Lake Erie’s Biggie Smallies

Dave Mercer of the Facts of Fishing TV Show and two giant smallmouth bass.

The Great Lakes are well known for their outstanding fishing.  Some of the species targeted by anglers include walleye, yellow perch, and salmon.  To remember the names of these lakes in geography, some schoolchildren are taught the acronym: HOMES. (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.)  SHMOE works too, I suppose.

Dave Mercer, of Facts of Fishing TV show, has the tough job of fishing all over the country and knows the Great Lakes well. When I asked about his favorite Great Lakes fishing he replied, “Lake Erie, near Buffalo, NY in May. 100+ giant smallmouth a day.”

You had me at “100+.”

Spring fishing for Lake Erie smallmouth bass is no secret.  Numerous anglers can attest to the large numbers of smallmouth bass that may reach 9 pounds. However, Erie is a large lake so you may have to cover some water in a boat to find areas the bass have congregated.

In April, these bass start moving to shallower spawning grounds but some fishing reports recommend starting at about 18 feet.  Mercer has caught massive cool water smallmouth in 45 feet, and recommends braided line to fish this depth. “Braid has zero stretch,” he shared. This allows greater sensitivity to feel any light tap of a bite.

Anglers watch for rocks that are just the right size and quantity to hold fish, using their electronics if water clarity dictates.   Then, a good technique is to maintain contact with the bottom. Spoons and blade baits bumping the bottom work great, but tube jigs are especially popular.  Jigs also have a single hook so hanging up on the rocks is less likely.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.