Craig & Derek were with me today for the first of many outings scheduled by Craig this fall. He knows the potential of this cold water period and has had many successful trips in the past! Multiple high fives and several fish in the 6 pound plus range has kept him coming back year after year. Would today be one of them? I was hoping for a little better weather than the last two and was pleasantly surprised to see calm conditions for the start. I knew it wouldn’t last but was ready to take advantage of it while we could. Water temps fell once again and the air temps were 44 degrees when we began. I prayed for some sunshine but was only rewarded with the same old crap! Fortunately we were able to fish the first couple of hours with little to no pain and monopolized our time well. Craig hit the first one quickly and I knew there were more. It may have only been a 3.5 pound fish but there were bigger ones around! The fishing was quite slow but both Derek & Craig were picking at them, so I stuck it out. With each fish came a slight upgrade in size and Craig picked up one, slightly under 5 pounds. I had a feeling that it was just a matter of time and stayed in this area a little longer than I had originally wanted to. We weren’t looking for numbers, just size and getting a bite or two every once in a while wasn’t a problem. Hunting for giants is a patience game that most people can’t comprehend but when the time is just right, it happens. Sometime late in the morning Craig set into what seemed like the bottom, only to have it move. We both knew that this was the one and when it took to the air, we had confirmation! It was enormous and real mean! Several attempts at getting off from jumps had our hearts in our throats until I was able to get a shot at her. She was officially in the net and we could breathe again! Usually Craig manages to wait until the last trip of the season to get his six but this time it looked like he succeeded early. I didn’t want to stress the fish out too much and decided to place her in the live well to recuperate for a while. Believe me, the waiting period was painful! For almost an hour, we didn’t know whether she was a high five or over six and this was shear torture. Throughout this waiting period there were several more fish but nothing compared to the pig, swimming in the tank. When we finally took her from the water, it looked like she had shrunk! What we had thought was giant, somehow got shorter. Although she was a balloon, she wasn’t more than 20 inches or so and this had me worried. When the scale finally settled, there was another sigh of relief. She was 6.38 and a real trophy of a smallmouth. I can only imagine how much more she would have weighed had she been longer. Either way we were satisfied to say the least and after several pics, she was released back to where she belonged. I knew the remainder of the day would be good but after something like this, could it get any better? A combination of baits and areas had us making adjustment after adjustment, all the while bringing up the numbers count. The weather played havoc on us as it was a roller coaster ride from hell. Wind, waves and heavy rain at times had us just going crazy. It even layed down once again late in the afternoon and became a virtual mirror. As usual though it was short lived, before winds and rain began once again and it started all over. Despite all that Mother Nature threw at us today, we came out on top with both size and numbers. Craig had taken the pressure off and still had three or four trips left to just relax. He wouldn’t though and is now hoping for several more sixes or maybe one above seven. If anyone can do it, he can as he is determined to beat his earlier Lake Eerie giant of 6 pounds 12 ounces this spring. This topped his six ten here last fall and gives him something to shoot for once again. I can hardly wait to see the outcome as I’m sure there will be plenty of chances in the weeks to come. Great day and an even better starter fish!!