I can’t ever remember starting a fishing trip on Lake Saint Clair where I’ve been 100% comfortable and confident I was going to get into the big fish. Nor have I only caught my intended species because it’s a mixed bag of tricks. I planned on pre-fishing at least four days but due to weather and schedules, I was only able to make it out twice with my brother in law, Sean. My plan was simple; find largemouth and then try to hunt smallmouth. I headed to some prime largemouth territory only to find 65 degree water temps and caught one straggler largemouth. What looks good on charts isn’t necessarily what is going on once you’re on the water. However, the second day I was able to track down some smallmouth which I focused on for the first day of the tournament.
When it comes to kayak fishing, decision making and weighing risks versus rewards is of the utmost importance. I’ve recently written an article on the subject which you can check out here. I always like to fish water I’m familiar with in a tournament. It’s one less thing to worry about and once you find fish, I at least know there is structure that will hold fish. That doesn’t mean they’ll always be there as I found out the second day. More on that later.
St. Clair was somewhat kind to me on the first day. We had to compete with pleasure boat traffic, two other bass fishing tournaments, and weekend anglers. It’s no exaggeration and almost an understatement to say the fish in the area off of Gaulker’s Point were absolutely hammered with pressure. The name of the game was to find isolated clumps of vegetation and work the edges. With somewhat calm water, minus boat wakes, and high skies, the fish were in close to the weeds. Later in the day, there’s no doubt in my mind that the fish got pushed shallow because of the pressure. I found schools of decent smallmouth that were roaming flats in 7-9′ of water. I threw everything I could at them and couldn’t produce that “kicker” fish. I had a lot of them follow but they remained tight-lipped. The “tube” bite was slow but what I did catch was good enough for a limit and 49″.
I contemplated fishing new water on Sunday because there was an additional tournament going on in the area and once I see fish suspended and being pushed around, I’d rather leave that area and find more aggressive fish. Fishing the mouth of the Detroit River crossed my mind and sitting in 13th place, I was still in the game and trailed by about 12″. I needed 20″ fish, which is a real possibility. Realistically, even three 18″ fish could give me the boost I needed. I decidedly went back to the 9 Mile Rd. area with the intention of fishing the morning for smallmouth but if I couldn’t get the job done, I’d hit the channels for largemouth, which is exactly what happened. I found the occasional largemouth that wasn’t afraid of the main lake current and was pushed up close to shore but the bigger girls were back in the channels in strategic locations. An approaching front helped the bite and within a few hours I had six largemouth; three good enough for a 47″ day which was a scramble to produce. That bumped me up into 9th place, overall.
I want to thank Jeff Sherwood, Rich Offner, Robert Field, Summit Sports, and the rest of the crew at KATS Midwest for a smooth and very enjoyable experience.