John's Journal... Entry 249, Day 3
CATCHING SMALLIES AT NIGHT AND IN WARM WEATHER WITH ROGER STEGALL
Catch Smallmouths After The Spawn
Editor's Note: Roger Stegall of Iuka, Mississippi, has guided for smallmouths on Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee/Alabama/ Mississippi border for 17 years and has fished for smallmouth on the lake since 1975. In an average year, he and his party of fishermen will catch 50 to 60 smallmouth bass that weigh 5 pounds or more. At times, he'll even catch smallmouth that weigh 8 pounds or more. Stegall most enjoys fishing for smallies at night during the warmer months. This week, Stegall shares his tactics for catching nighttime smallies.
May and June are great times to catch smallmouths at Pickwick. These fish spawn the last week of March through the last two weeks of April. Female smallmouths will stay around their beds in shallow water, so if you can locate the beds, you can catch them. A bright-colored Diamond Shad in chartreuse or crawfish-orange works great in these conditions at this time of the year. I start throwing this bait as the smallies begin to come off their beds. I'll also fish a Strike King Zero in a watermelon-red color. I'll throw this new lure out weightless and will fish it slowly. I won't let the bait sit still. I'll fish it on 10-pound-test line on a medium-action rod around the bedding areas and around some of the banks where I think the fish will move back out to deeper water. I'll use a Mustad red No. 3 or a No. 4 hook. I'll fish the Zero wacky style on a Texas rig without a weight in 3 to 10 feet of water. I'll throw it out and let it sink to the bottom. I don't give it any action. I just pick it up and let it sink back down to the bottom; then I'll twitch it a little bit back to the boat.
I'll also use a watermelon shad No. 5, which is pearl with a green back. I'll fish it along the edges of the creek that lead into the main lake -- anywhere I think I can catch a largemouth. Often, the smallmouths will move out to the main lake before the largemouths will. Before, I've actually caught smallmouths in the main river channel in early May using this tactic.
You can learn more about Strike King Lures by going to www.strikeking.com.
For more information on staying at Pickwick Landing State Park on Pickwick Lake, contact the Hardin County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at email@example.com, call (731) 925-8181 or (800) 552-3866, or visit www.tourhardincounty.org. Pickwick Landing State Park offers fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming and golf. Lodging includes the lakeside inn with over 100 rooms, cabins that sleep eight and a campground that contains 48 sites with grill and electric/water hookup at each site. A restaurant at the park offers delicious southern cuisine. Call (731) 689-3135 or (800) 250-8615 to learn more.
TOMORROW: SUMMER TACTICS