Winter Smelt Fishing: Essentials
One of the most enjoyable types of fishing to do in cold winter months is smelt fishing. They are fun little fish to catch and will give quite a fight for their size. Here are some of the important things you need to know to have a successful fishing experience.
In the winter months several species of smelt are going to be found in the brackish estuaries from Massachusetts to New Finland. They are under the ice in those areas waiting for the ice to come off so they can make their trip upstream to spawn.
Smelt travel in large schools. They don’t move fast through an area but slowly move along searching for food. For the angler this means that if you catch one smelt the chances of catching 30 more is great. But conversely, if you aren’t catching them then you better mover to a different area.
Using a fish finder to help locate smelt is a useful strategy. If you drill several holes over an area of about a hundred yards and then go along with a fish finder attached to a pole, you’ll be able to see what is down below your hole.
It is best to use ultra-light fishing rods and fishing reels. This allows you to use light-weight line and have a fun time reeling them in. you should also use small fish hooks. Using #6-#10 hooks will allow them to get a good bite. Using small sea worms and sand shrimp for bait will generally get the most bites.
Smelt are not aggressive when they bite at the bait. They are very gentle and if you’re not paying close attention you’ll miss them. Holding the rod or putting a sensitive bell on the end of the rod, is a good way to keep from missing them.