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Hit the Mississippi pretty good today up here in the north country(Minnesota). Caught a couple smallies on mostly tubes as that's what they wanted. However I'm curious as to my current gear:

 

Daiwa Revros 2500 w/ 15lb braid

Daiwa Cronos 7'1" ML F 

 

Throwing 1/8oz tubes, but what was odd to me was how tough it was to land them. Not trying to horse them, but on the bigger smallie of the day it made a few quick runs which left me struggling to gain ground. Eventually the line broke, my guess the knot was weekended cause the rocks and me being lazy on not retying. All fishing was done from shore.

 

Is my drag set to tight? Does it sound like I'm horsing the fish in? Looking for recommendations. If this should else where I do apologize. Thanks! 

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I will say, definitely play around with your drag. I had a few the past two seasons train wreck me and break me off. Especially on the initial hit. I had a large one today that if I did not have my drag adjusted the way it was I would have broke it off without a doubt. It made three runs back to back with the last one trying to cross the river. You also need to be patient with them. If you play with them for a few minutes you will get the gist of when they are ready to come in.

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So it's more about getting the drag set right? Hmm, okay. Next outing, I'll play around. 

 

Dont think my rod is to light?

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There is a big difference between breaking your line and a knot giving out.  Also, if it is abrasion, drag isn't the answer, but I do see many with the drag improperly set.  It is hard to imagine breaking 15 lb braid on it's own.

 

My buddy has several ML rods and does just fine, but struggles with the bigger fish.  The amount of bend precludes him from cranking.

He is going to M/XF for next year

 

Edit...when I have tried one of his ML, I found setting the hook to be a bit more challenging and had to play the fish a lot more to fatigue him more.  Fun fights, easily lost.  I will stick with M and MH

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I lost a fish yesterday 10 feet from me, the line gave way. Possibly the line was weakened from rocks or like you suggested knot gave out. What's your suggestion for setting drag? 

 

Honestly, I'm thinking of going to a medium next year, maybe upping my reel to a 3000 size. Just some thoughts. 

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I fish the Mississippi and Rum quite a bit and a big smallie in current takes the right gear.  I have always used Medium power rods.  These fish know how to move with and against the current to make your job of landing them even tougher.  They can spit the hook with the best of them.  But that's what makes the challenge so fun!!  I honestly have contemplated going to a Medium Heavy rod at times, especially when the current is strong.  

 

I personally think a Medium Light is simply too light and you're going to miss too many fish.  The key in preventing the fish from hook spitting and line breaking is to keep the rod top high and the fish buttoned up - need a Medium power to do that effectively IMO.

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@FryDog62- I do agree that a Medium Light is to light and hook penetration is shaky at best. 

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I have both medium and ml rods and I will agree sometimes the ml is underpowered for some susky smallies but other times is like others said about drag what I do when using ml is usually have my drag on the looser end and let them make there runs then slowly starting take up the drag I've landed musky on smallmouth gear granted it took 15 minutes just about playing them right I've had some smallies man handle me with even stouter gear 

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For me, ML 7' spinning rod is just about perfect. I don't mind an extended fight. Mainly because that's why I go fishing....for the pure fun of it. Take your time. Snug up the drag a bit - or tighten it down all the way and try backreeling. Try this one time and you'll amaze yourself at the amount of control you actually have over a fish of any size.

 

I like to hear the drag scream, so I don't backreel anymore. :)

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All the pros are fishing for money and speed and landing every fish is critical to that paycheck.  They re-tie and always use fresh line.  They have a ton of gear and just change the setup if required.  I love more powerful rods but how you fish and your goals are inportant.  I would carry a ml and a medium to cover the range.  I like an ml spinning and medium casting for river work.  Conditions change a lot on the river so having two setups keeps you prepared.   

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One I think a medium is better suited for my style of fishing and secondly my drag is probably set to tight. I mostly throw tubes or jigs on the river with the occasional swimbait, cranks, and top water. 

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for river Smallmouth and I almost exclusively use medium heavy baitcasters. When I do use a spinning reel I use a ML and usually fish slider jigs or ball jigs, I try to use the biggest widest gap hooks I can get away with. I tend to baby the drag and just try to keep the rod loaded which can be a challenge in fast current on spinning gear.

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Comparatively baitcasters are easier to bring in fish with, but medium is the way to go I think for smallies and tubes along with proper drag settings. 

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On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 9:34 PM, NathanDLTH said:

So it's more about getting the drag set right? Hmm, okay. Next outing, I'll play around. 

 

Dont think my rod is to light?

 

I don't think your rod is too light, but it sounds like you made up your mind on getting a medium.

 

When river fishing with tubes and Ned rigs I use a 6'6" ML/F St Croix Premier loaded with 8lb Fluoro. This weekend I hooked into a 3lb, 3oz Channel Catfish and thinking he was a Smallmouth I horsed him to the surface. Rod, reel and line performed flawless.

 

However I heard a fellow fisherman caught a 14lb Cat in the same spot. I might wish I had a MH in those circumstances.

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I have to agree with Galls post above. Medium and Medium Lite setups are in my boat. It was not your rod setup it is fine, tube are a great choice for smallies. Work on getting a good drag point for those heftier fish. I've hooked and landed musky and catfish on numerous occasions over the years. On 6# test no less. 

 

Not sure if other will agree or not but i find that when your hooked into decent sized and respectable size smallmouths that, yes they are acrobatic at times, but those fish dig to get back to the bottom they don't like to be on the top of the water. Hard to explain and smallies ounce for ounce are the toughest fish out there. 

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Thanks, I'll keep working on it and currently I think my drag point is pretty good. I'm always amazed how strong they are and how they use the current to their advantage. 

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Spankey I agree I noticed the bigger smallmouth will surge a little near the surface but dive bomb rapids trying to get away same with musky them boys will rip line off your spool in a flash same with big smallies I've only ever had one over 3# jump more then once most of thr big ones look for current or log jams 

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That's 15lb braid AKA 4lb mono diameter equivalent? I can see that getting roughed up and failing. Also depending on your knot that skinny diameter braid can slip and fail. If you had a solid knot and line in good shape it's hard to imagine a break-off in this instance. When fishing smallies I like to set the hook hard, and then immediately loosen the drag because they are going to run a few times. That said I usually fish for them with ~6lb mono in places I don't have to worry about them hanging up in cover.

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4 hours ago, gall said:

Spankey I agree I noticed the bigger smallmouth will surge a little near the surface but dive bomb rapids trying to get away same with musky them boys will rip line off your spool in a flash same with big smallies I've only ever had one over 3# jump more then once most of thr big ones look for current or log jams 

This past Saturday I was out and had a pretty decent day in spite of what my water  condition are and have been. I was on a point that has a nice flow of water around it that is being  deverted by Rock pileings. Drop off at the banks edge goes from inches to 7 ft deep almost immediately. My two nicest fish were just shy of 16"s and 18"s. Both were a one time lazy jump and there after all dig to stay to the bottom. I find this to be typical of the nicer River smallies. High percentage of time don't even get a jump out of the nice ones. 

 

This is stuff is an addiction and a sickness. 

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6 hours ago, Spankey said:

This past Saturday I was out and had a pretty decent day in spite of what my water  condition are and have been. I was on a point that has a nice flow of water around it that is being  deverted by Rock pileings. Drop off at the banks edge goes from inches to 7 ft deep almost immediately. My two nicest fish were just shy of 16"s and 18"s. Both were a one time lazy jump and there after all dig to stay to the bottom. I find this to be typical of the nicer River smallies. High percentage of time don't even get a jump out of the nice ones. 

 

This is stuff is an addiction and a sickness. 

That water you just described gave me. Goosebumps almost of all my fish have came from wing dams or riffles holding in Eddie's and the second they get into that current they dig and run for it to the o.p I know guys who throw light gear on hard charging smallmouth you gotta let them do their runs the bigger ones tire easier then the small ones in my. Experience and those same little ones will feel like a freight train running 

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I'll use Medium light spinning gear for 4 & 6 lb test presentations.  As I move up to 8 & 10 lb test I'll use medium power gear.

When & where I use each depends on the situation & the presentation.

Below is a decent smallie fought & landed on ML gear & 4 lb line.

The water was crystal clear, deep & flat calm.  Only way I could get bit.

As long as there isn't anything for the bass to 'get into' and break me off, I like to hear that drag . . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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I'm cautious if I know I'm on smallmouth that are big.  I keep the rod perpendicular to the fish, often employing gentle side pressure, and not just lifting up, especially if the fish is a ways out.  It's different when fishing vertically, where you're often simply holding the rod parallel to the water's surface.  While keeping steady pressure, and when the fish is not taking drag, try to move the fish gently with the rod, then bring the rod back, taking up line as you do so.  I definitely use a lighter drag setting, and like A-jay, don't mind it when it sings.  You only need 2 to 2.5 lbs. of resistance to subdue even the biggest smallie.

 

A nice little Erie chunker employing the what descripbed above, using 6# Invisx, a 6'3" ML spinning rod.

 

20101113-ErieWithNoel-05-L.jpg.ac156fc33

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58 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

I'll use Medium light spinning gear for 4 & 6 lb test presentations.  As I move up to 8 & 10 lb test I'll use medium power gear.

When & where I use each depends on the situation & the presentation.

Below is a decent smallie fought & landed on ML gear & 4 lb line.

The water was crystal clear, deep & flat calm.  Only way I could get bit.

As long as there isn't anything for the bass to 'get into' and break be off, I like to hear that drag . . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

I'll be honest I'm not into any smallies like you and J are hooking up into. I can wish and hope in one hand and you know how that saying goes but I'm taking a road trip to get into those. I manage a few nice ones a year in the Delaware and Susky. Every time I go out Smallie fishing it's with the intention of breaking my BP. I'm not as crazy as "Ike". But "never give up" I keep telling myself that. Keep trying to make something happen. I take the good days with the bad days. Try to reason with it. Try to keep it real. 

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6# ML, 6 & 8# Medium. I've caught some nice size channel cats, carp, musky and flatheads on Rapalas over the years. Can't say I've lost many rapalas due to those fish. May have taken me awhile to get them or possibly had to move the boat and go to them. I'm do for a carp soon. On occasion they crush a no. 7 gold w/ black back Shad Rap. Black and gold mini Traps also.  Not sure what they associate that with, coincidence they are the same color. 

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Line is generally decent to good condition, I'm tying a double palymor now. Thinking of jumping to a medium for sure. 

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