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Ohioguy25

Are creek/small river smallies best fished off the bottom?

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So as I’ve mentioned before I have been catching live craws in the little river I fish in southern Ohio, and although I’ve had success w them I recently started using worms and they seem to hit those way more.

 

I’ve been rigging them on a size 6 baitholder with a split shot about a foot and a half up and jigging them off the bottom (3-5 ft of water at the end of a current.) 

 

This has produced some decent results, but would it work better any other way? Possibly with a jig head?

 

Are river smallies best fished off the bottom or do top-middle water column casts work as good or better? 

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I fish a small river close to my house where the ‘holes’ are 5 foot deep. I always throw a brown/orange jig and hop it off the bottom. My wife throws a weightless Senko so we’re at opposite ends of the water column. I think smallies are so aggressive that if they’re suspended they’ll gladly swim down 3-5 feet for a meal or vise versa. 

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I catch a lot of smallmouth on small jigs and ned rigs but all my biggest fish have been on topwater.

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The cool thing about river fish is they usually have oxygen at all levels of the water column.  The fish go where the food is and where they have cover.

 

 

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I think you should pick up a bag of Berkley 4” Power Worms and throw them lite t-style, jig head, shakey head, split shot rig and weightless t-style. I think you will be surprised with your results. Very surprised. 

 

I am not dissing you on the live bait and please don’t take it that way. Fish whatever way you like to. 

 

But if you like worm fishing, which I do. They (rubber worms) give you better rigging options. 

 

I think PowerWorms are a good choice because I believe they will catch smallies anywhere. There are many finesse type out there but start there first. 

 

You my never go go back to fishing livebait (real worms) again. Believe in them, they will work. 

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I mostly fish a small river in Western PA (not too far from you I imagine) and have had the most luck with topwater on that river. Usually the Berkley Choppo in bone, maverick, or MF Bluegill. But this river is pretty shallow. Most of where I'm casting is probably in the 2-5' depth range. So top water is pretty close to them no matter where they are. 

 

I've also had a lot of luck with the swing head jig and a creature bait. Just cranking it through the rocks. 

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2 hours ago, Spankey said:

I think you should pick up a bag of Berkley 4” Power Worms and throw them lite t-style, jig head, shakey head, split shot rig and weightless t-style. I think you will be surprised with your results. Very surprised. 

 

I am not dissing you on the live bait and please don’t take it that way. Fish whatever way you like to. 

 

But if you like worm fishing, which I do. They (rubber worms) give you better rigging options. 

 

I think PowerWorms are a good choice because I believe they will catch smallies anywhere. There are many finesse type out there but start there first. 

 

You my never go go back to fishing livebait (real worms) again. Believe in them, they will work. 

What about the Ned rig? I have that.

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Ok, the Ned Rig is fine but to me it’s a grub type fishing and not as special as they make it out to be. A lot of guys have fished a version of Ned Rig long before it was ever heard of. A lot of us have been making that out of our Yum Dingers that get torn up and fishing it on jig heads. Don’t be in a rush to throw away your torn up Senkos and the like. I’m not downing grub fishing, I like it. 

 

But what I am implying about fishing a 4” - 4 1/2” Worm is it is small, finesse in style. You might/can become one with how you are fishing it. Fish nice and slow. Easy to work easy to see in some situations.  Keep some slack in your line and watch your line. I don’t want to come off all Guru, Zen, Dalai Lama and crap about it. It’s just stuff I learned on my own. With those smaller type worms I’ve caught Smallmouths and Largemouths from 6” to 22” long. I’ll never not use them. I’ll be out on Sunday. I expect to catch at least one bass finesse fishing a 4” or 5” finesse type worm. I don’t anticipate the fish to be 6” long. Everyone has a different confidence bait. I have a few like most guys. But right now (last few weeks) it has been soft plastics. 

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I guess it depends on what the river bottom looks like, but I tend to fish live crawdads up off the bottom for the first few casts because I target rocks for smallmouth -- if craws stay on the bottom too long, they burrow between the rocks where they get stuck, or mangled, or screw up your leader.  If I don't get bit right away, I'll let him crawl on the bottom longer.  Jigging works, but if you've body or tail hooked the craw, he's not likely to stay on as long in the current or withstand repeated jigging and recasts.  I use a hair band, wrap it around his thorax, then put the hook point under the band pointing to the tail, and that way he stays livelier for longer.

 

Here is some advice for live craws from "The Machine" on youtube, hope it helped you like it did me :) 

 

 

1 minute ago, M0xxie said:

 

 

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If I'm floating and need to cover water for active fish then I throw nothing but white spinnerbaits or pearl flukes.

Stationary or wading I prefer bucktail jigs with pork or fat cow trailers. 

Creature baits work also.

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Late summer and low water mean small buzzbaits. I always liked to remove the skirt and replace with some kind of swimming plastic. Less resistance and casts farther.

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Most of the creeks / rivers that I have fished for smallmouth don't have much space between the bottom and the surface, so it doesn't really matter.  If there is a deep spot, I'll use something that gets to the bottom.  If they are suspending, they'll go for it on the way down if they are feeding.

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Ohio guy your not far from me.My buddy’s haven’t been doing very well the last month.what I do is wade the streams in the start of summer and mark where I feel the cool springs.I also look for holes that have shade and current.They are not necessarily the big holes but the ones with the right conditions.

The other eve I caught around 15 using my fly rod on a black woolly bugger.3 of em were around 2lbs.(best I had in a while)

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