June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

POst reports from those private lakes and ponds. No need to give up the location. Sometimes just knowing they're biting in a region can be a help to others.

June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby EAS » Jun Fri 02, 2017 9:17 am

Got invited by my buddy RJ to fish opening day of a premier smallmouth lake at a private rod and gun club where he's a licensee. I've fished the lake about a half-dozen times in the past, but never on June 1 (opening day), when the fish haven't seen a lure since the previous fall. We met at 6 AM and there were already boats on the water that had been out since 4:30 AM. I knew a few of the anglers who were already out, real die-hards! I brought my go-to casting setup and typical lures ... Slider Head & 5" Yamamoto Flapping Hawg for deep, swim jigs and spinnerbaits for the first few feet of the water column, and plenty of topwater -- which is what I prefer to fish at this lake. There are smallmouth up to 22.5" in this lake, and typically in the early AM, the topwater bite is excellent.

The lake was about 3 feet higher than "normal", fairly murky (normally fairly clear), and in certain sections, loaded with curly-leaf pondweed. We started over some mid-lake humps, where RJ nailed an 18" smallmouth on his second cast with a #3 Mepp's Aglia with yellow dress. I worked the Flapping Hawg deep and as we drifted off the humps and towards shore, hit a fat 19" that initially felt like a snag and gave one hell of a fight! RJ liked my success with the Flapping Hawg, and switched to the Ned Rig, which was new to him. He had just picked up the mushroom-head jigs and Z-Man plastics at BPS the night before. He was using medium spinning gear with 8 lb fluoro and nailed fish after fish on the Ned Rig. It was just amazing to watch! He kept asking me if I wanted to switch to it, but I kept grinding it out with my lures. Finally, I took one of his plastics and rigged it weedless on a Slider Head. That definitely helped me put more fish in the boat!

We ended around 3 PM, having caught and released 52 smallmouth and 2 walleye. One of our good friends who had been out since earlier than us and had two guests in his boat finished around the same time having C&R'd 51, mostly smallmouth with a handful of walleye mixed in. We asked what they had success on and the answer did not surprise us ... Ned Rig.

Wow! What an outing. RJ gave me a schoolin' with his light / clear fluoro and the Ned Rig. I'll bet of the 54 fish we C&R'd, he caught 40 of them. It was amazing! But I didn't mind taking a back seat to fishing and being "net man" for most of the day. I still had a blast. The average smallmouth boated was in the 16"-17" range. We boated four @ 19". Of course I lost a monster smallie who skied and broke my 20 lb mono! :evil:

A lot of fun had and some good lessons learned that I can apply to other places where I fish for smallmouth.

Image

A big-shouldered 18" smallmouth

Here is more info on the Ned Rig if you want to add it to your arsenal...

https://zmanfishing.com/cms/nedrig
Eric
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby FISHdank » Jun Fri 02, 2017 9:42 am

Beautiful fish, sounds like a lot of fun. Every time i look for a ned rig doesn't matter what store they are sold out.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby EAS » Jun Fri 02, 2017 9:49 am

I hadn't been a big believer in the Ned Rig until I saw it in action first-hand. Just seemed like a Senko bit in half that could be rigged on anything. I was impressed with the elasticity and durability of the Z-Man plastics and I'll tell you what ... I haven't been humbled to that degree in fishing in a long time! You can bet I'll be buying a few to keep in my tackle bag.

I'll also be re-thinking my line choice ahead of fishing those strip pits. As I experienced, if the topwater game is off and I have to go finesse, the light / clear line really makes a huge difference.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby Afalconsvick » Jun Fri 02, 2017 10:58 am

That's awesome! Where's this club? I need to join :mrgreen:
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby ohoffm » Jun Fri 02, 2017 11:35 am

Nice post and thanx for sharing what was working.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby RonG » Jun Fri 02, 2017 11:37 am

Cool looking fish. I saw a couple of young boys clobbering the smallies on the Fox a couple of weeks ago using half a Senko on a hook.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby joetrain » Jun Sat 03, 2017 3:45 am

I think part of the reason that the Ned rig works so well is that the Zman worm floats. Rig one up and drop it in some clear water. That worm stands straight up and says bite me. Plus the fact that it is just about indestructible helps as well.

Zman plastics are my go to baits.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby WaterGuy » Jun Sat 03, 2017 8:43 am

Awesome! I've never used a ned rig either. Looking forward to seeing how/where else you use it. I was a bit of a skeptic myself even after reading so many good reports on it.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby FishinMatt » Jun Sat 03, 2017 1:01 pm

That place is awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I have heard the tales but never have seen an actual report from there.
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Re: June 1 / strip pit smallmouth

Postby EAS » Jun Wed 28, 2017 11:31 am

June 27

Boat fished after work / same place with a friend again. This time I brought very light line ... my son's spinning setup with 4 lb Gamma. I know it can handle big carp, and with the drag tuned properly and some careful playing of the fish, I'd be fine.

Started off under bright sun with blue skies and fished the Ned Rig deep with success. Once the sun got low, switched to the size 90 Whopper Plopper and worked weed edges. Ended up boating 27, with the majority big smallmouth and four walleye. Had some awesome drag-peelers and played 'em out and used a net on every fish. My 4 lb test held up perfectly, even with the Whopper Plopper and topwater attacks.

Was interesting on the Whopper Plopper ... the smallies would not touch it on a steady retrieve. They wanted very erratic, short bursts and twitches and nine times out of ten, would hit it on the pause. Sometimes it got hit letting it sit there after splashdown. Really fun night. Got off the water at 10 PM. Caught plenty of smallies on top in the dark.

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