Duane Petrosky
Middleville MI
In June of 2016, I was floating my favorite smallmouth river and I spooked a huge bass after getting snagged on a log. I have fished the particular river for 20 years and had never seen one as big so I made a mental note of the log jam and how I was going to fish it next time in hopes of catching the monster that disappeared into the tangle while I was retrieving my lure. My plan was to float the river in a week and focus on this fish.The day before my scheduled float we received a huge amount of rain and the river blew out. I knew it would be a couple weeks till the conditions would be perfect so I waited.

After a couple weeks the water level dropped and cleared to the perfect depth to float in search of the monster that I knew lived in the big log jam. On the hour or so it takes to get to there the fishing was very slow. The fish were relating to cover differently than they normally did and I was a little worried that the flood may have moved things around enough to change the patterns of the big bass in the river.

When I finally reached the log jam, I worked the upstream edge with my jig and crayfish, the lure that normally drew the big ones out of the depths but nothing hit. I moved my drift boat up against the leading edge of the tangle and began probing each slot of water with the jig but only drew the bite of one small pike, which can be a bad sign on this river since the big smallies and pike seldom shared attack points. I worked every nook, every branch, every rock but no bite. Maybe the fish was caught or moved.

I decided to switch to a top water lure that I could work over top of the cover. My first cast was perfect, it landed in the farthest pocket of water. I twitched it once, popped it hard and let the current carry it over the worst part of the tangle. On the second cycle of twitches and pops the lure disappeared into the tangle and the fight was on. I somehow got the fish to come up over the first branch and it was in open water with about ten feet till and dense tangle of brush. It dove and then rocketed out of the water and I got it to completely clear the worst of the tangle. The fish once again dove and wrapped up on a log. I thought it was lost but somehow it changed its mind and shot out of the water and was under the log right next to my boat. I fought it up and into my net.

Over the 20 some years I have fished the river, this fish was a full inch longer than the biggest I have caught. The 23 inch Michigan river smallmouth is the not only the longest I have caught, it has shoulders like the lake fish. After a couple quick pictures I put it back so I will have the chance to catch it again.

Date Caught: 08/07/2016
Kept / Released: Released
Region of Catch: Region 1
Length: 22 inces
Lure / Bait used: Lure | Pop