The Winds of Erie Smallmouths

The Winds of Erie Smallmouths

Meet Jerry Myers, a professional auctioneer and a longtime competitor in tournaments on Erie and elsewhere around the region. Jerry is one of the first people to take me smallmouth fishing on Erie almost 20 years ago. It was in April, while I was there covering a PWT event. Jerry showed me how smallmouths used grooves gouged into the floor of Erie by glaciers 10,000 years ago to access shallow spring foraging sites from deeper wintering habitat.


We used hand-tied fox-hair jigs and Bass'N Bait Company Snakie Spoons back then. The man who invented the Snakie Spoon, Ron Perrine, is here with us on Erie this week, hunting fish in transition. As usual, Myers does most of the finding.

The smallmouths of Erie move a lot in early summer, trying to roll with the punches. Since the invasion of zebra and quagga mussels that cleared the water, smallmouths moved progressively deeper as the water warmed in recent years. Inconsistent water clarity this year, however, has kept them shallower than usual. Affected by a host of factors, the water is cloudier than it has been in recent years. After hunting them for several hours, we found them in depths of 12 to 14 feet—shallower than recent seasons at this point in June.

Wind played a factor, too. It blew at over 20 mph out of the north from about midnight until 3 pm today. Cloudy water and waves keep light levels low. Smallmouths are sight feeders. They stay where they can see what they're after.


Our best method today was a drop-shot rig. I would tell you what we were using, but only Myers knows the name of the products and he crashed. I sit here in Bill Bower's vacation home on the the canals of Port Clinton—the Walleye Capital of the world, where "we drop a fish on a crane for New Years." Bowers says. "Everybody else drops a ball." It's actually called Nugent's Canal. We've stayed here before, filming segments for In-Fisherman TV. Perrine is snoring in a recliner across the room. With any luck, I'll be asleep in 15 minutes or so, in a familiar spot—a loft in Bower's A-frame. (Bowers offers cheap, clean, quaint lodging next door at The Arc—$100 per night for up to 10 people—right on the canal, with access to Erie. Call him—419/234-1872.)

Disdaining the cruel waves of Erie, we ferried the boat to Put In Bay in the famous Bass Islands archipelago. Summer activities were well underway in this famous tourist attraction. We interrupted the famous cardboard boat races to trailer our boat at the public landing. Myers accused me of drawing the crowd as we approached the dock. "Can't be for me," he said. Turns out cardboard boats draw a much bigger crowd, though our waitress at the Mon Ami did ask if we caught any fish.

"Yes," I said. She smiled and went back to cleaning a table. (I'll get Myers to tell me what brand of ringed, paddle-tail grub we were using in the morning.)


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Recipes

Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...

News

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading to its Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography

In-Fisherman - April 29, 2019

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum.

Bass

Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Bait Choices from Skeet Reese

Pro angler Skeet Reese is a Major League Fishing champion and a winner of the Bassmaster Classic and BASS Angler of the Year titles. Throughout his years of bass catching success, as he tells World Fishing Network personality Chad LaChance, Berkley baits like the Deal and Straight Money have played a key role in what he has accomplished out on the water.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Giant Walleyes According To Calendar Periods

The search for big walleyes begins with an understanding of their nature, keying on prime locations during specific times of the year.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

See More Stories

More Bass

Bass

Best ChatterBaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - July 30, 2018

Don't overlook this bait for big bass.

Bass

How to Catch More Creek Smallmouth

Jim Gronaw - May 21, 2018

Throughout the U.S., plenty of smallmouth water resembles trout streams more than "classic"...

Bass

Tactics for Summer Smallmouths in Big Water

Matt Straw - June 28, 2018

Great tips for catching smallies on big water.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×