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Peter E.

Going For Smallies

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Well Fellow Anglers,

I am looking forward to attending college in North Alabama, after transfering with my associates in Biology. One of the main challenges I will have in this is a new quarry, Small Mouth! I have heard quite alot about these fish and looking forward to pursueing them.

As ya'll know I am a fanatical LMB fisherman who also goes after Kentucky Reds and Spots, in streams, creeks, and small rivers. I would love to know how to addapt my presentation to these fish. I would also love for ya'll to give be a vote on a water craft. I have my eye on a 12' Featherlite Angler by Heritage.

Oh and tackle as far as rods and reels tips too.

I'm just looking for some general info on Smallie fishing, how it differs from LMB and spots.

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I am no SM expert but I had no trouble adapting to them when I moved to my current location. I find that they are more like spots than regular LM. I use the same lures and soft plastics as before, the only real difference for me is that I work some baits faster... especially flukes. Our SM seem to like flukes moving at a high rate of speed and shorter pauses, same with stick and jerkbaits... even do well with faster than normal buzzbaits. As for soft plastics, all the same work but I do catch more SM on craws than other types. Spider jigs and finesse jigs are a big producer of smallies.

I hope you transition quickly, they are a lot of fun!!

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Smallmouth bass differ from largemouth bass in terms of preferred prey and environment, but the lures and techniques used to catch them are very similar. Lets take a look at the differences first:

Smallmouth bass are associated with structure, not cover in most reservoirs, streams and rivers although that is not always true in natural lakes. Rock piles, boulders, ledges, humps, ridges and pools are a more likely setting than any type of vegetation, timber or shade (like a dock). Smallmouth choose hard bottoms, gravel and stone. They are almost always associated with access to deep or at least deeper water. Bronzebacks will always be in current if that is an option. They prefer rocky, steeply sloping primary points versuse rounded, gradual, secondary points. Target current breaks, the front and side of eddies and transition points.

Nationwide the primary diet is said to be crawdads (65%), but that is hottly debated in the Mid South and I suspect in the Great Lakes regions, too. Smallmouth tend to stage at ambush points, letting their prey come to them rather than chasing baitfish in shallow water. Cooler, highly oxygenated water is a big plus.

Smallmouth are generally lighter than their cousins. Although they tend to appear fatter, the widith is shorter (top to bottom) than a comparable largemouth. For example, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, a 22" smallmouth should weigh about 5 lb 3 oz. A largemouth of the same length would weigh 6 lb 6 oz. If a green bass is a battleship, a brown bass is a submarine.

Now let's look at the similarities. Both species have a comparable diet: anything that moves! You will sometimes catch largemouth when fishing for smallmouth, but it usually doesn't work the other way around. However, Kentucky bass are often associated with smallmouth.

In terms of equipment, the requirements are basically the same. The only difference, based on my experience, is that smallmouth appear to be line shy and for the most part, largemouth are not. For finesse baits, I suggest light line. For hard baits (reaction lures) I don't think line size or visibility is as important.

I recommend fishing a 7' medium power/ fast action spinning rod for live bait and all finesse applications. For hard baits, I usually use a baitcaster.

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I like fishing from my jon boat in just about any conditions....so of course my vote was biased.

As far as equipment, I use a 6'6" spinning outfit (medium) when I am fishing the river. Oh yeah, buy tubes!!!!!!!

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This area is big time smallmouth country. They are definitely ambushers and because of this they love current that carries their pray past rocks and other obstructions that they hide behind.

They also tend to frequent SHALLOW water far more than LMB. The deepest areas of the best SMB fishing river around here are only about 6 ft and most of the river runs between 18 inches and 4 feet.

This is where the fish are... and if you're going after them then you need to be in a boat that can handle current, rocks and very shallow water.

Most in this area use a canoe or kayak. Trouble is that the canoes that are truly capable of handling being beaten around harshly weigh too much for one person to easily load/unload and carry more than a few steps because htey're made of thick, touch plastics. (harshly beating the boat is unavoidable in this kind of water).

This leaves a kayak, a kayak and a kayak. You'll need to get inventive when it comes to a stringer or live well and make sure that all your equipment A) floats, and B) will stay in their respective containers when, not if, you dump yourself in the water at some point.

Kayaks can be great to fish from but you need to think ahead. Don't drag too much gear out with you, have a plan for what to do with any keepers and make sure that your gear won't get lost.

And, lastly, pack some extra clothes (2 sets) in watertight bags... you'll be glad that you did.

Scott / Vorlin

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My vote is biased also but I have a 14 foot jon boat and I love it. I would have to say though if you get a jon boat try and get one that's wide. Mine is pretty narrow and can be tricky walking from one end to the other.

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 In Ky and Barkley lake they are found on gravel or rock bottoms which we have plenty of.  They also like plenty of current with deep water close by.   Thjis is the reason I fish for SM close to the dam.   I use a Loomis 783 spinning rod with punpkin color tubes  and 6 pound test line.  If I am using a BC I use a Loomis 844C with 13 # Sunline Defier line throwing a black /blue 3/8 oz jig.    All of my fishing is done in a Jon Boat but I have just bought a bass rig so I will be switching to that.

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I started fishing from a kayak a couple of years ago and it is great ;D Although I am not sure where you would keep yak in your dorm room.  I use a 6.5 ft med XF and a 6.5 med F spinning rods most of the time.  I use 10 power pro or 8lb copoly line.  A 1/8 oz buzzbait is my faovrite lure but I also catch them on worms, grubs and spinnerbaits.  I would say that I catch 80% of my fish on moving/swimming baits but that is probably due more to the way I like to fish than any scientific study.  I would recommend fishing current breaks to start.  

Have fun with the smallies ;D

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ROADWARRIOR, AS USUAL THAT WAS A VERY GOOD POST. RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

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I fish a lot of smaller rivers for smallmouth so a kayak is my favorite choice. I fish out of a 12' Loon right now but I have my eye on one of those Hobie 'yaks.

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rw said everything i wanted to.  think structure not cover.  find places that are at the very least near deeper water.  tubes, grubs, and jerkbaits are among my favorite lures.

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Thanks Guys! I really appreciate it! Ya'll have been great. I am looking at AUH, so are any of you small mouth gurus in the Huntsville, Alabama area?

Ya'll really sent out some great info on how to locate the fish in the basic cover areas. Ya'll gave some awsome advice.

Look at this is this:

Tackle: Lighter line or at least Flourocarbon, spinning tackle is great because it allows you to use a finnesse presentation, and lenghty casts even with light lures. I would gather that a Pluguer Trion would be a good bait caster. Fast tip, with some good length to optimize the use the rod. I would gather that since you are using light lines and these fish relate heavily to structure, the length of the rod will help to move these fish out of cover fast!

Lures: I heard alot about the finnesse approach, I would gues that is due to the clear water and smaller fish. Crawfish are main prey this tells me to match the hatch with tubes and jigs. I would also bet that crawfish cranks would have good appeal.

Boat: Depends on where you fish! Oh and my cousin owns a rent all in Huntsville so I would have storage and job :) !

Above all else use the current to carry your lures into the ambush points of the fish (kenucky Red 101).

The biggest thing that will take some getting used to is fishing deep cover, all the lakes around me are dish pan! So any advice there would be helpful!

Oh and thanks!

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THOSE JON BOATS ARE FUN ON LAKE ERIE....LOL....8 FT WAVES....GOTTA LOVE IT....LOL ;D

IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHERE YA GO...RIVER...SMALL LAKE?  ANYWAY YOU LOOK AT IT...IT'S ALL FUN.

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because all of my smallie fishing is done in a shallow river, my feet are my preferred vehicle while fishing for smallies. THere's nothing quite as nice as wading a cool river on a hot summer day with some friends (especially when someone slips and falls in up to their neck in 3 feet of water!)

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Growing up as a kid on the Columbia River out in oregon I had no access to waders any kind of boat or tube. Dont count out just fishing off the bank I had great success catching smallies on the rock piles and gravel piles below the John Day Dam.

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A 17' Express 70/55 Jet Drive tin boat is what I run but, a small tin boat or Kayak is great and will probably get you where you need to go. Heck, I live a stones throw from the Potomac and I like nothing better than wading in the summer. I fish a place by my house where the river runs 2'-3' and I walk downriver with one rod and some tubes and work my way throwing straight up river in the main channel ( shoulder deep) and can catch 25-50 smallies every evening. Most are small as around 10-15" but, it is a blast. I am nostalgic with a lot of my fishing and revert back to when I was younger and didn't have a fancy boat and equipment. Its fun.

6' to 7' M to MH spinning rods with a fast to Xtra fast tip loaded with #6 and #8 test. I find myself using #8 the most unless the water is low or clear then I go to #6. I use Stradics.

M-MH baitcaster, 6'-7'. I use Curados for #12 test and Abu Garcia's for #14-#15 test.

31/2" tubes in Smoke/Purple, Dark Melon/Purple flake, Green Pumpkin/Red Flake, Puke

Super Flukes in white and Smoky Joe. Black Deer Hair Jig with a black 101 Uncle Josh pork frog.

5" Senkos in Green Pumpkin, Cinnamon/Purple Flake, Dark Melon/Gold Flake, Smoke/Blue Flake,Zoom Centipedes in Green pumpkin and Watermelon fished wacky or T-Rigged on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook. Zoom 4" Dead Ringers.

5" grubs in Bluegill, Cinnamon/Purple Flake, Pearl White are great.

1/2 chartreuse blades in Indiana blade spinnerbaits, Cavitrons in white.

Zara Spooks, Spittin Image, Chug Bugs, Husky Jerks, Clear Torpedoes, Norman Little N's and Baby N's,Bomber 6A and 7A, Wiggle Warts in chartreuse/purple , Red or Firetiger.

IKA's or Palm Trees.

Sunken Islands, Rocky Bottoms, Grass, Main river channels in the summer, current breaks, Ledges are great, etc,etc. You will figure them out. What I gave you is a generic good start but, let the venue tell you what to use.

Smallies are not very bashful and if it is clear don't be afraid to burn your lures or work them fast. Trust me, they can keep up in warm water. The most important thing_____ Have fun!!! :)

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i personally love fishing out of a canoe with my fishing buddy and best friend but im bias because thats what he owns and all we use, im not sure if this is a true statement but its in my honest opinion that many smallmouth are taken from water deeper than 12 feet and fish deeper than that cannot see the boat, yes definitely smallies can see you and your boat in water that is totally clear but other than that case they cannot see the boat

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I go with what I have now, a pontoon boat on a lake, but I have to say the most fun to me is a sit on top kayak in a small clear north Arkansas river full of smallies.

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