It's been a week since I returned from Buffalo, NY and I am still thinking about the smallmouth on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. I had always heard about the excellent fishing there and when I had a chance to make a trip, I could not pass it up.
We fished one day on Ontario and two on Erie and each of the days was exciting. I never did get a giant (6lbs plus), but I caught enough 3, 4 and 5lb smallmouth to make me realize how great the Great Lakes truly are.
Since it was still early spring and water temps were just beginning to hit the high 40's and low 50's many of the fish were starting to come shallower water after a long northeast winter. Most of our fishing was done with tube baits and drop-shots in deeper water and jerkbaits in shallow water. All three of these techniques produced tons of fish but the jerkbait bite was my favorite part of the whole trip.
The first day I fished Erie, the Buffalo area had a record high air temp of 88 degrees and the sudden jump in temps really warmed the water. The smallies pushed shallow and you could see them everywhere in the super clear water. It was fun being able to sight fish a jerkbait. We were fishing a shoreline with sand and big boulders mixed in and it was very clear due to the zebra mussels.
As we crusied the shoreline you would see pairs and groups of smallies on patrol. Making a long cast you would nearly always have at least one smallmouth following your jerkbait and often more. It was great being able to pause the bait and see one slowly swim up to it and bite it as it suspended. Being able to see the whole process of the follow, the inspection and strike by a smallmouth gave me some insight about fishing jerkbaits that I will take with me everywhere.
This was one of the first times I have ever used the Yo-Zuri 3DB jerkbaits and 3DB Shad and they were excellent. Even though the 3DB Shad is really a crankbait, I fished it like a jerkbait and would reel fast to get it down deep and then fish it like a jerkbait with a "twitch, twitch, pause" retrieve. I like the flash and great colors that they offer and have become a big fan of all of their baits.
It was also my first time ever using Lew's rods and reels and they have an excellent jerkbait rod in the Custom Speed Stick series. It's actually a 7'2" Medium crankbait rod but worked great for these jerkbaits. I paired it with a Lew's Team Lite Speed Spool baitcast reel and 10lb Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon.
If you are interested in going, this is a good site with info on the area, www.niagara-usa.com.