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Ohioguy25

So I've been actively fishing for smallmouth in a narrow river with very little success

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I've been fishing from a kayak in the Little Miami River in southwestern Ohio now for over a month.  I've been a total of 5 times, using a medium-light fast action 6' St Croix Premier w a Pflueger Summit reel casting everything from soft plastic craws and grubs on jig heads to rooster tails to buzz bait to tubes to diving minnows to swim bait.  I've cast in heavy rapids and the deeper areas right below them, I've fished deep 10-20 ft calm pools in both shade and sunlight, and I've covered roughly 10-15 miles of the river and I've only caught a total of 4 fish only one of which was a smallie. 

I've read multiple places that the Little Miami is one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the state, I don't understand why I'm having so much trouble?  I've seen them in there, swimming below me in shallower areas. Smallmouth, carp, and several other species.  Any suggestions in regards to where and how I should be casting, what baits I should be throwing and how to work them would be greatly appreciated, I'm more determined than ever! 

Last Sunday, my most recent trip, I went w my dad and finally landed my first smallmouth! It was pretty exciting, even though it was tiny.  I hit it in a tiny pool right below a rapid as I had been advised, using a 1/16 yellow rooster tail.  I stayed and kept hitting the same spot for about 45 minutes after I caught the buzz. Thanks again!

 

Btw, what species of fish is this? I researched all of the species in the river and the Sauger is the closest resemblance I could find.

1477066507.8627.jpg

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good fish - it's a rock bass - you  need to get the ned rig going - it is a deadly and easy way to fish for stream smallmouth - if you don't want to spend extra  cut a senko type into 21/2" pieces and put it on a 1/16 oz. jig head and catch some fish. Slow and simple

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Strike King bitsy tube is also your friend. Shove a 1/8 oz jig head up into it

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Lettuce -  Catching Huge Smallmouth Bass on Lettuce.....

 

But in seriousness try the small tubes that have been mentioned above or a 3-4" wacky rigged senko. If you have access to a fly pole, wholly buggers work wonders on smallies. 

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6 hours ago, frogflogger said:

good fish - it's a rock bass - you  need to get the ned rig going - it is a deadly and easy way to fish for stream smallmouth - if you don't want to spend extra  cut a senko type into 21/2" pieces and put it on a 1/16 oz. jig head and catch some fish. Slow and simple

I don't mind spending the money, I'm already into this for a couple hundred.  What should I buy to get the best or traditional Ned Rig?

4 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

Rebel crawfish and a small jig. 

Do you mean soft plastic craws? If so that's what I've been using, any advice on how to work them or what I might be doing wrong? I've been casting them on a size 6 hook w a jig head as advised by the guy at Cabela's. Is this too big? I throw them, let them sink, and then lightly jerk it up off the riverbed every minute or two.  

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When you aren't catching fish on a river, lure selection is seldom the problem. 

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@Ohioguy25 rebel crawfish is a cheap and effective crank bait. It's pretty unique looking and has a nice action. And the price makes it so you aren't afraid to pitch it near the laydowns.. I'd try a hellgrammite soft plastic lure. It's a favorite of all predatory fish in rivers. As for your soft craws.. Vary your retrieve. Have you ever tried to catch a crayfish ? They are very fast! Try ripping it off the bottom. As if it was trying to escape . 

I agree with Scott.. I passed ovet the little Miami on the way to work today. It's a big river. You said you're in a kayak. Venture to another area perhaps. 

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I see a few potential issues. That snap swivel looks gigantic and the line too heavy, especially for a 1/16 Rooster Tail. Also, looks like you did some sort of double bend in the thing. I've done a small 45 degree bend toward the tip, not sure how that double bend might affect the action though? I wouldn't even bother if using a swivel out front, but personally I don't think you'll run into an issue with line twist casting inlines in a narrow river. I'd downsize the line, tie direct and give it another go. Rooster Tails/Panther Martins/Blue Fox Vibrax etc should hammer river smallies. Try a couple of each in a few different colors and sizes, I like 1/4oz Panther Martins and Vibrax for their compact size and casting distance.

 

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10 hours ago, Scott F said:

When you aren't catching fish on a river, lure selection is seldom the problem. 

What is then?

7 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

@Ohioguy25 rebel crawfish is a cheap and effective crank bait. It's pretty unique looking and has a nice action. And the price makes it so you aren't afraid to pitch it near the laydowns.. I'd try a hellgrammite soft plastic lure. It's a favorite of all predatory fish in rivers. As for your soft craws.. Vary your retrieve. Have you ever tried to catch a crayfish ? They are very fast! Try ripping it off the bottom. As if it was trying to escape . 

I agree with Scott.. I passed ovet the little Miami on the way to work today. It's a big river. You said you're in a kayak. Venture to another area perhaps. 

You mean the thing w a diving lip? How do you use that w a jig, and is it better than soft plastics? And when you say venture to another area do you mean a different river/lake or diff spot on the LMR?

5 hours ago, dwh4784 said:

I see a few potential issues. That snap swivel looks gigantic and the line too heavy, especially for a 1/16 Rooster Tail. Also, looks like you did some sort of double bend in the thing. I've done a small 45 degree bend toward the tip, not sure how that double bend might affect the action though? I wouldn't even bother if using a swivel out front, but personally I don't think you'll run into an issue with line twist casting inlines in a narrow river. I'd downsize the line, tie direct and give it another go. Rooster Tails/Panther Martins/Blue Fox Vibrax etc should hammer river smallies. Try a couple of each in a few different colors and sizes, I like 1/4oz Panther Martins and Vibrax for their compact size and casting distance.

 

Do I really have to get rid of the swivel? It's much easier than retying every time I want to change baits.  I have since downsized to a smaller one.

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The "Issue" may not be the lure. It could be delivery, direction, scent, stealth, or just timing.

 Delivery,...meaning the gear used. If your using 30 lb test mono line with a giant snapswivel, a 1/16 roostertail isnt going to cast far enough to offer a viable cast. And the pic shows some obvious line holding up that rock bass.  with the rod/reel combo you have, and fishing where you are, after "smaller" smallies.,...I'd reccommend a decent casting 6 or 8 lb test mono line. Yes a snapswivel "should" be used for a inline spinner, but get yourself some of the smallest sampo's you can find. and maybe step up to a 1/8 oz spinner,.. and no split shots either.

Direction: cast upstream and retrieve the lure back downstream to you in a manner, or, speed that keeps the blade spinning. Just think about it for a minute. The fish are facing upstream, looking for food to be brought to them via the current. So, you may have to reel kinda fast depending on the currents speed.

 Scent:,.. smother whatever lure you are using with a scent,.. It will mask any odors, oils etc. that may deter fish from hitting it.

 Stealth: stay quiet, work your way upstream, slowly and QUIETLY, any noises made, transmit better and faster underwater. If fish hear you coming along, they will avoid anything offered.

 Timing: somedays fish just aren't agreeable to begin with, They may have fed all night last night, or may be shut down due to barometric pressure. 

Now, keep in mind Im offering these to you, as Im not sure as to what degree of  fishing knowledge you have. So, Im kind of guessing,.... There could be one or several reasons as to why you aren't finding more agreeable river smallies.  Typically, river smallies are more agressive and agreeable than their lakebound bretheren.

 I hope this helps you,...good luck

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It's a crank bait ! Lol . The rebel crawfish is a crank bait. Yes with a lip. You just reel it in at various speeds.. the jig is separate... and I just meant find another spot on the little Miami. 

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14 hours ago, Scott F said:

When you aren't catching fish on a river, lure selection is seldom the problem. 

In my smallmouth club, most of the guys fish in rivers. From the posted fishing reports of those who are catching  fish, everybody is using different baits. Just in the last week, smallies were being caught on a float-n-fly, swim jigs, topwaters, jerkbaits,  plastics and a fly rod. Every type of bait was catching bass. The type of bait isn't as important as presenting it correctly and in the right location. 

In your case, the bent shaft on the in-line spinner prevents it from running properly. I fish spinners a lot and they don't twist line any more than any other bait as long as they are running right. The blade is supposed to spin, not the lure. A snap is OK for quick changes, but the swivel is not needed. The blades on Rooster Tails in my experience don't always spin. You have to give them a little jerk to get the blade turning. When its spinning, you should be able to feel it as you're retrieving it. If you can't, than it's either not spinning or your rod is not very good.

Location in rivers, as in any place you fish, is everything. You must pay attention to the current. Bass do not hang out in the current. They tuck in behind rocks, logs, or weeds, in slack or slow moving water, next to the fast water. As the fast water pushes food downstream past the spots where the fish are laying, they wait, dashing out to grab a meal as it goes by.  Your job is to find where the bass are laying and present the lure to them. When bass are feeding, they generally aren't that picky about what they eat. If they aren't real active, they won't chase the bait very far so you have to get it right in their face. That can be a challenge when you are dealing with current, trees and the rocks they are holding close to.

Now that the water temps are dropping and the leaves are beginning to fall, the time to catch them is fading. Here in Northern Illinois, the prime time is starting to wind down. The bite is starting to slow and in some rivers, the bass are migrating to their winter holding areas. 

It may take you some time to locate the spots in your river that hold fish but the bass will use those spots repeatedly and you can return there time after time.

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Keep the snap swivels out of your bass gear and never ever think of them again (unless you're drop-shotting or cranking deep). Tie directly to the line. After a day of jigging in a river you will be able to re-tie in less than a minute. You are missing hungry onlookers no matter what you clip on

 

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2 hours ago, Scott F said:

In my smallmouth club, most of the guys fish in rivers. From the posted fishing reports of those who are catching  fish, everybody is using different baits. Just in the last week, smallies were being caught on a float-n-fly, swim jigs, topwaters, jerkbaits,  plastics and a fly rod. Every type of bait was catching bass. The type of bait isn't as important as presenting it correctly and in the right location. 

In your case, the bent shaft on the in-line spinner prevents it from running properly. I fish spinners a lot and they don't twist line any more than any other bait as long as they are running right. The blade is supposed to spin, not the lure. A snap is OK for quick changes, but the swivel is not needed. The blades on Rooster Tails in my experience don't always spin. You have to give them a little jerk to get the blade turning. When its spinning, you should be able to feel it as you're retrieving it. If you can't, than it's either not spinning or your rod is not very good.

Location in rivers, as in any place you fish, is everything. You must pay attention to the current. Bass do not hang out in the current. They tuck in behind rocks, logs, or weeds, in slack or slow moving water, next to the fast water. As the fast water pushes food downstream past the spots where the fish are laying, they wait, dashing out to grab a meal as it goes by.  Your job is to find where the bass are laying and present the lure to them. When bass are feeding, they generally aren't that picky about what they eat. If they aren't real active, they won't chase the bait very far so you have to get it right in their face. That can be a challenge when you are dealing with current, trees and the rocks they are holding close to.

Now that the water temps are dropping and the leaves are beginning to fall, the time to catch them is fading. Here in Northern Illinois, the prime time is starting to wind down. The bite is starting to slow and in some rivers, the bass are migrating to their winter holding areas. 

It may take you some time to locate the spots in your river that hold fish but the bass will use those spots repeatedly and you can return there time after time.

Cool thanks for the tips everyone.  Should I not even bother fishing tomorrow, is the water too cold in southern Ohio or can I still catch fish? It's gonna be 68 degrees and sunny.

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19 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

I'm going fishing. Ha-ha just out side of waynesville 

Be careful, they just let a bunch of water into the river from the dam at Caesars and the water is high and fast. I'm going upstream to Beavercreek to put in at the narrows.

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The Ned rig might be the answer to your problem if there are smallmouth in the area that you're fishing. The Z-Man Finesse TRD and Finesse ShroomZ jig head are all you need. If your river has a lot of current try the 1/10 oz size head but I prefer a 1/15 when the water is a little more calm. Keep colors simple - green pumpkin and junebug. Depending on the size of smallies, you can also consider getting a pack of the Turbo CrawZ; have not been able to get mine wet due to the fact that the river smallies here are just too small. 

Here's the Ned Rig BR resource.

Tight lines

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Sounds very similar to the river I fish. In the spring and summer I have a lot of luck with a plastic craw on a shakeyhead. I target rapids and directly below them.  If there is a Boulder or tree giving current breaks that gets a few extra casts.  

I'll be honest and say I've been struggling to find smallies regularly this fall.  The river is very low right now due to no rain and my usual holes are now barren. I've been having the most luck with a spinner bait with a swim fluke instead of a skirt. Try to cover water and find the aggressive fish then you can narrow it down. 

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You can try silver or white crappie tubes. I fish them in the fox river here in st. Charles. It is around three feet deep and very rock the tubes work great. My friend and I first started this summer fishing the river and the first 2 times we went we caught nothing we were using flukes and inline spinners. Then  decided to throw the tubes  I had on hand for panfish. Well I ended up catching 13 smallies and my friend 17. But they were all around 8-12". So I recommend go to Walmart  buy a cheap pack of crappie tubes and see if they will hit them. If they do go to bass  pro and try out the bass pro 2 1/2" squirt tubes in the watermelon color we did a lot of experiments with colors and size 2 1/2" watermelon was the best, bps also sells the squirt inside rig heads. The white and silver crappie tubes in he 1 1/2" work very well too but the 2 1/2" catch bigger fish obviously. For me usually around 12-16", Also the weather Is getting cold here too and they seem to still hit, my buddy just caught a 16 yesterday. If you do fish them in rocky currents which is were I get the best success I recommend light braid with a mono/fluorocarbon leader whatever is on hand. Tubes tend to get wedged in rocks easily in shallow fast moving water and the bow and arrow trick with the braided line works very well in getting them out. Sorry for the added story, just thought I'd give my experience scince I had the same problem as the original poster.

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On 10/21/2016 at 11:31 AM, Ohioguy25 said:

I've been fishing from a kayak in the Little Miami Rivet in southwestern Ohio now for over a month.  I've been a total of 5 times, using a medium-light fast action 6' St Croix Premier w a Pflueger Summit reel casting everything from soft plastic craws and grubs on jig heads to rooster tails to buzz bait to tubes to diving minnows to swim bait.  I've cast in heavy rapids and the deeper areas right below them, I've fished deep 10-20 ft calm pools in both shade and sunlight, and I've covered roughly 10-15 miles of the river and I've only caught a total of 4 fish only one of which was a smallie. 

I've read multiple places that the Little Miami is one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the state, I don't understand why I'm having so much trouble?  I've seen them in there, swimming below me in shallower areas. Smallmouth, carp, and several other species.  Any suggestions in regards to where and how I should be casting, what baits I should be throwing and how to work them would be greatly appreciated, I'm more determined than ever! 

Last Sunday, my most recent trip, I went w my dad and finally landed my first smallmouth! It was pretty exciting, even though it was tiny.  I hit it in a tiny pool right below a rapid as I had been advised, using a 1/16 yellow rooster tail.  I stayed and kept hitting the same spot for about 45 minutes after I caught the buzz. Thanks again!

 

Btw, what species of fish is this? I researched all of the species in the river and the Sauger is the closest resemblance I could find.

1477066507.8627.jpg

I don't believe it's the baits that you are using, it's the time if year. The hottest days of the year in July-August will be your best action. Especially in a drought. You can catch them on anything during those time periods. Already look forward to next smallie season. Good luck and tight lines

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22 minutes ago, Drowning A Worm said:

I don't believe it's the baits that you are using, it's the time if year. The hottest days of the year in July-August will be your best action. Especially in a drought. You can catch them on anything during those time periods. Already look forward to next smallie season. Good luck and tight lines

Yes this was the time when the bite was hot  

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