Sam W. with a 2 lb 6 oz & 2 lb 10 oz Smallmouth
caught on our Bass Jerker suspending jerkbait
Sam H. with a nice smallmouth he landed
on our Bass Jerker
Wow! What a fun summer! We had the boat in the garage for most of the summer after purchasing a Subaru WRX and waiting for the time and $$$ to buy and install a trailer hitch. I went pretty crazy not being able to get out on the lake, so I did manage to sneak out to the local public gravel pits and get skunked shore fishing, and managed to pump up the inflatable kayak for 2 short trips in 2 days testing the Jaz Duncan Bee Whacker, which got me a lot of hits and a 16" Largemouth on the first try on it.
Saturday I tried scouting out a flowage in Rusk County looking for smallmouths. I figured if I put a good pattern together, I would be able to put our neighbor boy Sam on some fish the following day. The water level was down 1.5 feet from normal and the current was dead. I jerked a 12" smallmouth out of the water on our flappin jig on accident, thinking it was a snag I was trying to free. He flew out of the water and threw the bait. Later I tried throwing a lot of topwater lures, with ZERO success, so I switched to our #4 bad boy in-line spinner, nickel blade. I was getting quite a few smallmouth bites, had one nice 2+ pounder to the boat, but instead of quickly landing him, I fiddled with the video camera to record him and he got loose while I was messing around. I lost a ton, and figured they wanted the 4" jerkshad off the lure that day, but not the entire in-line spinner itself. So I figured they were feeding on silver small baitfish, and I would downsize Sunday and run jerkshads, silver prop baits, and suspending jerkbaits.
Upon arrival, we noticed immediately the flowage was not the same place I was just at a day earlier. I figured my pattern would be dead and the fish would move. The water rose 1.5 feet and the current was rocking. As a starting point, we tried the topwaters and the jerkshads, with no sign of life. I pulled up really close to a log tight to shore with current running along it, and threw a Bass Jerker that we painted with blood streaks running down it. We call it the "OSHA RECORDABLE." One cast at the end of the log with an upstream parallel (to the log) super erratic retrieve, and the lure got pounded. Sam took over immediately. I got the video rolling and Alex worked the landing net. Sam battled the feisty smallmouth that leaped several times and even splashed Sam in the face. The two boys boated the fish, and the thick 15+" smallmouth was a very huge 2 lb 10 oz for his length. Sam was very excited. Alex got jealous and wanted to show Sam what he could do. We worked probably 1/2 hour down that same shore line, but there was a lack of wood cover, and a complete lack of smallmouth. As we approached another log with current running against it, we tossed the Bass Jerker very close to the log, and a smallmouth jumped and grabbed the lure as it was landing. Alex battled the bass into the boat as Sam netted him. This bass was only 13.9" on the bumpboard so we couldnt kidnap him for later pictures, we had to release him. But he was so heavy and thick we HAD to weigh him. A shocking 2 lb 2 oz total weight popped up on a sub-legal fish. Unreal.
We continued on with no luck, and I was trying to teach Sam how pattern fishing works and how professional anglers try to figure out bass quick to win tournaments. He said I see some good looking logs on the other side of the lake. I never fished that area in the past, so I was worried it was too shallow. We made the short run to Sam's "HONEY HOLE," and it was well worth it. First cast, Sam has a small bass on, but lost it near the boat. We circle back for another run, and I have a GIANT almost take the rod out of my hand. The drag screamed no more than a second and the fish was free. Sam was impressed with that hit. We circled back again, and another hit!!! Sam battled the smallmouth in, Alex got him in the net, and another solid, thick one - 2 lbs 6 oz at 15.25." We ran out of daylight as we tooks pictures and video and released Sam's awesome smallmouths he caught. The boys landed about 7 lb 2 oz of smallmouth in 1.5 hours. Pretty impressive.
We returned to the flowage a few days later, and the water level rose another 6+ inches. The current was decent but the wind was strong from the opposite direction and made boat control a nightmare. We had many poor casts, and our special guest was not feeling well, so we didnt fish very long and very hard. I had hits from two small pike on the DOUBLE BEE WHACKER on our first trials with that lure we invented last winter. We later hit up one of my special spots from Saturday and last fall, and good buddy Sam H. landed a solid smallmouth on a daiquiri colored BASS JERKER. After getting a nice picture with his fish, they called it quits and headed to the boat dock to jump into the water and swim while I loaded the boat.
So this spring and summer, we didnt get out and fish all that much. But with so many 15"-17" bass caught on several of our limited trips, it was an outstanding season. The best part without a doubt was spending time teaching these young boys how to use our lures that we made in our basement and frequently getting nice fish and pictures with these kids. Its so rewarding to hand-craft a lure and go out and fish it with MORE confidence than a mass produced store bought lure. And the success people are having with Alex's Lovertail 2 invention is just mind-blowing. Good Buddy Kevin Rogalski caught another 19+" bass on it a few weeks ago well over 4 pounds again and his Dad got a nice pike on it the same day.
I need to send a special thanks to Kevin M. for taking us out in his boat multiple times this summer, and saving us a very large amount in labor but helping me install our trailer hitch at no charge. Also a special thanks to Jaz Duncan for helping us design our Bee Whacker Largemouth and throwing our lures so much in the FLW BFL events, with risking money on the line with baits that aren't store-bought. Thank you to the Rogalski's for buying our lures, catching big fish on them, and sending us awesome pictures with our lures and their fish. And a huge thank you to the parents that let Alex's school buddies come on our bass fishing / camping / sleepover adventures this summer. I tried to feed them somewhat healthy and get them enough sleep. All of them were very well-behaved and appreciative and I hope I was able to teach them a few things while having a good time in the outdoors.
THANK YOU KEVIN FOR GETTING US BACK ON THE WATER!!!!!!
Kevin Rogalski doing it again - another 4-5 lb Largemouth on the Lovertail 2 Bull Bluegill
16" Largemouth Bass on our new weedless BEE WHACKER LARGEMOUTH by Jaz Duncan
Jesse James is an avid fisherman that loves smallmouth bass fishing, loves spending time with his family, with other family-orientated people, and loves seeing children fish. A huge fan of BASSMASTER Elite Mike Iaconelli, like Mike, he is known to be a little strange, and obnoxious, but only to have fun and make people laugh.