Minnesota Opener wasn't just for walleyes this year. Chasing brownies kept us away from the crowds.....and ice. With over 1/3 of the lake still iced over, a good portion of the typical "Opener" spots were un-fishable. The late winter/spring and ice cubes floating around kept water temps low which had the Smallmouth binge eating on the rocks.
We pulled 3" Mini Rippers over boulder fields at a mile an hour to locate schools and then dissected them with Midwest Finesse Rig's in Green Pumpkin or cast Thump Grubs and Rippers and straight reeled them.
It was interesting to see that different schools of Smallmouth on different areas of the lake had very particular forage preferences. Some schools would jump on a Ned Rig like it was their last meal but would not touch a swimbait. Other schools would rip the rod out of your hand trying to eat a Ripper or Thump Grub while 2-3 other fish would follow them to the boat yet would not touch any sort of crawdad imitation. We found that the heaviest fish were those feeding on a minnow type diet that were eating our Rippers. These fish were the same lengths as the rest but had an extra 1/2 - 3/4lbs on them. Time on the water - Endless learning.
55 fish on the weekend. 19" fish were common with a few that broke the 21" mark.