It’s hard to argue that the St. Lawrence River is one of the best smallmouth bass fishing destinations in the country if not the best at certain times. And that was proven again recently by the duo of Dan Miguel and Matt Dobson while fishing the Douglas Bass Open on July 1, 2023. The Duo set what most believe is the record for heaviest 5-bass limit of smallmouth bass on the St. Lawrence with a catch that weighed 32 pounds, 4.3 ounces.
Miguel is the owner of Great Lakes Finesse which was recently acquired by PRADCO. They caught every fish on a Great Lakes Finesse bait.
Here’s what Miguel had to say about that record catch.
“In practice, we used the Sneaky Underspin (3/16-ounce The OG with a 2 3/4-inch Drop Minnow) to cover water and find out where the fish were,” Miguel said. “We caught lots of fish on it just fan casting areas. This allowed us to dial in the best spots to focus on in the event.
“On the day of the event, we slowed down with the drop shot and dragging baits knowing those fish were there. The conditions were overcast most of the day with 15-20 mph winds out of the SW. We had a mix of spawners and cruising post spawn fish going.
“We caught about half our fish on beds and half crushing post spawn fish. Our fish came as shallow as 5 feet out to 15 feet of water.
“We used all Great Lakes Finesse baits. Most of our fish came on the 2 3/4-inch Drop Minnow we were drop shotting, and we had a couple fish in the bag that came dragging the 2.1-inch Snack Craw and the 2.2-inch Flat Cat on our Stealth Ball Jig Heads. All were fished on 6-pound test fluoro on 8-pound PowerPro braid.
“We had boats around us all day. The difference we felt was the smaller bait profiles, the lighter line, the matte finish of our baits, and the neutral buoyancy. Being able to dead stick that bait for as long as we needed was critical to getting those big, old, smart fish to bite. It was noticeable we were fishing much slower than the boats around us.”
“We won by almost 5 pounds and had a 6.4-pound average. Our big fish was 7.1 pounds. All of our 5 fish were over 6 pounds.”
After winning the event, Miguel confided in us that he was having a hard time celebrating his win and record because he had lost a fish he estimated to be over 8 pounds. Having all 6 pound fish plus a 7 pound fish in the livewell, this fish was “substantially” larger and broke the line on the initial run. So most of his drive was being haunted on his perceived missed opportunity to really blow it out of the water.
Suffice it to say, most of still think they did. What an amazing catch.
Check out the lineup of Great Lakes Finesse baits at greatlakesfinesse.com.
You can see the full results to the tournament at douglassoutdoors.com.