This week, the last regular-season Elite Series event of the year kicks off on Lake St. Clair in Detroit, Mich.
I say that with hesitation because, although we are launching on St. Clair, we can actually run to Lake Erie or Lake Huron if we so choose.
As is always the case on the Great Lakes, a great deal of strategy will be involved this week along with the fish catching. Long runs are definitely risky on these big waters, but many times the guys who are brave enough to go for it and find a little better caliber fish will walk away the champion.
I expect this week to be no different.
As for me, it's my first time to St. Clair, or any of the fishable water here. I like it that way. Some of my very best finishes have come on places I have never laid eyes on, and I just go out and figure it out on the fly.
It keeps things interesting, and each day leaves me wanting more until I figure it out.
As for baits, this week I expect we will see the two major players that we see every time we go to a smallmouth dominant event -- the drop shot rig and a tube.
There is a reason it seems every event on the Great Lakes is won by one of these two techniques -- it's simply because they work.
They imitate the goby as well as many other things these smallmouth feed on, and they can be fished from super-shallow to super-deep and everywhere in between.
My personal favorite drop shot bait for smallmouth is a Jackall Cross Tail Shad, but I do have a few other baits that I will mix in, depending on the day and conditions.
For tubes, I use the 3.5 inch Strike King Coffee Tube with a 1/8- to 3/4-ounce jighead inserted into the tube. Be sure to use a jighead that has a good quality Mustad hook and you'll be good to go.
The rod I use for these techniques is a new MHX 6-9 EPS blank. EPS stands for Elite Pro Series, and these are absolutely the best spinning blanks I have ever fished. The one I use for these two baits is a 3 power, which equates to a medium action with an extra-fast tip.
The EPS models are also smaller in diameter and thus, lighter and more sensitive. I build them myself with supplies from Mudhole.com, and with a Winn grip, they are a dream to fish with.
For line this week I'll be using 8-pound Vicious fluorocarbon.
I’m sitting in 27th in the AOY standings, so I need a good finish here. There is a lot on the line for most of us here in Detroit this week.
Let’s hope I have a lot of big smallmouth on the line too!