Fun & Games

Trivia Games


Contact Us




John's Journal... Entry 249, Day 3


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.

Cranking For Smallies:
I like to fish with the No. 3 Strike King crankbait in a rootbeer color during mid-May to the end of June. I'll use a stop-and-go retrieve in 5 feet of water on 10-pound-test line using an All Star cranking rod. This technique resembles a crawfish movement. The smallmouths really respond to this tactic.

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.

For more information on fishing with Roger Stegall, call (662) 423-3869, e-mail rogstegall@fishpickwick.com, or check out www.fishpickwick.com.

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 info@tourhardincounty.org, 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.




Check back each day this week for more about CATCHING SMALLIES AT NIGHT AND IN WARM WEATHER WITH ROGER STEGALL ...

Day 1 - Fishing on a Full Moon
Day 2 - Nighttime Baits
Day 3 - Catch Smallmouths After The Spawn
Day 4 - Summer Tactics
Day 5 - Work the Current

John's Journal