Flexibility Is A Good Thing

The opener is always an absolute smallmouth fest. Well. Almost always. We picked that "1 in 50" year when the ice endured so long that the masses of jumbo smallmouths simply hadn't moved into Sturgeon Bay, Little Sturgeon Bay and all the other bays and inlets that border upper Green Bay and Lake Michigan when the season opened.

It wasn't what Dan Elsner had in mind. Elsner, who owns Get Bit Baits and is Green Bay based, had invited Darl Black and me to fish the legendary waters of Door County, Wisconsin for opening weekend of bass season.

A full day of nothing—not only by us but by pretty much everyone who hit the bays on opening day—forced a change of plans for Day 2. Instead of fishing beside bluffs and boulders in ultra-clear water, we worked the murky Fox River, which trudges through the urban Green Bay, and a smaller suburban river. I got to fish with Jesse Van Laanen and Ted Boehm, who have finished first and second in the Sturgeon Bay Open for the past two years.

It was neither the 50-fish day nor the setting the Elsner envisioned when he started planning, but I'm sure not complaining. The four smallmouths we managed likely weighed more than 20 pounds, and mine (which did some seriously scary acrobatics) probably weighed at least 5.5 pounds. As importantly, it's both a thrill and a serious learning opportunity anytime you get to fish home waters with guys who have that kind of local knowledge.

Word has it the bass have awakened in the short time since I left. Elsner reported an 8-2 smallmouth, and it took 30 pounds to win the Cabela's North American Bass Circuit opener just a few days after I left town.

I'll be back. Soon actually, but that's another story.

Be sure to check out my blog for more recent fishing adventures and other fishing-related reading and learning!

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