Drumfish420

River Smallmouths

42 posts in this topic

20 hours ago, PhilCVG said:

 

Was a monster. Few more pics ... 

 

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Very nice brown bass. From anywhere we’ve fished? Gotta get me, you and Bob out all together one day. 

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I'm also a firm believer in going big for bigger fish. There's no SM near where I live now, but I used to fish the Potomac, Susquehanna and a few other rivers that held some good size SM's.

 

A lot of folks will say go small for them, but never found that to be true as others here are saying. Big lures will catch bigger, but often fewer fish. 

 

I've used many different types of lures for SM, and flies. Many are the same as I've used for LM's. "Match" the available forage is always a good place to start, but you may still have to go different than what others may be using if you fish where the waters are getting a lot of pressure. 

 

However, regardless of what anyone recommends to use, you still have to get it in front of bigger fish. You won't catch what's not there. There may be plenty of bigger fish, but they're not going to be everywhere, so first find where they are, then go bigger with your lures.

 

I also advise folks to learn to be in stealth mode, particularly on smaller waters. That means pay attention, and do your best to not let them know you're there. 

 

On one river that I used to fish, I caught some decent size bass, both LM & SM, but rarely caught anything over 14". I knew they were in there, but I usually stuck to throwing 3" grubs on a jig, or small hair jigs. There was one deep hole, right at a bend in the river where a tree had fallen many years before. The bank behind that tree was undercut. I knew there had to be a bigger bass in there, but many times tried & many times nothing. I lost several lures in there. The only approach was from down river, and wade up to the hole. The bank was high there so from any other angle any fish in there would see me or otherwise know I was there. I finally caught a good size Pickerel in there, but not a bass. 

 

One evening, I was fishing along there and tried that hole just as it was getting dark. I was using a baitcasting outfit, actually a Steelhead rod (8'6" M), and flipping a 1/4 oz silicone skirted jig with a craw type trailer in places I knew held fish. I didn't usually use that type of lure there. That long rod allowed me a lot of reach to get to places that I couldn't just cast. My very first cast in there that evening got slammed. I thought it might be another Pickerel, but did get a glimpse of the fish and am sure it was a bass. Wasn't long enough to be a Pickerel and certainly the wrong color to be anything else, like a Carp. I have caught a few Carp on small jigs over the years. But, it was almost dark so can't be 100% positive. 

 

Unfortunately, It took me under that tree and broke off. I never did get a real good look at it. I'm going to guess it was at least 3 lbs, and perhaps more, but I'll never know. That was the last time I fished there, wasn't long after that I relocated to where I live now. In that river a 3 lb bass would have been a big one, although I knew of a few LM's that had been caught that were closer to 5 lbs. 

 

I can only theorize now, but I think that as night came close, and without any other disturbances, that fish had moved out where it could see my jig and not me. It may have been feeding, I don't know. But I do believe that had I not been there at that time of the evening, I would have again missed any opportunity of ever hooking up with a bass in there. 

 

So, anyway, find the places that might hold bigger fish first. Then use bigger lures to attempt to get them out of those places. 

 

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4 hours ago, plugchucker said:

Very nice brown bass. From anywhere we’ve fished? Gotta get me, you and Bob out all together one day. 

 

Thanks!

 

Yeah we went there last year. 

 

 

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I fished the James right on downtown Richmond a couple weeks ago. Those cookie-cutter 10 inchers were everywhere. Toward the end of the day I focused on fast moving water, and deep pockets, and found some better fish. The days wayer is rich in oxygen. I’m the fast water, we did well with craw carnks, and small swimgbaits on a jighead. I’m the deep pockets, the small swimbaits and even a standard bass jig was the ticket. Look for rocks or any other obstuctions that block the current in fast water. Drift a bait by those rocks and try to get it as deep as you can. Pocket fishing is a ton of fun. And don’t be afraid to fish those fast shallow riffles. They can be very productive. Look for current seams and irregularities. Don’t be afraid to throw bigger baits. 

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45 mins ago, Livefreeordie said:

If you guys wanna keep posting pics of big smb, I wouldn't mind

 

Great thread, good advice

 

Some more big ones. Looking at pics I may have five or six over 21 inches the last two years. 

 

The one with the Keitech was really long, but was too far from a suitable place to measure. 

 

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7 mins ago, PhilCVG said:

 

Some more big ones. Looking at pics I may have five or six over 21 inches the last two years. 

 

The one with the Keitech was really long, but was too far from a suitable place to measure. 

 

C8123FB8-A4C7-41A5-BA6D-C2AFB8C50C8A.jpeg.8db996c6e21f0ecd0b13a43d37414562.jpeg

 

9531B8DE-15ED-451D-8519-14D2145EFB69.jpeg.5a28fc305915eb7d98f063adef77942b.jpeg

 

FB7D9892-982F-414F-9CB9-59C007446EB5.jpeg.98b7be3927c4aec71aa47625fad3f4f6.jpeg

 

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Those are some super SMB. Looks like youre a shore bound/

wading fisherman too. Congrats!

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found this Spook in a brush along the bank & did a Beni Moore paint job out of all the top water presentation this one had a sound of it own . It was good to me for a few hundred fish ...wish i had it back

5d4ea4bf98474_BeniMooreSpook.jpeg.ac2b3014cbdac93c03cd994d4e90ed96.jpegRiverSM.jpeg.4f50b5389081e5349dcad95bc11ceef2.jpeg 

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On 8/8/2019 at 4:51 AM, 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!

Finding almost all of my bigger fish right now in or immediately adjacent to fast water.Skipping top water stuff standing upstream from fast water structure/boulders and getting crushed.The slow water bite is all little fish right now where I am,looking for rapids,broken dams and fast water over broken rubble.The fast,thrashing water has more oxygen in it and the slow less.

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5d4ec8e25b3aa_justicejig.jpeg.858c2bdb4232503b9c86a6c39f6f9d15.jpeg Walmart has these for $3.50 they work for me.

Rivanna is a great river we used to do a overnite camp/float.

I have the NOAA site for the Westham Gauge (James) linked to my phone, I check it every day. There is a gauge in Cartersville that gives water temps.

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30 mins ago, triumph said:

5d4ec8e25b3aa_justicejig.jpeg.858c2bdb4232503b9c86a6c39f6f9d15.jpeg Walmart has these for $3.50 they work for me.

Rivanna is a great river we used to do a overnite camp/float.

I have the NOAA site for the Westham Gauge (James) linked to my phone, I check it every day. There is a gauge in Cartersville that gives water temps.

I love fishing jigs! I make most that I use now, but have a plastic worm bag full of them from various brands and small jig makers. IMO, the primary difference in jigs is the hook. Higher quality hooks and how the jig is assembled is really the only way to make  a "better" jig. There are many very good jigs around, and some are very inexpensive. I bought a bunch of Stanley jigs one time years ago & fished them a lot. I caught a lot of fish on them and because they were not expensive, if I lost a few, was no big concern. I think I paid less than $1 each for them. I tie the skirts on mine, and have tied them on these other jigs. Except for that, and perhaps touching up the hook point to be sure it's sticky sharp, there's not you have to do to a jig. 

 

For SM, s I like two trailers on a jig, one is the curltail grub, and I like them with a fat tail, like the Zoom Fat Albert, or a craw style like a Paca Craw. 

 

I once watched a video of Denny Brauer explaining how to fish a jig. He's one of the best at it, and although it wasn't specific to SM's or moving water, the information still applied. He said the color doesn't matter, and I agree, and he said most folks don't know when a jig has been grabbed by the fish. That was one thing I worked on. His video helped me a lot. 

 

I fish various colors, but anything that is primarily black, or green pumpkin or watermelon green are what I use most, but I will go with white too sometimes.

 

I'll fish hair jigs too, even in warmer weather, as long as it's in a stream or river. Just a different look & movement to them. Here's a couple of jigs that I've made that I would use for SM's. 

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shadjig.jpg

blackjig.jpg

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Can’t wait to stop working so much and for racing season to be over. Will be hitting it hard come the fall. Smallies are a blast and now I have a Hobie so no more shore fishing for me 

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On ‎8‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 3:30 PM, plugchucker said:

Very nice brown bass. From anywhere we’ve fished? Gotta get me, you and Bob out all together one day. 

Lets get back at it. 

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