World Class Smallmouth

By Mike Roux

The title of this article will no doubt cause some controversy across the land.  One angler’s definition of “world class” is likely very different from another’s.  However, I will go out on a limb and say a 5-pound brown bass will make any good fisherman sit up and take notice.

This 5-pound barrier is rarely broken and when it is there is cause for celebration. If you happen to be on a fishing trip and you get to touch a 5-pound-plus smallie 3 or 4 times a day, that is remarkable.  I had just such a trip this fall.

I met good friend Jason Brenic at a lake in Michigan that will remain unnamed.  Jason is the American Director for Piscifun Tackle. He had invited me along with 3 other Piscifun Pro Staff members to come to Michigan to work on promotional material for the company.  This work included photography, video production and interviews. All of this depended directly upon our ability to put fish in the boats.

Other members of this expedition included professional fishing guide Jason Drewa of Finseekers Guide Service near Milwaukee.  Also there was Vince Hytry. Vince is also a fishing guide and was the chef of our fishing camp. Finally was Dan Elsner, owner of Get Bit Baits.  His tube jigs were instrumental in our success on this trip.

When was the last time, or any time for that matter, that you saw four 5-pound smallmouth bass in one photo? Jason Brenic and Mike Roux.  (Photo by Jason Drewa)

When was the last time, or any time for that matter, that you saw four 5-pound smallmouth bass in one photo? Jason Brenic and Mike Roux.

(Photo by Jason Drewa)

Heading North

As I drove away from central-Illinois I was praying for cooler temperatures in Michigan.  The thermometer on my truck’s dash fell steadily as I made my way north. By the time I arrived at camp it was 46-degrees and I was in a much better mood.  An inch of snow fell that night and I was elated.

Fishing began the next morning with me being the third angler in Jason Drewa’s guide boat.  Most of Drewa’s guiding is for walleye and pike so his boat is big and had plenty of room for the three of us.  Jason Brenic drew first blood.

The first fish in the boat that day was a solid 4-pound smallmouth bass.  I was overjoyed! It has been a really long time since I had seen a smallie that big.

Brenic immediately said, “They are bigger than this in here.” You see, Jason Brenic had scouted this lake back in September so he knew it’s potential.  He had not brought us to this particular body of water by accident.

I understand that the following couple of paragraphs may be a bit hard for you to believe.  It was difficult for me to grasp, and I was there. Over the next 2-days the 5 of us caught over 130 smallmouth bass.  The average weight of the 130 fish was OVER 4-POUNDS! We had over a dozen over 5-pounds and, as most fishing stories go, we all lost our biggest smallie of the trip at the boat.

PISCIFUN American Director Jason Brenic with well scouted trophy smallmouth.  (Photo by Mike Roux)

PISCIFUN American Director Jason Brenic with well scouted trophy smallmouth.

(Photo by Mike Roux)

Bronze Bombers

It is very hard for me to put into words just how strong a 5-pound smallmouth is.  They are a fighting, wriggling muscle. On the line is there is no fish that compares, pound-for-pound, to the fight of a smallmouth bass.  Even when you get your thumb in their mouth they are strong enough to twist your wrist and escape. But that was a problem we were willing to endure to get to touch that many 5-pound bronze bass.

They hit everything we threw at them, especially Dan Elsner’s GET BIT tube jigs.  Many nice walleye also enjoyed hammering Elsner’s tubes. And Vince Hytry kept us well fed on fried walleye and northern pike.

Jason Brenic brought a highly experienced team of professional angers to Michigan for a very complex task for PISCIFUN.  The results were better than any of us could have ever expected.

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