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Winter time Smallmouth hottest method

January 18, 2019
By

BY Chris Erwin
In this article, I am going to give you everything you need to know to catch smallmouth right now.
Kentucky has more running water than any other state except Alaska, and we also have two of the top lakes for catching smallmouth bass. Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake are unsurpassed by any lake in the east. While Dale Hollow holds the world record smallmouth caught by David Hayes, the fish weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces, that was in 1955. However, the lake has continued to produce huge smallmouth.

JD Rose holds a Smallmouth caught on Lake Cumberland using the Tight Line method


Cumberland Lake is known for Stripers but long before the Stripers were put in the lake. The smallmouth bass was drawing anglers from all over the United States and beyond. The lake is clear, deep and teeming with fish.
While they produce good fish year round, it is known worldwide that when the water gets cold (under 55 dregs.), there is no better place to be fishing than Dale or Cumberland.
One of our own Dustin Rose and his son JD were transferred after Dustin’s Job took him downstate, but it put him even closer to these two lakes. I talked to Dustin today, I know he’s a cold water enthusiast, and I wanted to know if he had been on the water along with what they were catching their fish on.
While the excess rainfall was keeping the fish out of their normal pattern, it’s just now beginning to heat up. This is a different kind of fishing using light line (4-6 pound) on spinning gear. The rod they use is a seven-foot rod medium action with a fast tip. The lure is a Gulp three-inch minnow on a 1/8 hair jig. The method is called “Tight Lining.”
The bank should be sloping at about 45 dregs. Look for bank made up of rock, mud, and gravel. The boat is backed out just about one cast from the bank making a 45dreg cast down the bank. You do not reel in the bait; instead, you let it drop down the ledge all the while you’re shaking the lure. The tight line part of it is just staying up with the slack as the lure falls until it’s under the boat.
The question needs to be asked, what are we trying to do here? With water temps, less than 55 dregs Shad will begin to die. As the baitfish die they struggle and jump around frantically and the smallmouth takes advantage of the easy prey. You are just making your bait look as much like the dying shad as possible.

Dustin Rose father of JD also caught his share of Smallmouth using the same method


The trick here is landing a fish known to be one of the strongest fighting fish for its size on the planet. While you are doing this using 4-6 pound test line. You must learn to back reel playing the fish slow knowing the fish is going to make a stabbing run once he breaks the surface.
Many anglers get the fish to the surface of the water only to see the break your line and take your stuff home with them.
Dustin said, “It takes some getting used to, but you can’t beat it to warm you up on a cold day.one strike, and you will be hooked.” People, it’s getting that time. Every year we have people from our area making their way to these two lakes to test the clear cold water of Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow. If you make the trip, drop me a line and show me your fish. God Bless and stay safe put on your life jacket with water this cold falling out of the boat could be deadly.

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