Brad Smudzinski is an avid angler who lives in Fort Peck, Montana, which would be a dream to many open water and ice anglers. A week ago, Smudzinksi posted his fishing summary for the 23 days he fished during the month of May. He is no stranger to catching big fish and also has some tips for other anglers on how to catch big fish on a regular basis. Note that most of the pictured fish he caught were brought in using a Kit’s Tackle Glass Minnow.
Winded out- 8 days
Skunked- 4 days
Notes: People have asked me over the years at fishing expos or seminars which I have conducted, “what is the secret to catching big trophy fish”?
In my opinion, there are three main things which lead to catching big fish on a regular basis.
1. You cannot catch what is not there- It makes no sense at all to fish for trophy species where they do not exist, or are there in limited numbers. I have driven hundreds of miles- thousands at times, taken vacation, and headed out to far away waters. Having lived 20 years in Germany I was able to fish from up North in Holland to down south in Spain. West to France and over east in Poland and many countries in between. If I wanted to pursue large Northern Pike I went to the brackish waters in Holland, big Wels catfish- the south of Spain, giant carp- southern France. The same is true anywhere. Where I am living now in Montana is known for big walleye, chinook salmon, and smallmouth bass. People travel from far away to get where I live. I am blessed. If you want big fish you must be committed and spare no expense when it comes to time or money invested. Yes, the local angler who fishes occasionally may get lucky every once in a while, but consistency takes effort.
2. Time on the water-You cannot catch anything laying on the couch. I fish every day, even through the winter on the ice. This is a commitment. Unless there is extreme weather which keeps my away, you will find me on the water. I don’t fish just when I hear that they are biting, I don’t fish only in nice weather, I don’t fish only when it is convenient. I fish, because it is a priority I have set for myself. To be in constant contact with the water and experience that thrill as often as I can.
3. Practice- Just like any sport or activity, practice makes perfect. Well, perhaps perfection is not needed. BUT, if you have ever watched those bass pros on television you can see right away that they know exactly what they are doing. There are no wasted movements, everything flows, and they cast and hook fish as if they were a well-oiled machine. They were not born that way (at least not all of them) they got that way through countless hours on the water. For me, boat control is 3/4 of fishing. Marking fish on the electronics, targeting them, and then catching them and more- is all about boat control. And where I live on Fort Peck lake in Montana you MUST be able to run your boat in 10+ mile an hour winds and often 15 and 20. It can be real frustrating to know where the fish are and what they are biting on and not be able to fish them effectively because you lack the skill or equipment to get on them! This is a skill and practice will lead to improvement, which will lead to more fish.
Best of luck in the month of June!