Tag Archives: Smallmouth Bass

Pewaukee Lake Guide Trips 6-20-17

Pewaukee Lake Guide Trips 6-20-17HookedUp101 began guide trips this week on Pewaukee Lake in partnership with the Pewaukee Park and Recreation Department!

Groups of up to 3 anglers are embarking on two 3-hour trips to learn the basics on how to enjoy fishing on Pewaukee Lake.

Tuesday June 20th saw 3 groups go out and become proficient at identifying at least 3 different freshwater fish species, utilizing a spinning rod/reel combo, applying a variety of
artificial and live bait presentations.

The kids are also interpreting down and side imaging sonar as well as GPS and lake counter mapping.

In addition, each participant will receive their very own Shakespeare rod/reel combo with a line, a tack pack sampler and a Hooked Up 101 Fishing Academy t-shirt following their last session.

The following video highlights the 3 groups who took part in the fishing action on Day 1 of these trips! Enjoy!

Delavan Lake Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass

Delavan Lake Northern Pike and Smallmouth BassDelavan Lake, located about 45 minutes from the Lake Country area, is a destination lake that offers some great summer Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass Fishing.

HookedUp101 recently took a 5-hour trip to chase the trophy fish that this body of water produces.

The morning started with some casting as the dense fog covering the lake made navigation a bit slower to the first destinations we’d like to have fished. We decided to stay closer to the launch and cast Berkley Skinny Cutter 110+’s for a few Largemouth Bass and smaller Northern Pike while waiting for the fog to lift.

Berkley-SkinnyCutter110After an hour we were safe to venture out to specific points on Delavan an began presenting medium suckers and chubs on live bait rigs on hard bottom areas adjacent to steep drop offs in search of some toothy Pike and beastly bass.

Here’s a brief video that captures the results!

Nagawicka Smallmouth Bass Wonderful Southeast Wisconsin Resource

Nagawicka Smallmouth Bass Wonderful Southeast Wisconsin ResourceKids of HookedUp101 and their parents have spent the latter part of May and early June enjoying a wonderful resource we have in Nagawicka Lake in Southeast, Wisconsin. The Smallmouth Bass Fishing is absolutely wonderful this time of the season!

img_1257At 900+ acres in size, approximately 90 feet deep at it’s deepest point, and filled with a rich perch forage base for gamefish, Nagawicka Lake has some great contour structure and cover to provide these bronzeback feeding machines a great habitat for growth.

As spring turns to early summer, the smallmouth bass are just coming off the spawn and the steep breaks near spawning flats on the west side of the lake are notorious for holding numbers of post-spawn fish that are looking to feed up and recoup from their  annual procreation rituals.

PBBPT25-BRGROne of the best techniques for targeting these hungry fish is dragging a 3 1/2″ PowerBait Power Tube in Breen Green color rigged on a 1/4 oz. Tube jig. This presentation closely mimics the perch in Nagawicka and the smallmouth bass can’t handle this presentation dragged in front of their noses.

img_1246We’ll typically cast these baits up wind paralleling the drop off and then let the wind drift us perpendicular to the flats keeping the boat in 17-22 feet of water. Methodical lifts of a 7′ spinning rod rigged with 8 lb. Fluorocarbon line  gets the attention of the fish. When that tube jig is lowered back down on a tight line, the bite will either feel mushy as they inhale the bait, or you’ll get a ‘thump’ feeling transmitted in the line. Generally if you feel a thump and your line heads for deeper water or up the break that indicates there is more than one fish present in that area interested in the presentation.

img_1258After catching fish with that scenario we’ll either throw out a marker buoy OR drop a waypoint on the Humminbird so that we can motor back up and redo that same drift immediately. More often than not we can quickly catch 2 or 3 more fish on subsequent passes.

Year after year I enjoy getting young anglers hooked up with some of the biggest bass of their lives and I always encourage img_1326that kids take their parents back to Nagawicka as soon as possible to enjoy the same success in this dragging tube technique!

For information on how to catch these big smallmouth on Nagawicka Lake prior to the spawn in early May, check out this post as their’s Nothing Small about Pre-spawn Smallmouth Bass either!


Brothers Catch Smallmouth Bass on LaBelle

Brothers Catch Smallmouth Bass on LaBelleOwen and Gavin enjoy catching all kinds of fish, but there’s something about the smallmouth bass on Lake LaBelle that have them starting their 2016 season off with some smiles!

What’s NOT to like about smallmouth bass?! They jump, they pull hard, they never give up, and their pretty aggressive to bite when the timing is right!

Last season, the duo began their fishing season seeking walleyes on Lake LaBelle to start their summer vacation. This year, however, the boys didn’t wait for school to end and enjoyed some spring, pre-spawn Smallmouth bass fishing to kick off their Memorial Weekend!

img_1284It was only the first trip of many they have booked for the 2016 season and this first 3-hour trip was admittedly slower than we’d like the first 2 hours after Gavin only catching a Rock Bass!

img_1281However, it was only a matter of time before the fish would turn on! As soon as Owen hooked his first Yellow Bass of the night, we new the casting bite was about to explode during this last hour.

We took to some of the most productive rocky shorelines of LaBelle in search of bass and the boys started to have an hour of fast action casting Berkley Powerbait Pro Grubs on 1/8 oz. Berkley Gulp Darter Jig heads!

After a quick 8 legal fish in the boat including a bonus largemouth bass, the sunset over the lake to conclude the boys’ first trip of the season!

Lake LaBelle Residents Enjoy a Multi-Species Guide Trip with HookedUp101

Lake Residents Enjoy a Multi-species Affair onLaBelleLake LaBelle residents, Jackson and his father Jack, hopped aboard the HookedUp101 Skeeter MX to gain a few tips for targeting a multitude of fish species on their home lake.

LaBelle, located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, offers a variety of fishing opportunities for this family to enjoy including, panfish, small and largemouth bass, northern pike, muskie, and walleye.

We’ve spoken plenty in the past on the HookedUp101 blog about the quality of fishing fun that can be had on LaBelle, and the first trip of the 2016 open water season  was  a great way to begin the season with father and son!

img_1121Shortly after pulling up to their dock, Jack and Jackson shared a few of their favorite fish stories from their own experiences fishing the lake. I may have just met this family for the first time, but I can tell Jackson is a TRUE fisherman…he was VERY tight-lipped about his favorite ‘hot spot’! When I attempted to ask him more details about his story detailing the day he pulled out multiple perch cast-after-cast he just smirked!

On this trip the goal was to provide the father and son duo with a few more seasonal spring hot spots and techniques in order to have them duplicate our morning and experience even more successful outings on their own.

At first light we targeted some key stretches of shoreline with a combination of presentations including a jig-and-grub tail and a soft plastic stick bait rigged  ‘wacky style’.

img_1084 This 1-2 combo would let us know the mood the fish were in following the overnight air temps that dipped 30 degrees. The jig-n-grub tail would look to appease the aggressive fish and coax a reaction strike, while the stick bait would fall subtly to entice sluggish fish into feeding on an easy meal.

Jackson and his jig-n-grub tail were quickly on the board as a nice chunky smallmouth bass that struck right next to the boat.

img_1093After a few smallmouth were caught shallow, we decided to move offshore and begin targeting walleyes in deep water with live bait rigs. After a 10-minute pass dragging small suckers on circle hooks, Jackson was rewarded with a nice 18″ walleye!

img_1095Towards the end of the trip, the live bait rig proved to be rather deliberate so we decided to take our game to the fish and start trolling with #5 and #7 Flicker Shads attempting to cover water quicker in search of walleyes willing to bite!

Despite the cold spring weather, the fishing action throughout the trip was just hot enough to keep these LaBelle Lake residents toasty with smiles each time they tied into a  fish willing to bite.

img_1122I’m very glad to have shown Jack and Jackson some key ingredients to success on this body of water as they take subsequent trips this spring on their own.

We’ll be seeing more from these two as they have a few more trips booked for the upcoming summer on various Waukesha County Lakes!


Family Fishing Nagawicka Lake

Nick, Aaron, and Ben on Nagawicka LakeLast season, Nick’s cousin, Ben, ventured over from Michigan to visit his Lake Country relatives. During that time we had a good time with the kids out on the boat on Nagawicka Lake catching Walleye, Pike, Smallmouth Bass, and even a couple Gar!

img_1732Fast forward nearly a year and Ben has returned to Southeast, Wisconsin and Nick invited him to fish Nagawicka again along with friend Aaron.

The boys got their trip scheduled during a mid-summer cold front that saw the air temperatures drop from the mid 80’s to the mid 60’s within a few short hours. Water temps cooled by 5 degrees and we had a prevailing NNE wind that swung gently to the East during their trip.

img_1735STILL…the boys came out and caught a few fish through some great teamwork and determination.

A 32″ Northern Pike topped the night as Ben hoisted this fish along with a smaller 20″ class fish.

img_1739Several other fish struck short on our deep and shallow presentations and went on to live in the lake without their photograph being captured with one of the boys. We even had a couple gar follow the boys’ baits back to the boat during their retrieve!

Nick didn’t let this nice smallmouth bass get away as he got all 3 treble hooks of his jerk bait solidly into this fish and put it in the net just prior to dark.

Nick is off on to vacation soon and we’ll see Nick and friend, Aaron out to pursue Musky on Pewaukee Lake later on this summer!

Smallmouth and Walleye on Lake LaBelle

Smallmouth and Walleye on Lac LaBelleLake Lac LaBelle continues to produce quality fish for HookedUp101 Anglers to enjoy!

Recently Nick and his friend Aaron embarked on a 4-hour trip to target walleye and smallmouth bass.

img_1534Live bait rigs and casting Berkley Havoc 4″ Havoc Beat Shads and 4″ Powerbait Gulp Grub Tails on a 3/16 oz jig head produced a ton of fish for the boys!

There’s something about sharing the boat with a good friend, talking baseball, fishing, and even girls that makes it seem truly like summer!

Here’s a video recap of some of their fishing action! Enjoy!

Well done Nick and Aaron! We’ll see you right before the 4th of July for some Muskie fishing on Pewaukee!

It’s All About the Pause When Jerkbaiting for Smallmouth

It's All About the Pause When Jerkbaiting for SmallmouthA great tactic for spring and early summer bass, walleye, and northern pike is a jerk bait! This presentation excels when the water temperatures are in the 40 F – 70 F range.

A jerkbait is a long, slender lure that possesses a lip  responsible for achieving a shallow (5-8ft) or deep (8-12ft) running depth when retrieved through the water column. The bait typically is equipped with 2-3 sets of treble hooks underneath the bait and they roll and dart when an angler imparts action on the bait though the rod or by simply retrieving the lure with their reel.

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth BassWhen fishing jerk baits with the kids we typically choose a 6’6″ to 7′ Medium action spinning rod. the reel of choice is a size 20 or 30 spinning reel with 8-10lb test line.

As in their namesake, jerkbaits are retrieved by  a series of quick jerks with the rod tip in order to imitate the movement of a smaller bait fish. During the retrieve, HookedUp101 anglers are instructed to be mindful of a pause during their retrieval cadence. This pause allows the angler to take up the slack in the line caused by the jerks of the rod but most importantly stalls the bait in the water making it appear vulnerable to a fish in pursuit. The length of the pause will vary from day to day throughout the season, but as a general rule, the cooler the water, the longer the pause.

In this video from a recent trip, the longer pause was critical for getting aggressive smallmouth to commit to the jerk bait while fishing the flats at dusk! CHECK IT OUT!

BONUS TIP: Check out the following link for other tips and techniques for catching smallmouth bass during the pre-spawn period in the local area!

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth Bass

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth BassPre-spawn smallmouth bass are some of the most entertaining fish to target with young kids as it’s a great time of the year to get into some big ones!

From the beginning of May until the first part of June, img_1149Smallmouth can be in any one of the 3 phases of the spawn (Pre-spawn, Spawn, Post-Spawn). As water temperatures enter into the upper 50’s-lower 60’s and a full moon period is looming, BIG smallmouth bass will come up onto the shallow flats (5-8 ft. of water) on our Waukesha County lakes to prepare for their annual spawning rituals.

Before they’ve locked onto a bed, they’re typically feeding img_1174very aggressively throughout the day looking to put on that final weight needed to spawn. Big males will need all the nourishment they can get as their role, once the eggs have been dropped in the nest, is to protect the nest from predators smaller panfish, carp, etc. This means they’ll be locked into one area without the opportunity to feed for up to several weeks.

Guide trips during this time of year finds HookedUp101 anglers throwing 3 specific baits in order to target aggressive smallmouth bass:

  1. s7_124921_renderset_05Spinner Bait: A spinner bait is a great search lure to fan cast across shallow spawning flats in search for active fish especially on breezy spring outings when passing storm fronts have put fish on the feed! Shallow sand, gravel, and rock flats with elodea, are a great place to throw a spinnerbait as the combination of cover and bottom content serves as the prime real estate for crawfish and minnow schools in the spring! It’s even better to start your spinner bait chucking if these underwater elements are present on the north end of the lake as that portion receives the most sunlight this time of year. Where there are crawfish and minnows…There WILL be smallmouth!
  2. s7_119074_renderset_16Jerkbaits: As mentioned above, smallmouth bass on a given lake can be in any one of the 3 phases of the spawn during the spring. A jerkbait is a cast and retrieve bait that mimics a bait fish (i.e. perch, ‘glass minnow’, etc.), Suspending versions of a jerk bait are great at tripping a smallmouth’s trigger no matter the the mood of the fish. The reason being, that during the retrieve, the HookedUp101 anglers can wind, jerk, and pause the jerkbait aggressively or subtly targeting the smallies that are pre-, post-, or in the midst of the spawn. The key to a jerk bait this time of year is that pause. When it is deliberately used in the cadence of a retrieve, smallmouth often erupts on the bait!
  3. Jig and grub tailJig-n-grub tail: Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this combination for spring smallmouth. The jig-n-grub tail  has been fooling big smallmouth season after season and the main reason is for it’s versatility. It can be cast and retrieved steadily like a spinnerbait, albeit it a bit more subtle of a profile. It can be brought back to the boat erratically like a jerkbait and elicit the same rod jarring reaction strike from that jerk and pause retrieve. It can also be fished vertically through the water column with a rise-and-fall action imparted by casting the jig-n-grub out onto the flat or parallel to the break. After letting the bait fall to the bottom, the kids simply pull up on the rod without reeling to get the bait to dart off the bottom, and then reel down to take up the slack line thus letting it fall enticingly back to the bottom. This is repeated all the way back to the boat. The darting bait and soft flutter of the tail on the way back to the bottom, gets the attention of the fish, and when they see it acting helpless on its decent to the bottom, smallmouth can’t stand passing on an easy meal and they gobble it up!

img_1164If you’re out on our Southeast, Wisconsin lakes looking for big smallmouth in the springtime. Give these 3 baits priority in your fishing approach and you’ll likely be rewarded with some nice ones!

Looking to learn a few techniques as it relates to catching bass on one or all of the mentioned baits in this post?

BONUS TIP: Another great lake to check out during the smallmouth bass, pre-spawn period is Lake LaBelle in Oconomowoc