19) Fall Top Water Bite, N. Channel, St. Clair R. Sept 19

Bob's Banger Popper Kayak Bass

Big number of hits on Poppers, 5 good bass landed, many more missed, many lost partly due to unusual circumstances.  I screwed up what was probably the Smallmouth of a life time.  No Pike even though I tried.

The North Channel of the Saint Clair River often runs crystal clear, today it was dissapointingly cloudy, 5 foot visibility at  best, when the sun got higher you could make out the color of the bottom in 7 feet.   I started with a big 3/0 Chartreuse Marabou Banger.  Casting it to the cottage breakwalls and shallower inlet channels as I drifted down steam.  I got to a good spot and hooked or got hit by 4 small bass in only a short stretch of shore.  It is common to loose small fish hooked on big hooks because they don't offer enough resistance to get the hook set well.   Its All Good, you don't want to hurt them or even count them or take their picture.  I thought, this is cool, I should take video, Next cast I got immediately hit by a good bass who also go off quickly, couple of cast later I got the first decent bass. 

Kayak St. Clair River Bass, 3/0 Topwater Banger Fly

 A few casts later and in the same short stretch of shore, I missed one or two hits from good fish and got this black spotted bass.

Kayak St. Clair River Bass, 3/0 Topwater Banger Fly

Further down the shore, I saw a big fish busting minnows out in the current 20 feet beyond some sparse bulrushes.  Good Smallmouth, I was looking to get a shot at him later but first tried for more bass in the small bay that was next. No luck there.A couple of guys in a Bass Boat were working down steam to where I thought it best to anchor in the mouth of that bay and fish water I didn't expect to catch any thing. 

Last time here I caught two good fish in the good water just down stream and two guys in a different bass boat jumped into the small bay right behind me, caught a bass and lost a pike.  When I got back to the bay later I thought their big boat had scared all the fish out.  When they finally got a little down stream, I moved down into the good water and resolved to set the hook, fight and land any fish on the down low.   I hooked 3 good fish, fought them down low and lost them.  After the bass boat was gone, I went back over this water and got 2 good fish.  

  The sun was higher and I switched to a more subtle 2/0 pale Yellow Marabou Banger.  Fishing this spot, I often see bass ghosting below the popper, too timid to hit.  I have had some success casting to the deeper pockets behind the shallower water, stopping the retrieve, waiting out a long pause, Diddle Wiggling the popper or otherwise trying to finesse a bite from these bass timid about hitting close to shallow water.  One bass came toward the popper just as I was picking up for the next cast.  He wouldn't come back.  Lost a 14 inch smallmouth and got the last bass on the smaller popper.

Kayak St. Clair River Bass, 2/0 Topwater Banger Fly

 There was no taker in the current just out from the bulrushes.  I put on a bite leader and went to the back of the bay to see if I could get a 3rd dance with Pinky the Pike on the exact same 3/0 Chartreuse Banger he had hit twice before.  No luck.

I had to try for the big smallmouth that often come up for a popper out in the current flat.  A 3/0 Silver White Banger with extra Opal flash past the tail caught my eye, flash could be the best bet for drawing a fish up from the cloudy depths.  I had low expectations, wasn't taking video, wasn't even watching the popper when it got hit with a Musky sized blow up.  I busted him off with and overreaction hooks set.  Two guys motoring back up stream just beyond the water I was casting over saw the whole thing and made some comment about how badly I screwed it up.  The fish came up again and then again trying to shake the hook and the 10lb tippet still attached.  Bass don't usually hit that explosively, but I got a good look at her twice and she was almost certainly a big smallmouth.   Then I saw my popper floating free down steam.  I Tried to repeat that with the same big banger and a White-Chartreuse Jiggy fished deep with no luck. 

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