Thursday, October 07, 2004
Bill Cochran's Mailbag: Bass mail weighs in
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
- Virginia’s hunting totals produce mixed results
- A good trade: Virginia trout for Kentucky elk
- Forget the odds-makers; Salem’s John Crews believes he can win the Bassmaster Classic.
- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
BILL: Do you know where the launch will take place for the BASS Open Tournament? Thank.
GARY: The launch, Oct. 14-16 at Smith Mountain Lake, will take place at the Waterwheel Marina, on the Bedford County side of Hales Ford Bridge (Virginia 122). The scheduled time is 7:15 a.m.
BILL: I am a New York resident that will be fishing as a nonboater in the BASS tournament on Smith Mountain Lake in October. As a nonboater (amateur, co-angler, etc.) I will not be selecting the areas that I fish in. That will be left up to the boater (professional).
Unfortunately I have never been to this lake, so unlike the first two BASS events (Lake Erie and the Hudson River) where I had a general idea of what baits to use and how to fish the water, I do not have any idea about Smith Mountain Lake.
What I'm trying to get is a general understanding of Smith Mountain Lake, what the predominant species are, what are some of the more productive patterns for catching fish (does droppshotting work, crank baits, jerk baits, top water) and what seem to be the best colors.
Would you happen to know where the best places or if there would be some one who may be willing to share some how-to's (not where-to's as I know anglers don't want everyone going to their spots) or do you have some better ideas as to where I could locate this type of information?
MIKE: As you can read in my column this week, heavy rains have muddied the normally clear Smith Mountain Lake and that should be a distinct advantage to a non-resident angler like you. I would suggest fishing stained water or where muddy water meets clear water.
Most likely the discolored water will be from the S-Curve upstream on the Roanoke River arm of the lake and from Bull Run upstream on the Blackwater River side. As for choosing which of these spots to fish, there isn’t a distinct favored. Both will yield bass. The deciding factor could be how quickly the water clears.
“The areas with the stained water are definitely going to be the areas that produce the most fish,” said Dale Wilson, who is a guide and tournament contestant. “Clear water is not going to be where to catch them.”
Smith Mountain contains both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The largemouth appear to be doing well while the smallmouth population is slipping some. It will be a catch of largemouths that win the tournament.
Don’t expect to find schooling fish. The bass will be holding to structure, and that is where they will be caught. Wilson believes the best structure will be rocks, not brush.
The challenge will be to determine if the fish are deep or shallow, or both. That is going to depend upon what the baitfish are doing, Wilson said.
Key lures will be jigs and spinnerbaits, Wilson said. The spinnerbaits will be used for shallow fishing; the jigs for deep fishing. Crankbaits, such as the Rat-L-Trap, should take fish.
Be flexible and creative. Successful patterns at Smith Mountain can change rapidly in the fall, so don’t stick to one too long if it turns sour.
BILL: Who do you pick as the favorite to win the Smith Mountain Open BASS Tournament?
P.H.: I don’t think there really is a strong favorite. There probably are 50 contestants who could get the job done. It is going to depend on who gets onto a productive pattern. Here are some people that will be fun to watch:
CHRIS BIELERT: He lives a long way from Smith Mountain Lake, in Connecticut, but has a proven record on the Northern Open circuit where he sits in second place in the point standings.
TONY BLACK: He is the top Virginian in the standings, at fourth place. He lives in Manassas, close enough to have some familiarity with Smith Mountain.
CHRIS DAVES: Best known as the son of Woo Daves, but don’t let that fool you. He can catch fish.
WOO DAVES: Virginia’s best known bass angler, winner of the 2000 Bassmasters Classic and the most recent Northern Open, he is capable of winning any tournament that he shows up to fish. He ranks 12th in the standings and can be expected to draw a bunch of fans. Smith Mountain, however, isn’t a lake that he fishes often.
KURT DOVE: Ranks 11th in the standings and is from Warrenton.
DAVID DUDLEY: He grew up on the lake and went on to become one of the top money winners in professional fishing, earning more than one million dollars. He operates out of Lynchburg.
JERRY ELDER: When Smith Mountain was new, he was one of the young lions of tournament fishing, wining numerous tournaments. He lives in nearby Lynchburg.
O.T. FEARS: His is a familiar name in BASS tournaments. He has a knack of catching bass in unfamiliar water, which Smith Mountain will be since he lives in Oklahoma.
PETE GLUSZEK: From New Jersey, he is at the top of the standings after two of three tournaments. He’d like to win, but the important thing is to pile up points so he can advance.
GRANT GOLDBECK: This Maryland angler holds third place in the point standings, which means he knows how to deal with tournament challenges.
MIKE HICKS: He is a veteran tournament angle from Mineral who doesn’t particularly like Smith Mountain in the fall, but the discolored water has made it a lot more attractive to him. He is in eighth spot in the standings.
RICK MORRIS: Has wide experience fishing BASS tournaments and is 19th in the point standings. He lives in Lanexa and is familiar with Smith Mountain Lake.
PETER THLIVEROS: One of the top names in BASS fishing, he is from Florida and ranks 23rd in the standings.