My wife and I recently got to spend a morning fishing Traverse City smallmouth bass with one of the best, if not the best, captains in Northern Michigan going after trophy smallmouth bass. Now this wasn’t just any fishing trip, it was our first attempt to target smallies on any type of body of water. This was going to be an experience and memory of a lifetime.
A little about Capt. Chris Noffsinger from Northern Adventures Fishing. First and foremost, he is a humble man, down to earth guy, engaging and friendly. You may end up being a customer, but from the moment he steps out of his truck and shakes your hand, you become a friend. Just a guest on his boat looking to have a fun day. He is a professional in every manner of the word. He fishes in the Northern Opens, charters every free day. He has people from every walk of life fish with him. Nurses, factory workers, professional fisherman to TV personalities such as Shaw Grigsby, Babe Winkleman and Hank Parker. With all that, I can say one thing, this guy knows Mr. Smallmouth on such a personal level he calls them on a first name basis.
The day, June 28th, started with a short full throttle ride to our first fishing spot. Here we started by fishing tubes a Big Dude jig by Mark Zona. It only took a couple minutes and the words “fish on” rang out across the bow. Just a few casts later, “fish on” rang out from the back of the boat. We were officially on the fish, and they wanted to play. Both fish demonstrated what we love about smallies, great fight to the boat with several acrobatic displays over the crystal clear water of the bay.
Eventually we moved onto a few more close by spots, but not before being able to do some sight fishing. Yes, there were a few stragglers on beds still. Out came the drop shot rig and the fun began. After a few off target cast, the drop shot sat right on the bed. Seconds later, a gentle but firm hook set put a great fish on the line for me to battle to the surface and into the net. After some fighting, a lot of nervous moments and some jumping that would make any magazine cover, the beast was in the net! My first trophy, a 4 lb. 8 oz. bronzeback! What a great feeling, knowing I finessed this giant from the bottom up to the surface and into the net on 8lb. Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon with a CastAway Microwave spinning rod was a moment I’ll never forget. And during this fight, an amazing product called a Cush-it provided comfort on the butt of the handle that will have you falling in love with from the first time using it.
And of course there was one of the proudest moments of the trip for me. As Chris was setting the hook on what would end up being a 4 lb. smallie, I hear my wife calmly yell “Got a good one on, and it’s big!”. Calmly fighting this fish like it was an everyday occurrence, she gives the the rod one last rise and her personal trophy floats into the net I placed under the fish. Out of the net she raises a 3lb. 12 oz. smallie with a pot belly of a stomach. I don’t remember every detail to the T, but I do know my fist pumps were Championship like! Oh, and she was pretty ecstatic as well.
The weather that day was proceeded to becomce hot, with glass smooth water (on the bay no less) with just a few clouds preventing a full out sunburn on top of an already good sunburn. As we got closer to the end of the 5 hour trip, the sun was fully exposed, temperatures rising and the fishing slowed down. Sight fishing was the ticket, but not to say we didn’t wrangle up a few more 3+ lb. piggies from the sporadic weed lines scattered on the floor below. Overall, we boated 32 smallmouths, with the smallest one stilling breaking the legal 14’’ mark. That may have been an average day for Chris without the presence of a 5 or 6lber, but to anybody else it was awesome!
Capt. Chris will indeed show a great time and put you on the fish. To some, those fish will be fish of a life time. He routinely puts 5 lb. smallies in the boat, both inland lakes and on the bay. As I write this, his trips on the water have produced at least 16 fish topping the 6 lb. mark. He will take the time to answer every single question, even if they are interrupted by a gymnast of a fish breaking the surface. You use nothing but the best tackle and gear, with no exceptions. On top of the amazing fishing we did, Chris invited us to lunch afterwards at a local deli on the peninsula that had some of the best sandwiches I have ever had the honors of enjoying. During lunch, Chris took the time to point out some local lakes and where to fish when looking for bass. This in itself produced a great memory that would be among many memorable moments from a weeklong trip to the Traverse City Area.
If you are a novice fisherman looking to learn something about smallmouth fishing, or a seasoned pro wanting to advance your knowledge and technique for smallie fishing you need to look into contacting Chris Noffsinger and Northern Adventures Fishing. If you’d like to contact Chris, or are just curious, check out his website at: https://www.northernadventuresfishing.com/ or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/northernadventuresfishing . No matter what, you will enjoy spending a day with a great person who is a great example of everything good in the world of fishing, along with wranglin’ some great pot bellied smallmouth.