Well, the weather forecasts were right. When I WANT them to be wrong, they're not!I met Rob Goffredo at Lake Oneida around 10 AM, and the dark clouds that define fall weather were already pouring in from the west. The heavy rain held off, though, and gave us a 3-1/2 hour window to chase smallmouth. I've mentioned in previous posts that I really enjoy fishing with local talent when I get out on water that I'm not very familiar with. I'd fished Lake Oneida back in the mid 90's, but I really needed to be with a local on this trip. Rob filled the bill perfectly. I first met Rob in the early 90's, when he was working the fishing dept. at one of the Dick's S.G. in Syracuse. Since then, he has fished tournaments from National level to Red Man trail to local club tournies. Oneida is one of his "home waters", so I knew I was in good hands. I was right.
A smallie that fell for a tube
We fished out of Oneida Shores on the extreme SW corner of the lake. It was really the only part of the lake to fish - the SW -W wind made the rest of this 30 mile long lake unfishable. Oneida is only 50' deep at its deepest, and mostly runs 10 - 30' deep. This lake gets very rough with west winds, and that's what we had on Tuesday.
Rob with a swimbait bass
We started trying to locate fish in a nearby channel. They weren't as concentrated as we had hoped, and left that area after taking about 4 or 5 on tubes. The water temp wasn't quite cold enough to concentrate them in that area. Instead, we spent the remaining time drifting weed flats that were 8-15" deep and fan casting swimbaits at first, then some spinnerbaits. The fish were scattered over this structure, but there were enough of them to keep things interesting for the rest of the day. We ended up boating 19 smallmouth, with 15 of them over 14", and 3 were estimated over 4 pounds. ALL were fat and getting fatter for the looming winter months. I LOVE football sized fall smallmouth!
Author's Swimbait smallmouths
The baits of choice on this day were from Strike King. More than half of our fish were taken on Strike King Shadalicious swim baits (4-1/2") in Sexy Shad color. Rob got on a spinnerbait bite toward the end of our trip. Within a half hour of the time we pulled the boat out, the skies opened up, the wind picked up, and all hell broke loose. We were glad to be watching it from a restaurant rather than fighting it in the boat. Even though it didn't rain much while we were on the water, the wind was very heavy. the only way we could fish effectively was by deploying a 60" drift sock, which slowed us down to a comfortable speed. Drift socks are indispensable in situations like these, and are greatly under utilized. I was very glad Rob had his along.
Rob with a big spinnerbait smallie
Another great day to be on the water. And, as I anticipated, thank God for good raingear! I love Fall smallmouths.