Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know by now that Bassmasters magazine – the bible to America’s largest freshwater fishing fraternity – has named Lake St. Clair as the best bass fishing lake in America.
To those of us who have been around St. Clair for the last 30 or 40 years, this is akin to telling Noah about the Flood. Lake St. Clair offers – and has offered for decades -- outstanding smallmouth bass fishing and some pretty darn good largemouth fishing, too.
But when Joe Balog, a sometimes bass pro who works in fishing industry marketing, invited me to spend a morning with him on St. Clair recently, he had something entirely different on his mind: sunfish. Balog had been beating up the bluegills and pumpkinseeds in the shallow, weedy water of Anchor Bay.
Unfortunately, a recent rain event had turned the in-shore area into a muddy mess. We spent no more than five minutes on the spot where Balog had clobbered the sunfish a few days earlier before he decided we had to look for something else.
We pulled off from shore until we found clear water and got on weed bed where we started throwing small baits – beetle spins and tiny tube baits on 1/32 ounce jig heads at a weed line. First cast, smack: Balog had a rock bass. Next cast, another. Then I caught one. And over the next 30 minutes if it wasn’t one every cast, it was at least one every other.
“You could catch a million of them,” Balog said. We did. (OK, I’m exaggerating. We probably didn’t catch more than 750,000. And intermingled with them were a handful of smallmouths.)
Rock bass get no respect. Why, exactly is anyone’s guess. But even bluegill anglers look down their noses at them.