this time of winter most anglers can be found in their basements
pitching various plastics into cups, telling stories of the
previous season, and enjoying the warmth of a woodstove and the
latest fishing program--just itching to get out and wet a line.
for a few anglers that can brave the cold and purchase hand
warmers by the dozen, smallmouths can still be caught.
Anglers just have to fish the warm water discharges along
the banks of the river since the main river is typically frozen
solid. Cold water is pulled into a power station then is
discharged down river at a warmer temperature. Discharge water
temperatures typically are around 55 degrees, but will
fluctuate. I find fishing to be at its best when discharge temps
peak. Add a
overcast day to the mix and anglers can rejoice.
I like to keep it simple when fishing this type of
scenario, typically carrying 3 rods and a small tackle box
filled with proven favorites.
On one rod I will have rigged a
Mizmo teaser tube in the
Penrod Purple color pattern. This is one of my favorite tube
colors and most productive.
The biggest thing to remember is to fish the lightest jig
possible. I like
using eighth ounce when possible, because it generates a slow
fall. Keep it slow
because most anglers fish tubes way to fast in the winter.
These lures are designed to sit on the bottom allowing
current to move the skirt.
The more patient you are with this bait the more
rewarding it will become. A typical cast takes a minute or two
on average, and does feel like forever.
My second rod would
have either a 3 or 5-inch curl tail grub.
With this lure I tend to use a slow steady retrieve.
You want the bait to move just fast enough to feel it
dragging on the river bottom deflecting off of whatever it
deflection generates a reaction strike, and along with smallies
it is proven to work well for walleye and musky.
Good color choices are black, blue pearl, chartreuse and
Mardi Gras. I like using a 3/16 ounce jig head painted either
white or black when possible.
Be creative and change colors often when fishing tough.
Even the slightest difference can make or break a angler
in the winter months.
When I carry
a third rod, a jerkbait will be tied on to it..
I tend to use the
Rapala XR8s and 10s in various colors.
Basically in clear water use clear baits like the glass ghost.
Any other scenario, silver and hot steal work well among
others. Once the
bait is in the water at its suspended depth a jerk, pause
technique is used. Experiment with the time between pauses to
give the bass what they want.
What happens is there tends to be dead bait fish in the
discharge area, and this technique simulates dying or injured
bait. Also at times
a still bait works good (deadsticking).
Some other baits I tend to carry are spider and paddle
tail grubs along with flukes and swimbaits in various colors and
sizes. The swimbait
can be a deadly winter bait, and is know for producing big
smallies. On the
other hand the right lures are only as good as the line that
connects them. For
this I have one simple rule.
Sufix 832, 10-pound braid with
8-pound fluro in clear water, and stained water use 30-pound
braid with 14-pound fluorocarbon.
This heavier line is a safety thing in case an angler
would hook up on a toothy critter.
Other thing to remember is know the local rules and
boundaries. And always play it safe.
Look for our weekly
fishing report at
www.penrodsguides.com beginning the middle of March. I fish
the Susquehanna 12 months of the year. Iíd love to teach you the
ropes. Book a trip with me and Iíll help you improve your
Chris Sano, PA
Guide: Ken Penrodís Life Outdoors Unlimited