Stingy Smith

Judging by the frowns on faces yesterday the practice session was rather dismal. But isn’t that always the case? From sandbagging to just bad luck, and understandably so, the anglers aren’t too forthcoming with info at the registration and meeting.

But we are in the middle of the late summer doldrums. Like us, the bass are ready for cooler temperatures that stir metabolisms, get them biting. Here, that means spotted bass schooling up and feeding on blueback herring.

I set out to understand the dynamics of this late summer slow down. Helping it all make sense was Matt Lee. He grew up in nearby Cullman and grew up fishing Smith Lake before joining the pro ranks.

Smith is a highland lake easily distinguished by it’s myriad points tapering into the deep water. Bass most always relate to some type of structure and here it’s the points. The spotted bass like to follow the tapering bottom, from shallow to deep, to stay within their preferred temperature range. Right now, that’s on the deep side. Wind driven and hydropower generating current are key to bringing those blueback herring into biting range. Neither is happening right now.

Fall is a fantastic time to fish for spotted bass here. Spotted bass push herring on top of the points and blast them from below. The telltale sign of the surface erupting in feeding activity is the sign the bite is on.

“There are 20 pounds of spotted bass on every point and the fish are bigger than ever,” said Lee. “Only problem is the warm weather.”

Water temperatures are just to hot right now to spark that bite the way it should be. Twenty pound bags are indeed should be the norm by now. Even so, the bite will happen although qualify fish aren’t likely to hit the scales.