One of the five smallies I pulled out of one spot

After a great adventure on the Rogue, I decided to get up early again the next morning and head back. I woke up at 4am eastern time (which of course, once again, was 3am my time), made a pot of coffee, and drank it as quickly as possible.

I went out to my car to get going, and I took note of how dark it was. It didn’t seem like sunrise was close at all. A quick search on my phone told me sunrise wasn’t for more than an hour, and here I was all caffeinated and ready to go. It would only take 30-40 minutes to get to the river, and I wasn’t prepared to wade in the dark… So I headed to Meijer.

I may have mentioned Meijer before; it’s a Michigan grocery store that sells lots of other stuff. Stuff like clothes, dishes, and fishing gear. It also happens to be open 24 hours a day.

I walked into the Meijer at about 4:15am, the same Meijer where I bought shaving cream and some cologne right before my wedding a couple years ago. Made my way to the back, found the fishing section, grabbed 2 tiny Rooster Tails just like the one Rob let me borrow the previous day. I threw in a bag of beef jerky for good measure.

A short drive later I was at the river, the same place Rob caught the 14″ brown. I got into the water and immediately noticed a fish hanging out in very shallow water. I fished it, but it paid no attention. I slowly crept up behind it, coming from downstream; it made no indication it knew I was there.

Amazed, I got closer and closer. It was a trout, but I couldn’t tell what kind. There was clearly something wrong with it, because I was a foot behind it and it was just hanging out. Could it have been asleep?

I slowly reached down, stretching out my hands around it… Was this really happening? In a quick movement I closed my hands around the fish, pulled it out of the water; suddenly it woke up and jumped out of my hands back into the water.

Does that count as catching a fish? I kept thinking “did I just catch a fish with my bare hands!?”

I slowly worked my way downstream, throwing spinners, spinners, and other spinners, hoping to entice some trout. I saw them jumping now and then; they were certainly there. After an hour I reached a stretch with deeper and slower water. I couldn’t wade through it due to its depth, so I decided to head back to the car and try another spot.

Using my phone’s GPS, I located a nice bend in the river a couple miles downstream. I navigated through farmland and some really nice residential areas while sipping my coffee. I mean chugging my coffee. I found a nice gravel area to park, noticed the refreshing lack of “no fishing” and “no parking” signs and headed into the water.

I fished all the spots that seemed fishy, but couldn’t find any fish. I did see what I thought was a carp swim upstream, but that was all the action there.

I found another spot and another gravel pull off, and headed down to the water under a bridge. This stretch was closer to the Grand River, and seemed to me to be more smallmouth bass water. Slower current, slightly deeper water; gravel and boulders on the bottom. Standing in the flowing water, very refreshing in the warming morning air, I tried to analyze what I was seeing. Downstream got shallow quick, and the current picked up considerably. Upstream of the bridge seemed to be shallow mud flats, devoid of any structure or current breaks. I concluded if I were a smallmouth bass, I would choose to hang out near the bridge supports in the little eddies.

First cast with my jig and twister, and there was a hit. Not a pan fish tap tap, but a much stronger BAMBAM. Could I have finally found some fish?

Second or third cast I connected with something BIG! After all the trout fishing, it’s as if I had forgotten what a big old beefy smallmouth bass felt like (even though I caught one the day before). After a tremendously entertaining fight, I lipped the fish and marveled at its amazing coloration.

In the next two hours, I proceeded to pull out four more smallies and two big rock bass, all on the twister. I tried tossing some tubes, crankbaits, spinners; but they were clearly telling me what they wanted. 1/16oz jig with a 3″ white twister tail, smacked right into the bridge supports and falling into the water. Each bass was an amazing fight- they didn’t leap out of the water too much, but they were very strong and determined. Most of them swam around me in circles; one even rammed me in the thigh. Since I was so close to shore, I was able to get some nice pictures by propping up my phone and setting a picture timer.

Look at those colors!

I worked every support, and they all pretty much had fish. After a while it seemed I had “tagged” all the fish in the area, and doubted there would be fish anywhere else nearby judging by the lack of structure and type of current. But what do I know, I could have missed even more! The fish I caught were bigger and stronger than most of the fish I’d caught on the Fox, and I had a great time catching them. I packed it up, headed back to my car, amazingly and completely satisfied.

He doesn’t look big, but he was FAT


4 responses

  1. Great poast Chris,Great cola colored bass there. I always wanted to fish that river but never got to it. I think you almost caught the fish with you bare hands, very close, too bad it flopped away. It is just amazing to see how far yu have come in such a short time. This is why I like blogging I feel like I am along for the ride, thanks for sharing.

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