Old friend, Dave Mull, took the drive all the way from Paw Paw, Michigan, to test the chilly, 43 degree, Buffalo Harbor waters of Lake Erie. The reason was simple: BIG BASS are in their customary, pre-spawn, feed cycle.
Fishing Eastern Lake Erie within sight of Buffalo City Hall with guide Jeff Draper, Mull joined forces with Ray Lynch from Realtree and Charlie Puckett of Flambeau Company to search for the giant bass known to be found here during the month of May.
The recent 35-40 degree mornings made fishing a bit chilly, but this crew came prepared with the proper weather gear. If the fishing was uncomfortable, some of the catching made up for it!
While Mull said the smallmouth were a bit finicky, the trio still caught nine chunky bass, including a personal best for Mull. The monster smallmouth tipped the scales at 6 pounds – 7 ounces! Mull is a distinguished outdoor media professional and is digital editor for Midwest Outdoors Magazine and Television and director at Inner Viking Media Services
New York State Department of Environmental Fisheries Biologists report that the best Lake Erie smallmouth bass fishing of the entire year is in the spring near rocky reefs, harbor waters and tributary streams. The bass caught can make for great fun because the bass are concentrated in those areas, catches of 40, 50 and even more numbers of fish in one outing are not uncommon. With some of the largest bass caught in spring, anglers do travel from distant places to catch the trophy of a lifetime. New York now offers a special trophy bass season to support the recreational angler interest in the big bass fishery.
The last five state record smallmouths have come from Lake Erie, with the current record standing at 8 lbs., 4 oz. Anglers can enjoy this early trophy bass season on Lake Erie, which runs from the 1st Saturday in May until the 3rd Saturday in June, when the regular bass season opens. During this early season, there is a one fish limit and 20″ minimum size requirement. The bass are feeding on smelt and emerald shiner forage found in these locations where the water warms up early.
Local anglers concentrate fishing with tube jigs dragged on bottom and flutter tail jigs cast and retrieved (swimming style) near gravel rubble in 10 to 25 feet of water. Deep diving stickbaits that swim near bottom are also effective.
For more information: visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/58757.html
Map is courtesy of NYSDEC (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/lakeeriesmb.pdf)