Lake St Clair Bass June 2016 Wayne Carpenter Pete VanVianen

| June 4, 2016
Pete with one of the three 4 1/2 pound smallmouth caught that day. This one from Anchor Bay

Pete with one of the three 4 1/2 pound smallmouth caught that day. This one from Anchor Bay

After a 20 year hiatus, Pete VanVianen and Wayne Carpenter team up on Lake St. Clair to take on post-spawn smallmouth bass.They go out on June 2, 2016, fish Anchor Bay and the Mile Roads to boat around 60 bass with a top five that would weigh in at 20 1/2 pounds. The key to this day was to recognize the seasonal positioning of the bass and adjust presentations to match the random nature of their behavior.

The big females they found were spawned out and on the prowl along outside weed edges. You just didn’t find them out in the open on bare flats; there had to be a weed clump or weedbed somewhere nearby for them to relate to. It was common to find two or more swimming together. This made for some very exciting “sight fishing.”

Sweet Green™ tube by Xtreme Bass Tackle

Sweet Green™ tube by Xtreme Bass Tackle


The bite was slow at first and the bass caught were mostly in the two-pound class. Some wispy weed was found by moving around Anchor bay. Now they were on a large quantity of these roaming bass. At first, tubes with an 1/8oz weight were producing well. Bass started biting with more frequency as the tubes were worked through the weeds. It wasn’t long before two of the best three smallmouth of the day came on a Sweet Green tube and a new presentation, the wacky rig.

A move to the Mile Roads found the smallmouth to be in exactly the same post-spawn mode as they were in Anchor Bay. The ratio of bass per cast was low and it was hard work, but both smallmouth and largemouth were being put in the boat. The real game changer came when Wayne switched to a jerkbait. At first, there were some bass caught but for everyone caught, at least five would follow up to the boat and not take the bait. Although Wayne wasn’t ready to put down the “confidence bait” for another, he took Pete’s suggestion to  switch  to a different jerkbait and that’s when the hook-up to chase ratio fell to at least 6 to 1. More hits and fewer chasers.


  • 4″ Sweet Green tube
  • Pointer 78
  • Wacky rigged worm (weighted for the wind)
  • 4″ Chartreuse Sparkle tube
Wayne with a 4 1/2 pound Mile Roads smallmouth caught on one of the last casts of the day.

Wayne with a 4 1/2 pound Mile Roads smallmouth caught on one of the last casts of the day.

“Pete is the person who first showed me Lake St. Clair,” Wayne says. 20 years ago Wayne was fishing inland lakes and satisfied with the bass fishing. Pete asked to take Wayne out several times and eventually he said yes. The rest is history. Now, after a fishing career of nearly two decades, Wayne has developed an entire product line of tubes focused on Lake St. Clair research, three books (No Secrets series) and a chart book of bass fishing spots. He credits Pete with being persistent and introducing him to this world class fishery.

Pete says he has been fishing Lake St. Clair for 35 to 40 years now and notes some changes. Back in the day the water was a milky green with only about a foot of clarity. Today it is clear to four, nine or even 15 feet deep on  some days. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass mostly related to shoreline features and weedbeds closer to shore back then as well. Today, bass roam offshore and can be found nearly everywhere in the Lake.

It was a great day on the water and the two don’t expect to wait another 20 years before chasing down these Lake St. Clair smallmouth again!

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Category: Bass Fishing Articles, Feature, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Wayne Carpenter is the owner of Xtreme Bass Tackle and Combat Fishing, and author of No Secrets on Lake St. Clair.

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