Last week was Indian summer here in Ohio. The weather was beautiful, gentle breezes with temperatures in the 70s and all that. As you might expect I played hooky from the office and headed to Lake Erie. I can't help myself. I'm an addict.
The only tough thing was the water temperature. It's still around 50 degrees. We were fishing with blade baits — Venom's Vibra-Max and Silver Honey — and everyone knows the bite gets better when the water temperature drops into the low 40-degree range. I've always wondered about that. It seems like that would be a little cold, even for smallmouth. It doesn't seem to bother them, though. In fact it turns them on. We can file that under one of the many things about fishing we humans don't understand.
My friend Tom Harbison was with me and, as usual, he whooped on me pretty good. Last year I said he beat me like a rented mule. I'll not say that again. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing him quote it. I should have known better. But it really is true. The numbers were ugly. We caught about 40 smallmouth the first day. He had 30, I had 10 — but mine were big. (Note that I didn't say mine were bigger, just that they were big.) I don't know what it is about Tom, but he has the feel with the steel. He seems to be able to make minor adjustments in his presentation on the fly. That's what it takes. You have to make subtle changes as the day wears along if you expect to catch a ton of them. I know I'm going to hear about this, but he's the best blade fisherman I've ever seen.