Last year on LIVE we were treated to some exhilarating footage as the anglers played big smallmouth near the boat. Like Davy Hite just said, the fight is only half-way over when the fish appears in the clear water. The dynamic going on here is the light line used by the anglers to fish for smallmouth—shallow or deep. On top of that, the smallmouth here are much stronger. They live in a strong current for their entire lives.
More than once last year, we watched as big smallmouth came to the boat, only to make a hard charge back into deep water. Or clear the surface and make acrobatic leaps. And break off. That’s fun to watch but at that moment it’s when the moment of victory—or defeat—happens.
Call it the hot fish factor. When these smallmouth charging toward the boat, the added strategy to a pattern becomes how the angler handles them.
“When you are using six-pound test it adds another dynamic to the pattern,” said Chris Zaldain, who knows all about the hot fish chapter after four trips to the St. Lawrence River.
Zaldain said he’s had two “awesome” tournaments and two really bad tournaments. For the latter, it came down to lost fish at the boat.
“You just cannot lose a fish here, because if you come in with 15 or 18 pounds you cannot go back out there and make up the difference,” he continued. “You’ll need an eight pounder to catch back up.”
The secret to success is challenging for these guys who are used to boat flipping largemouth all season long. There is little play to the match and the angler always wins. Here, not so much.