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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

This is my first time posting on this site. I just bought a fishing boat, and have been out on lake st clair for the last 3 weekends. I went with a few friends, and we didn't manage to catch much. We caught about 6 little perch (biggest was about 5 inches) between all of us over the last 3 weekends. We tried anchoring the boat and using perch harnesses with both minnows and worms, and we also tried using bottom bouncers with both minnows and worms. We fished between metro beach and selfridge in 10-12 feet of water. We are starting to get a little frustrated. Is there something obvious that I am doing wrong? Should we be fishing in deeper water at this time of the year? Are there any hotspots to catch perch and walleye? Excuse my ignorance, but I haven't been fishing long. Any help would be appreciated. Our wives are beginning to suspect that we are doing something other than fishing, because we never come home with any fish.
 

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Hey ag 48094

I pretty much fish with artificals now but I was a big live bait fisherman years ago. The last time I fished live bait on St. Clair was 8 to 10 years ago in July. I took my wifes little brother out, he was about 12 or 13 years old. We purchased 4 to 5" spot tail shinners at one of the bait shops near the mouth of the Clinton River (Roy's Boat Harbor). We went straight out of the Clinton past the broken concrete wall and hung a left (kind of Northeast) for about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile or so or 8 to 9 foot of water. We drifted with the wind and dragged the spot tails on Lindy type slip sinker rigs with the spot tails hooked lightly through the nose. We went back in for bait 3 times that morning and stopped counting at 75 fish. Most of the fish were 13 to 17" smallmouth but we also caught a few pike, perch, walleye, sheephead, rockbass and one small 36"+ bonus muskie. I still remember that day like it was yesterday and the fish are always in the general area.

Here's a few other tips:

Get out early in the morning, there always seems to be a better early morning bite.

Use as little weight as possible (3/16 to 3/8oz).

Keep your line weight light 6 to 10 pound test.

Keep your presentations as natural as possible and try not to used oversized hooks or snap swivels (keep it simple and tie direct if possible).

Change your bait often. Lively spot tails and worms work best. Smallmouth love spot tails and will chase them a long way (you will feel the spot tails swimming frantically around when you first cast them in - be ready a lot of hits come right away!!!).

It's been awhile but I hope this helps!!!

Best of luck and have a good time.

Workingman


P.S. - Post how you do your next few outings.
 

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I rarely use minnows out on the lake although I hear they're good for Bass. I really don't target the Bass in the lake. My favorite type of fishing is drifting a plain night crawler with a single hook. These things have caught just about everything. I hook them about 1/4 inch right through the mouth pull the eye of the hook right into the worm then turn the hook around and bury the point and the barb back into the side of the crawler. This makes the bait very weedless if done correctly. I use bb sized split shot about a foot up the line. I don't like the splt shot with the opening tabs. I find these will collect weeds and fish don't like salad. Just a plain round bb sized split shot will slip through allot of stuff without hanging up. You'll want this set up to bounce off the top of the weeds from time to time as you're drifting. My drift rods are very long and have soft tips to them. The idea behind this is to have very little resistance when the fish sucks in the bait. This is breifly how I use live bait. Now for the where...
The lake has fish just about any place. Of course it certainly doesn't seem like it at times. If you can find a patch of weeds you'll have fish of some kind around your boat. The trick is to get them to bite. This web site and the postings in it provide some good areas and ideas to try. "A" bouy provided us with Perch and Drum (sheephead ) last week. The north side of the clinton river outlet gave up some Bass and a few more Perch. I haven't been in front of metro lately but there's a good variety of species out there including Walleye and Pike.
An interesting note. If you see allot of boats in an area try that area. BUT... I've found many times that when theres to many boats there isn't many fish. Don't be afraid to move away from the pack if you're not catching anything. There have been many times when the pack is in 8-10 feet of water washing lures and I'm in 4 foot trying to keep a line in the water more than five minutes. Also, take a small pair of binaculars with you. Scan the other boats from time to time and see if they're cleaning weeds off the lines or taking fish. It could help you find a new spot for the GPS to remember.... You do have a GPS don't you??? Have a great day and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will be heading out this weekend to try my luck again. Thanks for the tips guys, I really appreciate it.

ag_48094
 

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One of my favorite spots to drift live bait has been either out at the St. Clair light or from Gino's down the 400 club usually in 11 to 14 ft of water. I am heading out there today at 4 or 5pm and will post how I do tomorrow morning. I usually like to use the bottom bouncers with a chartreuse crawler harness using crawlers but have done really well out at the lighthouse using 1/2 oz. jigheads tipped with a crawler as well.
 

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The perch fishing has been really poor for about 2 weeks. I suspect that the fish flys have a lot to do with it. If you are looking for a good perch spot head out to the B marker area near Strawberry Island.
 
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