By Louie Stout
Al Gearhart has learned a few things about big smallmouth in his annual spring trips to Lake Charlevoix.
His credentials speak for themselves. He's caught four smallmouth bass over 7 pounds from the lake and numerous 5s and 6s. And yes, he releases all of the big bass he catches.
Charlevoix is a "drowned river lake," meaning it is an inland lake with access to Lake Michigan. It's also Michigan's third largest lake.
Gearhart has made trips there each May for 16 straight years. Although he's noticed that the giant smallmouth have been harder to come by the past couple of years, the quantity and quality of fish he catches are still pretty darn good.
He usually targets the East Bay and fishes the windy side of the bay, keeping the wind to his back. Smallmouth like the wind, he says.