Look for nice bronzebacks this week on Erie

ERIE, Pa. — Chances will be good for anglers in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional this week to make a short run out of Presque Isle Bay on a calm Lake Erie and catch quality smallmouth.

A strong wind at Lake Erie can wreak havoc on bass boats, but the weather during the divisional should be hot and calm, according to Dave Lefebre, a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens competitor from Erie, Pa.

“That is about the best time to get out on the lake,” he said.

Quality largemouth bass live in Presque Isle Bay but are hard to catch in late July. However, smallmouth abound on the lake close to the bay, and the fish should be hungry after enduring the rigors of spawning. “It’s going to be a postspawn deal, so take into consideration there are 50 million bass that go into that bay to spawn and leave right about that time,” said Lefebre.

“There will definitely be fish shallow on darker patches of rock changes in 7 to 15 feet,” said Lefebre. “You can catch some pretty big ones up shallow guarding fry then, but that is right on the bubble that time of year.” The best lures for the shallow smallmouth are 1-ounce white or chartreuse spinnerbaits, topwater chuggers or medium-diving crankbaits in shad, chartreuse or crawfish hues.

If the weather is hot, the best action will be on the subtle rock changes and dropoffs in the 25- to 40-foot range. Drop shots rigged with 3 1/2-inch shad-shaped worms or tubes attached to 3/8-, 1/2- or 3/4-ounce jigheads produce best for the deep fish. Lefebre recommends using soft plastics in green pumpkin, watermelon or any laminate hues that resemble gobies.

Lake Facts

Forage base — gobies

Surface area — 40,050 square miles

Average depth — 62 feet

Shoreline length — 871 miles

Expected water clarity — visibility of 20 feet

Dominant structure/cover — rockpiles, humps and dropoffs

Predicted winning weight — 57 pounds