Here in Michigan we can start fishing bass again the last Saturday of April every year.The 1st month of our bass season is a “catch and release” season.The fish this time of the year are fat and healthy. The females and males alike are putting on the feed bag at this time of the year for the spawn.
One of Lake Erie smallies favorite foods is the Gobies. Gobies are an invasive species that was introduced to the the great lakes via a internally shipping vessels. Gobies are bottom dwelling fish that like cracks and holes among rocks piles and boulders.
One of the best ways to catch this smallies this time of the year and cover lots of water is to drag tubes.The rigging of the tubes are very simple. I like to us a jighead or a tube hook in 1/4 to 1/2 ounce in weight. I generally don’t hide the hook on my tubes when I am doing this style of fishing. But when I am in a super snaggy area I will rig the tube with a insider weight like the Lindy EZ Tube weights.I use the ones with the built in rattle most of the time when dragging tubes.
The color of the tubes I use on a given day will change with water clarity. In my box I carry a white color, a few shades of greens, a gobie colors, yellow perch and some hi-vis colors like chartreuse or bubble gum.
When you dragging tubes what you want to do is use your graph to locate rocks piles or flats with scattered rocks over it.Also large humps or areas with a seres of humps can be very productive this time of the year also.
Once you have located some likely humps motor up wind of the area and let the boat drift with the wind over the area. You want the tube dragging right on the bottom. You can also pop t off the bottom from time to time while doing this. If you are dealing with a lot of wind you want to throw out a drift sock or two to help slow down your boat.
When you catch a fish make a wave-point of that hook up on your GPS. This will help you dial in on the fish faster but also show general areas where fish are holding. Over time you see a pattern of depth that the fish are holding in. You can then move on to other areas that are similar and find more fish.
This technique can produce for you almost year round on Erie for smallies. It is simple and affective. So if you haven’t tried dragging tubes give it a try sometime.