bite is in full swing right now and this pace will continue through the month of September on most of the headwater areas from Little Falls down through Anoka/Coon Rapids area. Look to the River Bassin forum on the message board for more pics that did not make it to the report!
Good Luck to all.