The smallies are scattered

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

Just when a guy thinks things are going along in a predictable manner Mother Nature throws a curve. That’s what’s happened over the past week or 10 days. The weather across much of the country has been unnaturally warm. That’s changed everything.

Three weeks ago I wrote a column talking about the last topwater bite for the year. This weather extended that through much of the Midwest and up North almost into Canada. Temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal allowed the smallies to keep feeding in shallow areas. That’s kept the topwater bite going.

But that’s not the end of the good news. Even the fish that moved deep earlier in the year have continued to eat. Basically that means that no matter where you’re fishing, how deep you’re fishing or what you’re fishing with you can catch them.

This is something that doesn’t happen very often. Usually the bass start to move deep sometime in late October and stay there until sometime in March. When they do that the bite slows down.  Of course, these dates are dependent upon where you live and where you fish. Up North it happens a little earlier and down South it happens a little later. Regardless of all that you know what I’m talking about.

The thing to do right now is to take advantage of this year. If your fish are deep use jigs, bladebaits, Carolina rigs, deep diving crankbaits or heavy spinnerbaits. If they’re shallow target them with anything that runs from the surface down to about 5 or 6 feet. Don’t worry about the details. Just get out there and take advantage of what’s happening. And don’t worry about the cold that’s supposed to arrive right after Thanksgiving.

Smallmouth bass aren’t largemouth bass. They tolerate much colder water, actually they like it. They’ll keep feeding regardless of how deep they’re holding for at least three or four more days. That’ll get you through the weekend.

The one exception to what I’m saying is water that was hit hard by Sandy. That’s a different story. I know some areas in the Great Lakes have been negatively affected by her and in other areas the fisheries have been so damaged that they may not be fishable for months. The Great Lakes should settle down in a matter of weeks. No one knows about the East Coast. That’s a wait and see situation. 

Don’t spend all your time fishing, though. Make sure you take some time out to say thanks for everything we have. I’m not just saying that. We have a life in America that’s the envy of most of the world. We should never forget that.

This is a fishing column so we’ll look at things through the eyes of an angler. It’s easy to get discouraged when they aren’t biting or when we can’t find them. But, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

Much of the world doesn’t eat if they have a tough day fishing. We’re blessed. We go to a restaurant for supper and complain because our fish wasn’t big enough, or that we only caught one or two. There’s a difference.

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