Drumfish420

River Smallmouths

42 posts in this topic

Hello all, just started fishing for river smallies this summer.  Great way to beat the heat here in Virginia.  Have had varying amounts of success with 8-12" fish, but no big ones so far for me.  Wade fishing shallow sections and kayak fishing the deeper(3-6') sections of the upper James, Rappahannock, Rapidan, and Rivanna rivers.  Was looking for any tips for targeting bigger fish this time of year?  Cooler water seems to be a big factor, and right now we just don't have any.  Fishing mostly finesse style lures on 4-8lb, and a few crawfish imitation crankbaits.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rapala countdowns, Heddon torpedoes, chrome Cleo’s, and gold kastmasters have helped me land larger smallmouths in the Delaware River.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fly fish for them exclusively and I used to use a 6wt fly rod and flies from #2-8.

One year I was getting my arm ready for an upcoming SW trip so I started  throwing 6-8" flies on a SW flyrod in my local river for practice. Dang! I never knew we had so many big SMB in my river! Now,all I use is bigger stuff to weed out the size range your catching.Most of what I throw is 5" min and as big as 8".I rarely catch an SMB under 15" these days and most are 16-20",occasionally bigger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

4 hours ago, Drumfish420 said:

Hello all, just started fishing for river smallies this summer.  Great way to beat the heat here in Virginia.  Have had varying amounts of success with 8-12" fish, but no big ones so far for me.  Wade fishing shallow sections and kayak fishing the deeper(3-6') sections of the upper James, Rappahannock, Rapidan, and Rivanna rivers.  Was looking for any tips for targeting bigger fish this time of year?  Cooler water seems to be a big factor, and right now we just don't have any.  Fishing mostly finesse style lures on 4-8lb, and a few crawfish imitation crankbaits.  Thanks!

 

IMO if you are catching a lot of small fish, you are going to struggle to catch big ones. Combination of the bigger fish won't compete with the smaller fish and they don't seem to favor the same areas.

 

Use bigger lures in deeper, slower water. Not to say you won't catch big fish once in awhile mixed in with small fish in fast water areas, but once I started fishing slower water with less numbers of fish my average size went way up. I fished Monday for four hours and only caught four fish, all small. But I know it is only a matter of time and it is a trade off I don't mind.

 

Same idea as fishing for big striped bass. If you are catching 30 incher after 30 incher, how often do you land a 40 or 50 pounder out of the same school or area? Basically never. You are fishing for a totally different fish. Same species, but different fish. 

 

Here are my three biggest this year. All over 20 inches. I've landed four over 21 inches the last two years, after not landing one bigger than 17 or 18 my first two years fishing for them. Delaware River.

 

SM41219B.jpg.325ca2b4a57cc8cc505bff510b766d24.jpg

 

SM5219.jpg.5e1997205094a93a55a0fd67a90a11c4.jpg

 

SM51619.jpg.ca65b30df34e94ceff1eb365a4af35dc.jpg

 

 

Edited by PhilCVG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, slip n slide said:

I fly fish for them exclusively and I used to use a 6wt fly rod and flies from #2-8.

One year I was getting my arm ready for an upcoming SW trip so I started  throwing 6-8" flies on a SW flyrod in my local river for practice. Dang! I never knew we had so many big SMB in my river! Now,all I use is bigger stuff to weed out the size range your catching.Most of what I throw is 5" min and as big as 8".I rarely catch an SMB under 15" these days and most are 16-20",occasionally bigger.

 

This. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, PhilCVG said:

 

IMO if you are catching a lot of small fish, you are going to struggle to catch big ones. Combination of the bigger fish won't compete with the smaller fish and they don't seem to favor the same areas.

 

Use bigger lures in deeper, slower water. Not to say you won't catch big fish once in awhile mixed in with small fish in fast water areas, but once I started fishing slower water with less numbers of fish my average size went way up. I fished Monday for four hours and only caught four fish, all small. But I know it is only a matter of time and it is a trade off I don't mind.

 

Same idea as fishing for big striped bass. If you are catching 30 incher after 30 incher, how often do you land a 40 or 50 pounder out of the same school or area? Basically never. You are fishing for a totally different fish. Same species, but different fish. 

 

Here are my three biggest this year. All over 20 inches. I've landed four over 21 inches the last two years, after not landing one bigger than 17 or 18 my first two years fishing for them. Delaware River.

 

SM41219B.jpg.325ca2b4a57cc8cc505bff510b766d24.jpg

 

SM5219.jpg.5e1997205094a93a55a0fd67a90a11c4.jpg

 

SM51619.jpg.ca65b30df34e94ceff1eb365a4af35dc.jpg

 

 

This is gold, thanks!  Makes perfect sense, same goes for LMB fishing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, PhilCVG said:

 

IMO if you are catching a lot of small fish, you are going to struggle to catch big ones. Combination of the bigger fish won't compete with the smaller fish and they don't seem to favor the same areas.

 

Use bigger lures in deeper, slower water. Not to say you won't catch big fish once in awhile mixed in with small fish in fast water areas, but once I started fishing slower water with less numbers of fish my average size went way up. I fished Monday for four hours and only caught four fish, all small. But I know it is only a matter of time and it is a trade off I don't mind.

 

Same idea as fishing for big striped bass. If you are catching 30 incher after 30 incher, how often do you land a 40 or 50 pounder out of the same school or area? Basically never. You are fishing for a totally different fish. Same species, but different fish. 

 

Here are my three biggest this year. All over 20 inches. I've landed four over 21 inches the last two years, after not landing one bigger than 17 or 18 my first two years fishing for them. Delaware River.

 

SM41219B.jpg.325ca2b4a57cc8cc505bff510b766d24.jpg

 

SM5219.jpg.5e1997205094a93a55a0fd67a90a11c4.jpg

 

SM51619.jpg.ca65b30df34e94ceff1eb365a4af35dc.jpg

 

 

Wow that second one is fat little piggie. Kinda look like a LM if weren't for the marking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Drumfish420 said:

This is gold, thanks!  Makes perfect sense, same goes for LMB fishing. 

 

Yep! Same for largemouth. Same for any fish probably.

 

Big baits, catch fewer fish, but catch the ones you want to catch. 

 

9A350969-93E3-432E-978E-07FFFC044F4A.jpeg.3727234120762759b5699d27835954ec.jpeg

 

422698DE-676F-4928-BEFC-1DC7CD0C5C08.jpeg.9df4aaf3b6382894a126e52819c8e243.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hobobob said:

Wow that second one is fat little piggie. Kinda look like a LM if weren't for the marking. 

 

Was a monster. Few more pics ... 

 

FF6D1E28-A952-43C4-AA2F-3EB31AD0BA2C.jpeg.9707774399ee14758c07b0b523e934e4.jpeg

 

0882F877-9F12-4B01-A249-2ED2664B1EEE.jpeg.cb5016a226c1d969ff7dc55b8b8e33f5.jpeg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, PhilCVG said:

 

Yep! Same for largemouth. Same for any fish probably.

 

Big baits, catch fewer fish, but catch the ones you want to catch. 

 

9A350969-93E3-432E-978E-07FFFC044F4A.jpeg.3727234120762759b5699d27835954ec.jpeg

 

422698DE-676F-4928-BEFC-1DC7CD0C5C08.jpeg.9df4aaf3b6382894a126e52819c8e243.jpeg

What swimbait is that on the bottom with the blue eyes? That thing is super cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 mins ago, The Salty Fisherman said:

What swimbait is that on the bottom with the blue eyes? That thing is super cool.

 

That is a Savage Gear Shine Glide. It catches’em. 

 

0EFA4819-BEBD-4A09-8B8C-5DDAF2D29CFB.jpeg.f64b38e20be79847d4363f6932b2506f.jpeg

 

85CAD068-2FAB-4561-9676-67800C8D3C9D.jpeg.99bbef1a04eea5f10294f2a93f9ebf76.jpeg

 

2E8E3D7D-113F-4B9A-AAF6-0BAA383C6BAB.jpeg.fade7447ac45d357ab0e1fd5cbd9bfc4.jpeg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To target larger Sm requires some recon time . Knowing your body of water is really the key . Water temps and structural identity. Best way to know this is to take photos while water is drawn low . I can’t tell you how many I have in just one drought period just a few years ago . It helped my a lot knowing that when water was at normal & different levels . “ every water has its own identity “ 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.