by Marc Marcantonio
Finally! Remember how you felt as a kid, the night before
your birthday party? My pulse is pounding, and my thoughts
are racing in anticipation of hooking my biggest smallmouths
of the year. You read that right, smallmouths
During the next couple of weeks at Lake Washington, trophy
smallmouths are not an oddity, but rather the norm. If I
didn't fish for a living I would call in sick for the next
two weeks, as April only comes once a year, and smallmouths
always seem huge in April.
In truth, smallmouths are not actually bigger now than later
in the year. It just seems that way because Mama Pesce and
her cousins briefly move into the shallows where they are
more easily caught than they are at any other month. That
isn't to say they are easy to catch, just easier than at
any other time. And when you do find them, you are likely
to get into more than one huge bass.
Bodacious bronzebacks are normally difficult to fool with
artificial lures, but consider that these fish have just
stirred from a long slumber. Their dark backs are like a
sponge, absorbing the warming rays of sunlight, motivating
them to move towards spawning grounds and shallow water.
Time for a quick feeding spree before turning their attention
These bruisers are the top dog in their environment, and
smaller yearling bass know better than to get near these
huge fish on their prime feeding grounds. There isn't much
on the dinner plate this early in the year, but that sunlight
feels so good that Mama Pesce hardly notices her hunger.
Predictably, any food that does turn up is likely to be
a mouthful, or it wouldn't have survived the winter.
To us, it is known as Groat Point, which is always a good
place to start off the season in search of food, just as
is Coleman Point and Pleasure Point. To big bronzebacks,
these spots are simply known as home. These are the places
that will warm quickly, and the scattered rock will absorb
the warmth and radiate it back where big old bass take advantage
of it. Some of these old gals even like to rub against these
rocks, maybe to loosen the thousands of eggs that they have
developed, or maybe just to treat themselves to a warming
massage against the heated rocks.
Imagine how appealing that 4-inch Yellow Perch looks as
it widely wobbles past her boulder. Primal instincts take
over, and the soothing rock rub is quickly forgotten as
Mama Pesce flares her gill plates, and suctions in that
Yellow Perch before it knew what had hit it!
Mama Mia, that wasn't a Yellow Perch at all! Some savvy
angler duped the angry bass on a plastic crankbait equipped
with Gamakatsu EWG trebles. The only chance this bass has
is if the angler isn't using a Lamiglas crankbait rod. Maybe
a quick change of directions will pull the hooks out, or
break the McCoy 10-pound test line. But luck just wasn't
on this fish's agenda today, and soon she lay inside a plastic
livewell, complete with soothing bubbles.
Ten minutes later and suddenly it is no longer lonely in
the Jacuzzi. Another 5-pound smallie comes to visit, and
the newcomer explains what a Carolina Rigged Yamamoto Lizard
looks like. Half an hour later and the darkness is interrupted
once again, as Cousin Bertha drops in. Seems that #176 Yamamoto
Twin Tail Hula grub on that football head was too tempting,
especially all smothered in Smelly Jelly Crawfish scent!
With three over-achievers in the well, it was time to take
a break. Having done this routine every April for the last
several years, this seasoned veteran had remembered the
camera. Several photoflashes later they had served their
moment of fame, and the hefty bronzebacks were returned
with a smile of appreciation.
Getting a pony on your birthday can't feel any better than
this! You have to love April on Lake Washington! Ciao!