I started them on a shoal inside the bay first that produces largemouth. Eric caught a solid 3 lber on a senko but that was it. And then I realized this was going to be a day for the main river smallies. I took them to an area down river and set them up with heavier tubes on an offshore shoal. I've learned with smallies this time of the year, you can't assume they are all deep, because sometimes they will be on top of a shoal . They'll actually come up in the middle of the day. It depends on the day, and you can't assume they will be shallow early and late. Sometimes it's the opposite. A tube with a 3/8 oz head can be thrown on top of the shoal and also worked down the sides into deeper water. They began to catch some smallies that were on the down current end of a shoal, but nothing big and they seemed scattered. I moved them up into a shallow area with rocks and weeds, and again scattered action with smaller fish, and then Ken finally catches a 4lber. But no more. You will here alot about the drop-shotting technique being done by the tournament fisherman. But I have had trouble getting my customers bit consistently doing it. But today was the right day to try it some more. It would seem like the right technique for 3 guys in a bass boat, but it is harder than you think. The best drop shotting areas on the river are in current, and keeping 3 lines vertical is difficult. The tournament pros are in the front using their trolling motor and electronics to position themselves favorably and the guy in the back usually ends up dragging his bait more. Until he figures out how to pitch his bait upcurrent to stay over the top of it. It is a very specific presentation. The size and type of weight makes a difference. Along with the bait on the hook which can be anything nowadays. So I set all 3 of them up with it and spent some time fishing deep. The key depth seemed to be 45-50 ft but they caught a few casting it up onto the shoal also. Eric caught a few doing it, Rich was really having trouble staying over his bait, and Ken ended up getting the most dialed into it. But they all caught fish doing it, they were just all smaller then I'd like to see them catch. But they enjoyed learning a new technique that still got bites. They continued to work with it throughout the day as I moved them around to different spots. At the end of the day I took them back to a shallow area, and Eric catches a 3 lber on a senko and then Ken catches another 4 lber on a tube. I think if it hadn't been so calm and bright, they would have caught more quality fish up shallow. But why not on the drop-shot? Probably because of inadequate boat positioning and electronics. I have decent electronics but not what the tournament guys are using today. And besides, I still would rather see my customers catch the bigger smallmouth on the end of a long cast rather then from straight down. My guided bass trips are also about having fun, not just about producing. These guys could have hired one of the big charter boats and dragged shore lunch up from the bottom fishing that way too. But to me that's not as much fun.
After catching something like 80 bass with me last year, Ken actually brought along a counter this time to count the bass. The tally at the end was 38 but they were counting everything. The drop shot catches alot of what I call "river rats" too. The size limit on the St. Lawrence in 12" and we all agreed about half of that...roughly 19 were of keeper size. All bass were released.
Captain Randy Yager