Western New York Fishing Magazine

Big Water Spring Smallmouth Success in WNY

When dragging tubes this early in the season less tends to be more when it comes to size, weight and action. Natural colors, smaller silhouettes and lighter weights tend to work best. In the first temperature warm up stage of 40-45 degrees fish are just starting to congregate to the target area but aren’t yet extremely active. Cruise the target flat and look for the most defined point or protrusion where a step but gradual drop is evident dropping to 16-25 FOW. Hover just on the shallow side of the drop off casting your tube out to about 20 FOW and slowly drag it up the bank with very little action. Use a slow retrieve and an occasional pause allowing the tube’s tentacles to do their job as a fish attractant or agitator for that matter causing a strike. Keep in mind bites are subtle this time of year so be sure to watch your slack line.

In the next stage of the water warm up, 45-50 Degrees, the jerk bait bite starts to turns on in similar areas and locations. Key things to consider are style, color, and cadence. First off a suspending jerkbait is a must this time of year. Natural colors tend to work best but often subtle hints of chartreuse and orange are good choices to make your presentation differ from the abundance of bait fish starting to show up. A jerkbait bite is all about the reaction strike, but getting the reaction in the spring can be different than other times of year. Rather than the typical jerk, jerk, brief pause, repeat approach the spring is all about the pause. Think jerk, pause, pause, pause, then pause some more and repeat. Patience is the name of this game. Key in on areas of greater depth around and closest to potential spawning areas for.

Whatever the technique if targeting the mighty Bronzeback in the spring there is no need to be the first boat at the ramp. Treat yourself to a few extra ZZZ’s this time of year. The higher the sun, and the warmer the water gets the more the bite will turn on. Even a few hours of intense sun light can change the water temperature just enough of change a smallie’s mood. Dress warm be patient and leave the power fishing until May. Pre-spawn fish are exciting to catch but remember the water is cold so wear your pfd and bring a change of close just in case you get a little closer to the water than you hoped!

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About Randy B

Working in Winter Sports, Randy has made it his "job" to be on the water as much as possible in the spring and summer months. Born and raised outside of Syracuse NY, Higher Education brought him to WNY and he hasn't left since. Coming from a family rooted in the sportsman tradition, he has dedicated the last few years to Kayak Fishing and the evolution of the sport in WNY.

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