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MarVaBC

Deep Water Smallies

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I have 2 local reservoirs that are filled with smallies...this year will be my first year targeting them b/c I just got my first boat.  The issue is that the avg. depth is 50+ feet and I am not used to fishing for them  in deep, slow water (I'm normally fishing rivers).  What are your best techniques for smallies in 20-40 ft of water?  I read the treads on silver buddies...def. gonna try them.  Planning on deep cranking and carolina rigging for them too.  What about an extra-deep drop shot rig?  Anyone tried that?  A drop shot rig with like 30 hooks on it ranging from 40 to 20 feet deep... just kidding  ;D (it would work though if you could get it un-tangled and cast it!)

Looking forward to your suggestions!

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Some people here troll for them in deep colder water: three way to a weight on bottom, leader to some kind of crank.

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The traditional artificials work int deep water, too. Here are a few suggestions: grubs, Hula Grubs, 3 1/2" Gitzit and hair jigs.

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Catching smallies from depths of 30' or deeper may cause damage or death to the fish.  I'm not preaching, just warning... your call.

Steve- could you explain more about this?

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The first thing is the thromecline if you have a good fish finder it will show as a band on the screen.

The smallies will be shallower than this.

Get some 3/8 tube jigs and some tubes in the tone of the bottom color. Go to shallows and look around if it's brown buy brown if it's sand greys and off white ect.

Get a 7 ft spinning rod and 8 lb flouro. Set your stoller on about 20% and start dragging adjust length of line adjust speed to maintain bottom contact.

Get some 5-6 oz jigs to tow the smallies back down if they get the bends.

Garnet

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i would suggest a 3/8oz-1/2oz drop shot rig. 3" senko or sniper snub will work wonders for ya.

i agree that catching fish out of 50' of water can be dangerous for the fish.....

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I think what you guys are referring to about it being dangerous is the pressure build up in the swim bladder as they come up out of deep water. I have read a little bit on the issue. Apparently the swim bladder gets inflated, and they can't swim right when you release them. There is a technique where you can insert a needle just below the lateral line in an upward fasion to release the pressure and let them go unharmed. I have never caught a smallie out of >20 feet of water so I have not encountered any problems yet. I'll update if I do.

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i've caught many smallies in the 20'-35' range without a ploblem. it will start to get interesting at about 50'.

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Apply the same basics of structure fishing to your lake. Look for humps, breaklines, rock piles, bluffs. Drop shot, tubes, carolina rig and other things others have mentioned will get you some bites. Also, if the water is clear don't ever rule out a hard jerkbait, soft jerkbait worked across the surface, or a topwater of some type. Feeding smallies will often come a long way to nail a bait on the surface or a biat worked erratically.

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Smallies in water 20-40' that are schooled up are easily taken with spoons. You need a decent graph to locate them. You can use a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce kastmaster spoon in gold or silver depending on the forage. Just sit over the fish and drop the spoon down to them. Depth is key here, you need to be in front of the fish. I use a cheap clip on line counter to make sure I'm in the strike zone. Once you get there just rip the spoon up and let it fall. Keep a fairly tight line on the drop, more or less follow the spoon with your rod tip to the water as it falls, most stikes will come as it falls. You will just feel a faint tick in the line. Vary your rips, 2 fast short rips then 1 long one. It takes patience but once they start hitting, you have a limit in 10 minutes. This is technique that has lost it's popularity but works, I'm sure there are many tourny anglers doing this and not saying. This also works well where you have docks that are over water that is 10-16' deep. Pull into the slip quietly and just flip the spoon into the corners of the slip and jig it. Alot of times the smallies will suspend just under the edges of the docks. If your good at casting or flipping, try finding pontoon boats that are in some water 10-12', flip the spoon under the pontoon between the long barrels, do not hit the tanks, if you do move on, this will "ring the bell" and echo through the water and spook the fish. Takes practice but works real well on high pressured lakes. Most guys are afraid to fish like this because of losing baits, so these fish don't get the pressure.

Good luck

Rob

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I fish for smallies deep and have "fizzed" smallies before.  I did it in a state tournament for over 350 bass because I was one of five fisherman that knew how to do it.  I can say to all of you that we only killed 2 fish and that was suspect because they were gut hooked already.  The best thing to do when catching deep smallies is to take your time bringing them up. SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN.  After you catch them and put them in the well keep an eye on them and make sure they are not swimming around belly up.  They make "fizzing" needles...I suggest you get one and do some research

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I think RW and Dizzy pretty much covered my choices. My personal first choice would be a gitzit. Dark Melon/Purple flake or Green Pumpkin/Red Flake. Use a 3/8oz jighead and be sure to add a rattle. It is not imperative to be in 50 feet of water. Its more important to look for transition areas. This is when you need to really decipher your depth finder. Creek channels, drop offs, rock piles, sunken islands and the end of points would be my daytime choices. I especially like those sunken islands or breaks in around 3o or 35 foot of water. Creek channels or river channels are gold mines in the summer months. Rocky bottoms are key when fishing for smallies in lakes although, they will suspend, as well. Early morning and late evening are the time for topwaters and especially white Super Flukes. Bass love them. Around here in the deep clear water lakes we do real well in the late summer at night. Smallies move up at night to the shallower water. I like to fish a rocky bottom with a gitzit at night in around 5 to 10 feet of water. Slowwwly drag your tube and be ready because they usually crush them at night. Areas with lighted docks that draw baitfish are a good choice when hunting night time smallies around the main lake area. Just some ideas, good luck. :)

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I fish for smallies deep and have "fizzed" smallies before. I did it in a state tournament for over 350 bass because I was one of five fisherman that knew how to do it. I can say to all of you that we only killed 2 fish and that was suspect because they were gut hooked already. The best thing to do when catching deep smallies is to take your time bringing them up. SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN. After you catch them and put them in the well keep an eye on them and make sure they are not swimming around belly up. They make "fizzing" needles...I suggest you get one and do some research

What you say is good advice if you are fishing that deep, however, let's not assume that fizzing does not invite infection (or internal organ damage if done improperly) or that effects of swim bladder pressurization can't be delayed.  Catching fish from 30+ depths is potentially fatal to the fish.  Again, everyone should make their own informed decision.

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I found a article in Gary Yamamoto's Insider Line on deep water bass. Although its rare I fish as deep as 50', I have caught them that deep. I do fish 25'-40' pretty frequently in the late summer months during the day in the main river channel behind a local river dam here. I have had some great days doing this. It does concern me about harming these fish though so, I did a little research. :)

                               - 17k

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Lots of great ideas here. In addition to the usual grubs and tubes I like using a drop shot rig with either a Jack's Worm or a fluke style bait. One of the challenges when working away from the shore out deep is trying to stay tuned into the area that looked good on your electronics. For this purpose I'm a real believer in the use of marker buoys. I like to take a little time watching my screen and marking out a nice long edge of either a drop-off or a structure pile. Without something to key in on I find myself drifting off target. By using a couple of different colored buoys you can mark the shallowest part (top) of say an underwater island and the deepest part of the drop off and then work the productive area in between. Good luck with your deep water endevours.

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