Why do you enjoy fishing? For some, it's just being on the water and away from the grind. For others, it's experimenting and learning fish behavior and patterns that produce the end result of catching more fish. I personally love putting the puzzle together - finding new puzzle pieces every year that result in new patterns, new techniques, and ultimately more and bigger fish.
As we sit here and think ahead to this next summer, we are already dreaming about what adjustments or tweaks we are going to make that will continue to provide new puzzle pieces as we pattern Lake George smallies, largemouth, and lake trout.
Here were our discoveries from last year:
1. Smallmouth will be where forage is (duh!)...but that means looking extremely deep - up to 100'. We caught smallies up to mid-July in deep water as we jigged for lakers. There's something to this...the ones we caught last summer were belching up smelt from that deep water. I wonder if the giant smallies are out there roaming with the smelt and ciscos.
2. We caught our biggest smallies suspended with big deep diving cranks over the last couple of years. Many of these fish were suspended off humps over 50 feet of water.
3. Top water baits are a tremendous asset in searching for bigger fish. We didn't always get numbers, but we caught quality on topwater baits. One of our favorite was the Rapala X-prop.
4. Early in the summer, we caught a lot of post spawn fish shallow...< 10 feet of water. Water depth is huge when it comes to targeting fish on Lake George (and most lakes). Once you establish a pattern, experiment with other spots with similar depths and underwater features.
5. Experiment with color. We use a lot of plastics and if you look at the colors or our baits, 99% of them are natural colors. As we are thinking about all the stuff we have read from magazines like Bassmaster and others, a lot of guys will try both natural colors and really gaudy colors to see what the fish want. This year we are going to try bubble gum colored senko style baits. We also plan on throwing bright colored jerk baits.
6. We plan to target lake trout right from the beginning of the summer. We know that they won't all be in deep water early in the summer. So we are planning on looking on humps that top off between 50-70' early in the summer.
7. Fish a jigging Rapala. Micah (my oldest son) experimented with these a couple years ago and now they are a staple on our boat. They drive everything crazy and they are easy to fish. We usually fish them vertical, but this year we're going to cast them too!
Our hope is that as you try new things you and experience success, it will create a greater enjoyment for the sport. We'd love to hear the stuff that has worked for you too. Feel free to either comment on this post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.