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Ohioguy25

Went smallmouth fishing on a small river yesterday, didn't have much luck. Any pointers?

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Hi everyone, I'm new to smallmouth fishing.  Recently bought a 6' St Croix Premiere spinning rod and Pflueger President reel after hearing about how fun smallmouth were to catch and what a good fight they put up.  I also recently bought a kayak to fish from.  I live in southwest Ohio, just outside of Dayton and had been advised that the Little Miami was one of the best spots for smallmouth.  I went yesterday using several of the different types of baits I had been recommended by Cabela's; soft plastic crawdads and worms, buzz bait, crank bait, a helgermite and a boo-ya micro pond magic.  Nothing seemed to work all that well although I got a handful of pretty serious nibbles and a few big bites towards the end of the day/early evening.  Any advice for me on what lures/baits I should be casting and where and how I should be casting/working them? Thanks!

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http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/forum/32-smallmouth-bass-fishing/

I am not familiar with your river, but you can't go wrong fishing current breaks and holes; downriver side of rocks and laydowns, especially.  When you see drop offs and holes downstream from those rocks, ledges, etc., fish them especially hard.

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ned rig is deadly on river smallmouth - that and a couple of topwaters should get you into business.

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3 hours ago, Choporoz said:

http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/forum/32-smallmouth-bass-fishing/

I am not familiar with your river, but you can't go wrong fishing current breaks and holes; downriver side of rocks and laydowns, especially.  When you see drop offs and holes downstream from those rocks, ledges, etc., fish them especially hard.

Yeah that's what I was told, I did that quite a bit with crawdad soft plastics, is that the wrong bait? If so what should I use for those holes and if not how should I be casting/working it?

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You new to bass fishing are trying too many different types of lures and presentations.

Nibbles are more than likely strikes you didn't capitalize on and missed a few good bites.

Go back and use only the lures you had a few good bites on and focus your efforts with those.

Tom

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5 hours ago, WRB said:

You new to bass fishing are trying too many different types of lures and presentations.

Nibbles are more than likely strikes you didn't capitalize on and missed a few good bites.

Go back and use only the lures you had a few good bites on and focus your efforts with those.

Tom

Cool thanks.  Is smallie river fishing not that popular?

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Welcome to the forum and world of river fishing smallmouth.  In current, especially, they're excellent fighters and once you get the basics down, it's not uncommon to have 20+ fish days on most healthy river systems.  It can be overwhelming trying to learn everything at once, so focusing on a few high percentage baits and how to fish them can be a great first step. WRB is spot on in terms of simplifying your approach.  Grubs, tubes, and inline spinners like a Mepps are some of the first lures I'd suggest you learn, though, locating active smallmouth is typically much more important than what you're throwing, especially early on.  Current breaks, eddies, green weed beds, and heads and tails of pools are great places to start.  

This forum contains a TON of good information about fishing smallies in rivers.  I suggest using the search feature and going back through previous threads on the smallmouth forum.  You'll find more info about locating fish, presenting lures in current, reading rivers, and answers to a million other questions you either have now or will have.  

Good luck on the water!

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20 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Welcome to the forum and world of river fishing smallmouth.  In current, especially, they're excellent fighters and once you get the basics down, it's not uncommon to have 20+ fish days on most healthy river systems.  It can be overwhelming trying to learn everything at once, so focusing on a few high percentage baits and how to fish them can be a great first step. WRB is spot on in terms of simplifying your approach.  Grubs, tubes, and inline spinners like a Mepps are some of the first lures I'd suggest you learn, though, locating active smallmouth is typically much more important than what you're throwing, especially early on.  Current breaks, eddies, green weed beds, and heads and tails of pools are great places to start.  

This forum contains a TON of good information about fishing smallies in rivers.  I suggest using the search feature and going back through previous threads on the smallmouth forum.  You'll find more info about locating fish, presenting lures in current, reading rivers, and answers to a million other questions you either have now or will have.  

Good luck on the water!

Great, thanks! Reloaded my tackle box and hit the river again today, same results. I wonder what it is I'm doing wrong? I tried rooster tails, soft plastic craws and worms, diving minnows, boo ya, and some helgamite.  I fished shaded, deeper water and aimed for current breaks and holes behind rapids.  Any ideas?

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Baits are not your problem. Deeper water in rivers seldom holds active fish. I'm not sure what you mean by "behind rapids"  Does that mean you are fishing above (upstream) or below (downstream) of the rapids? Rapids are great areas to fish while the water is still warm. Cover the water in the fast water of the rapids, and just downstream of the fastest water. Rocks on the bottom provide shelter from the current so let your bait drift right over their head. During sunny days, fish the shaded areas along the shoreline. Work plastics right next to, just downstream of downed trees. Are you fishing from the kayak? Do you stop and fish or continuously float? When fishing current, Throw the bait upstream and let it drift back down through current breaks or through the rapids. Pull the kayak up to shore, stop and make a lot of casts through good looking areas. Right now and for the next several weeks are primetime on rivers. Keep fishing, keep your bait close to cover. River fish can hold tight to rocks, trees, and bridge pilings. River fish don't seem real picky when you put the bait in front of them. Everything you've been using will work. Keep trying, you'll start catching.

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Turkey Sandwich is correct, forcus on high percentage baits like in-line spinners and grubs and tubes. Those are what we call "numbers" baits, they are easy to fish and will attract all sizes of fish. Fishing a craw is great when you locate fish that are actively feeding on bottom and there are other baits that will get big fish to hit but until you get the basics down of river smallmouth location just focus on the numbers lures. I don't know the water conditions on your river right now but here is a break down of the places I fish based on water conditions. LOW WATER in summer- look to riffle areas that have at least a foot of water in depth, those spots have a higher oxygen level and will attract baitfish and bass when water is low and warm with low oxygen levels. HIGH WATER in summer, find out what is considered normal flow for the time of year on that river and if the flow is high you can start your seach close to the bank in areas that have slow current, current breaks, and eddies, as this is where the bass head to get out of heavy current. NORMAL WATER in summer is optimum, look for active fish in what I call "push" water, the area right above a chute or riffle, a chute is where the current speeds up as it is forced through a bottle neck caused by rocks and boulders. The active feeding fish move above the chutes and riffles because that is where the current begins to push forage species toward the structure and they will pick it off before it gets washed through the riffle or chute. When the fish aren't active, the pools behind chutes and riffles are where to look with slow moving presentations like the craw, the less active fish sit in the pool and wait for food items to be washed to them, they aren't actively feeding but will bite if your bait is presented in the right way at the right place.

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I live in the same area but haven't been on the LMR yet.  I hear Vic Coomer silver grubs/shads are fish catching lures for the area.  Haven't tried them but will stock up eventually.

I catch almost all my smallmouth off a small two inch Pop-r in silver/black back, pb&j ned rig or a hula stick cut in half on a 1/8oz jig head.  I haven't been skunked yet with those three.  I twitch the pop-r.  Popping doesn't get the strikes but twitches do.  I work the ned rig in small jerks and long pauses.

If you are limited to the bank it's time to get your feet wet, literally. All my best spots are found after wading for a 1/4 mile or so.

I'm a numbers man and know where I fish I'm not going to catch anything of size.  2lbs is the biggest and that was last year.  It's all about quantity and the baits I use are good for that.  

Just started fly fishing to make those little guys even more fun.  You'll find what the fish want and where they are.

 

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I have done really good this year on Baby rage craws,Swim jigs with a swimbait trailer, flukes and 3,8 ounce War Eagle spinner baits in there mouse color.In the river i wade alot i found a rocky flat loaded with crawdads.Look for any current breaks or the eddies.Down size your lures a little to get started.Soon if your river has shad they will start dying off.The Smallies will gorge themselfs on them.Great time to be out on the water.Once you go Bronze you never go back.Welcome Aboard

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7 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Also, when you say helgramites, do you mean live helgramites?

No, hard plastic w trebles and soft plastic. The soft are in some kind of scented liquid. 

3 hours ago, bowhunter63 said:

I have done really good this year on Baby rage craws,Swim jigs with a swimbait trailer, flukes and 3,8 ounce War Eagle spinner baits in there mouse color.In the river i wade alot i found a rocky flat loaded with crawdads.Look for any current breaks or the eddies.Down size your lures a little to get started.Soon if your river has shad they will start dying off.The Smallies will gorge themselfs on them.Great time to be out on the water.Once you go Bronze you never go back.Welcome Aboard

Nice, thanks.  Man the way smallmouths are revered I am more determined than ever to start catching them.  Must be a lot of fun to fight. I'm going back out again sunday and tues.  Pretty much every day I have off until it gets cold.

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Be sneaky. Pretend your hunting, sneak up to a good looking spot and try to make a long, soft cast. Your first cast is by far the most productive, so be ready. The bigger bass in a small river will get out of there real quick if your stumbling into the spot and splashing down a large spinner bait. Stealth is the ticket.

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On 9/21/2016 at 10:16 AM, Ringonu said:

I live in the same area but haven't been on the LMR yet.  I hear Vic Coomer silver grubs/shads are fish catching lures for the area.  Haven't tried the

The vic coomer curly shads are deadly in the lmr,gmr and mad rivers. Lots of guys here have good luck with tubes and flukes also. Don't leave out topwater lures my best smallies have been caught on a whopper plopper this year.

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On 9/19/2016 at 11:59 PM, Ohioguy25 said:

Cool thanks.  Is smallie river fishing not that popular?

I almost exclusively fish smaller rivers and creeks for smallmouth, it's just more fun for me. My advice would be look for deep pools, current breaks behind rocks, and any kind of cover. A more finesse approach has always yielded more bites for me. A 3 inch wacky rigged senko worked very slowly through a pool is deadly.

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It's not always going to be productive. We had 6 guys who know how to fish rivers pretty well float a 5 mile stretch of river yesterday. Between us only about a dozen smallmouth were caught. Half of those were caught in one small spot by two of the anglers. Tough day for sure. 

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I'm over in Indiana, and my local smallmouth river isn't producing right now very well either. Might be some kind of weather/pressure/temp kind of thing

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My go to's are: 3/16 oz shakeyhead w/ green pumpkin ultravibe speedcraw, 3' diving red craw crankbait (Academy has a great one that is cheap. It is a translucent red), 90 size whopper plopper in loon, 4" grub in white or green pumpkin on a 1/8 oz ball head jig, and a 1/8 or 3/16 black buzzbait. 

The river I fish in TN has low water right now so I am focusing on deeper slower water above and below riffles. Any overhanging trees, prominent rocks, and weedlines get worked from multiple angles and presentations. 

I carry between two and four rods depending on if I'm wading or kayaking. 1) 7'2" Med casting rod with 40# braid 2) 6'8" spinning rod with 8# Yo-Zuri Hybrid 3) 7' Med Moderate casting rod with 40# braid 4) 6'8" MH casting with 50# braid.

Be patient, learning a new river takes lots of time. The first year on my river I caught a lot of small fish, but knew there were bigger fish in there. This year with the help of a kayak I have caught multiple 18"-19" smallies. 

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I fish the Great Miami River more than anywhere else. When I cant get a bite on anything else I can normally get something on a 4 inch green pumpkin curly tail thrown at large rocks at the head of faster moving water. Cast it upstream and let it drift down, then when you feel it run into a rock pop it off the rock. From my experience smallmouth are pretty aggressive almost all year and triggering a reaction strike from them is normally as simple as getting it in front of them.

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