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Smith Mtn Lake, 3 MAY 2020

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  • Smith Mtn Lake, 3 MAY 2020

    Got out for what I had planned on being a full day. That notion was cut short by the return of normalcy to SML. The place was overrun with jet skis. I mean thousands of them. A story on this later on.

    Put in at the state park and was pleased to see it about half full. Slight stain on the water and 62.5* at launch. Perfect. I motored down lake about 2 miles to resume my work on main lake coves and smaller feeder creeks. My first stop was a place I'd fished before but had not spent any time studying. Marked 65* when I dropped the TM. Reached for the spook and did not put it down until after 9. A couple punks, one small keeper, and several misses. The misses were prob a function of my choice in bait color. My go-to color is clear, esp for SML, Anna, and other clear water lakes. In retrospect something that would've given me some contrast, like bone or silver, may have made it easier for the fish to get a visual on. Just a thought.

    When the topwater water bite played out I switched to a DT 6 and hooked up almost right away. Solid 4+ fish that was sitting on top of a brush pile. The bait had barely ticked a branch on the pile when it loaded up in a big way. As I worked my way into one of the [many] coves in this complex I came across a good shade line. Put the DT 6 down and picked up the spook. Didn't take long to hook up again. Fish were right up on the edge in maybe 12" of water. Followed up the misses w/ a small swimbait and was able to pick up a couple of those fish.

    From there I ran uplake about 2 miles above the state park so I could resume charting some of the water I'd visited in previous weeks. Was having a really productive charting session when I was overrun by a jet ski. The story: A kid maybe 8 years old decided he would run laps around me. Now, I'm fairly close to the shoreline and even closer to a couple of docks that extend a good way out into the water. This little turd (I'm being kind here) was cutting turns between me and those docks with little room to spare. Fortunately his father (?) was on one of those docks and was desperately trying to get the kid to stop. I eased up to the dock and had a brief exchange w/ the man on effective parenting and VA requirements for the safe (emph added) operation of PWCs. He did apologize profusely but that pretty much put a wrap on that piece of water for me. I revisited some old stuff on the way back to the park. Managed to pull 3 fish off of one point, incl a nice 4 lb'er, before calling it quits. Was a short but wild ride back to the park. The trip was made complete by another chapter of Adventures in Boat Launching by New Boat Owners. Had a good visit w/ a couple of other fishermen who were also waiting to recover. We enjoyed a good laugh as we watched.

    Observations: 1) WTs ranged from 62.5 at launch to 66 downlake. Saw 62-64 uplake. 2) Slight stain at the state park (~5' of viz). It clears as you go down lake, increases a bit as you go up. Perfect. (Sorry, clear water doods.) 3) Lots of bait in the back of coves and it's all fairly shallow. WTs in some places are about right for the shad spawn. Also about time for the bluegill. Gonna be interesting as this next full moon approaches. A couple of the bass I caught today were loaded and waiting to make their final moves. We're gonna see multiple species spawning at the same time, methinks. 4) Aside from the topwater bites, 6-8' was the magic range today. Fish were not as tight to the deck but still hovering close to the bottom. Bites were wicked today. 5) Points produced the best today. Wind blowing across was better than wind blowing in on. Proximity to the channel wasn't a factor. Proximity to cover (stump, rock, brush, dock) was. 6) Docks on points were a good thing. Docks on points with brush off the front end were special.

    We've all heard/read that when the bite is tuff cover water using a power fishing technique until you find active fish, then slow down and pick that area apart with a slower presentation. This is what I did all morning. The 3 fish I caught off of the my last stop are the perfect case study. I managed to catch a small keeper on a moving bait. I backed off and worked the point over w/ the c-rig. Bang, bang, bang. All in about 10 minutes. Now, I had to cover some water to get to this place but that's kinda the deal, right?

    It appears as if SML is well on its way to standard warm weather operations. Believe I will shift to weekday trips going forward, esp if I want to fish for more than a few hours. Be advised that many new purchases were made during the stay-at-home period and all of those new PWC owners are beginning to come out. It's clear to me doing the water safety course was not part of their shut-in activities. Stay alert, stay alive.


  • #2
    Anna on the last two saturdays was zoo as well. In VA, you MUST be 14 or older to operate a PWC.

    It was rough enough last saturday that my new fury 4 25p that was worked by Mark Croxton threw an ear. I didn't notice as it was apparently just as I shut down to come in to HP. I felt the surge then but didn't put it together until I launched this last saturday and had a terrible vibration. Of course I didn't bring one of my 3 spare props, so ran over to Sturgeon and a big shout out to Chris who gave me a new Tempest 25p at cost. That is 2 Fury's that have failed on me and I have less than 90 hours on boat, this one with less than 15 hours on it and pristine. Mark says once they are worked, no warranty, but he is checking....No more Fury's for me.....and no, I don't run them shallow.....rooster tail is always below the motor, actually I don't like to have one at all after watching some video's of pro's running they don't have much of one.....

    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.



    • #3
      wow, steve - that's crazy. glad you got in safely.


      • #4
        My Trophy Plus's have held up nice for the last 14 years.
        2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
        2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
        2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
        2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
        "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."


        • #5
          Nice report 31! The Chick river is seeing plenty of rec traffic on the weekends also! You would think it's full blow summertime now!!! Was on Gaston about a month ago and it was the same thing!!

          2004 Fishers of Men VA-East Division Champions



          • #6
            I won't go near Smith, even on a weekday after mid April. I'll night fish down there some during the week in May, but no daytime stuff. Can't handle it.


            • #7
              I love reading a detailed report like that! Thanks 31!


              • #8
                Nice report. Close to 20 years ago, my buddy and I had a similar issue near the Walkerton ramp on the Mattaponi. We found a nice little part of the river protected from wake behind a sand bar with a lot of lily pads. Some dummy with his kids in rec boat decided he would buzz through there in multiple circles all the while smiling at us with this stupid look on his face. This lasted until my redface friend yelled, "What the F*** are you doing?!!!?" I'm not sure he heard what was said but he could see we weren't smiling back. We never saw him again.

                There's a ramp just outside of Vinton. I was thinking about launching the yak down there in the fall. Is there good fishing near it?
                Thank God For Rednecks


                • #9
                  not familiar w/ that part, PF. I've been up in the Blackwater arm just not that far. lots of tournament anglers make the run that way so something is drawing them . . .