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pianoplayer0986

Need lure suggestions for river Smallies

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I've been fishing on the Maury River from my kayak (I usually fish behind an 8 foot dam). I fished the Maury several times last fall into the Winter, and I'm planning on going back out soon...

I tried a variety of lures, but the only one that's been getting me fish regularly is a jighead (painted with a 3-d eye) and Exude curly tail grub (preferably 3").

This rig never lets me down, but I'm not getting any big fish...the biggest fish I've gotten is a 12" carp (pretty small for a carp...). Mostly I catch small (4-8") Smallmouth, and redbreast.

I've also used a variety of spinners, plus a couple other random lures, with not as much success.

Should I try a larger size (4"? 6"?). Should I switch to a larger soft plastic worm?

I read a study awhile back that showed that lures with a larger girth will attract larger fish, but that the length doesn't matter much. Based on that, perhaps it isn't size that is my issue, as a 3" grub has a bigger girth than some 9" worms...

I tried jigging the lures, and using a stop-and-go retrieve, but a steady retrieve seems to work best...

Any suggestions?

Thanks!!!

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You might want to get yoou some tube baits.  can be rigged like most soft plastics.  Also do you know it there are larger fish in the area?  I know that one creek I have near my home you can catch alot of fish but anything over 10 inches is huge for it in parts.

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Id use some crawfish plastics like the yum craw bug with a baby booyah jig head in whatever color works for your lake, or ask a local tackle shop what color the crawfish are in there, that's what i would do, hope this helps

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Try green pumkin tubes its a good all around color im partial to the bass pro shops tender tubes.When it warms up a black bandit crankbait in the 200 or 300 series .

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You might want to get yoou some tube baits.  can be rigged like most soft plastics.  Also do you know it there are larger fish in the area?  I know that one creek I have near my home you can catch alot of fish but anything over 10 inches is huge for it in parts.

Yeh, there are some lunkers in the area. If the water color, temp, sunshine, etc are right, you can see them swimming around below the dam (Carp & smallies) I've seen a few above the dam, too...I usually fish above the dam, as it's alot easier to fish, and I actually catch more. I never could catch one of the ones below the dam. :-(

I'll try some tube baits and crayfish.

What size tubes - 3"?

Thanks!

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Just found this on Bass Pro:

"Grub --- Probably the No. 1 lure for both numbers of keeper smallies and trophy fish.  Smoke, chartreuse and pumpkin-pepper are universal smallmouth colors.  Try a 4- or 5-inch grub with a 1/4-ounce. leadhead."

I've been using a 3" white grub. Perhaps I should try the sizes and colors recommended above? Any input?

THank you very much!

~Adam

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I would try maybe throwing some bigger baits, try something like a smithwick devil horse at sunrise or sunset. and maybe try a few swimbaits or some bigger crankbaits and if all else fells and you don't mind fishing live bait. a good size salamander always did the trick back home on the new river in wv. good luck and hope you lay into a good one.

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Let me make it simple for you, green pumpkin tubes/ 1/8 oz jig head.

4" grubs in bluegill, white, cinnamon/purple flake.

5" Senko in green pumpkin.

Really, this is all you will need to catch those smallies.  :)

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Agreed....3.5-4'' tubes w. 1/8 oz jighead

Green Pumkin color

Also buzzbaits when it warms up and crayfish colored cranks.  And bigger jerkbaits like rouges or pointers or x-raps.

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I've been chasing river smallies for about 40 years. If your water is quite clear, say 5 feet or more visibility, that's a very tough  time to catch any good bass. You don't indicate the water temp., but if you are fishing into the 40's, the algae die off makes the water even clearer. So in the winter, go fish when the river is higher and more colored than normal. Fish suspended jerkbaits and jigs. If you can cut the visibility by half, you'll be able to fool these smallies if you can get out of the current.  

If the water temps are in the 50's or higher, they are much more tolerant of the current. The best warm water bait for smallmouth during the late prespawn through the summer is a superfluke fished on a 4/0 gammy no weight. White works everywhere, and if you have quality bass in your stream, visibility of 2- 4 feet, the Superfluke is the best bait going. I've caught thousands of big smallies on jigs, but just try that fluke as the water warms. Don't put hardly any action on it.  Just let it sink and glide along.  Good luck.

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I agree Nick although my bait of choice differs. I tend to use a 5" Senko in dark colors and rig them on a 2/0 gammie and just cast them so they drift right through where I think the bass are. Also remember that you may need to make several passes before a fish takes. I put a worm past the same spot last summer on a river in Maine just below a dam about a dozen times before I latched onto a really nice smallie. This setup works for me almost all the time.

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These are some great suggestions. I'll add a couple:

Fat Ika (T-rigged, weightless & weedless)

3 1/2" Mizmo tube, Kent's Classic (squash green)

GYCB Hula Grub (jig jead), Laminated Lizard (T-rigged, 1/8 oz weight)

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River smallies are thier own critter.

I have found that river smallies scan the entire water column, they look up at stuff being pushed by current and they look down for stuff being rolled along the bottom.

Due to this, I have found that river smallmouth are usually more agressive and less decisive. They are either ready to go, or they are not. They hit readily or they let the current sweep the food past them and down river and out of sight.

Maybee you have a slow flow river where thats not the case and finesse bites are more common. But I have yet to see a river smallie that wouldnt crush a suspending jerkbait or a double willow spinnerbait.

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I just graduated from JMU in December, and fished a lot of the rivers around Harrisonburg.  In the spring i  would catch a ton of fish on mepps #2 agilas and dressed agilas.  I also had good luck with some panther martins.  For some reason these just seemed to outcatch everything else i threw out there, this time of the year.      

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I hit the Maury again last week...the water was rather cold, and the fish were sluggish and holding on the bottom. I did manage to catch a 12.5" smallmouth (nothing to brag about, but quite an improvement for me). I actually caught it on my 3" white grub.  :P  

I got some tubes and crawfish, too, but didn't get anything on them (perhaps the poor visibility made the white lure outperform the natural colors). What's the best way to fish a tube? Straight retrieve? On the bottom?

Thanks for the advice!

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I would try throwin a crank red or brown with a orange bottom. If they are too deep for the crank you could carolina rig it. Anything that tries to imitate a craw is a good bet if there is a good supply for the fish. If you throw a tube or jig don't be afraid to bounce it off the bottom and jig it slow. I would also suggest the Ika also, try a brown or watermelon color with red/flake. Craws don't swim too much so jiggin off the bottom is the easiest way to imitate em. Don't get too carried way with tryin' to make it swim. It's spring and might be pre-spawn, the fish could be a bit slow right now.

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I've never fished the Maury River, but I do fish the James, NEW, and Roanoke rivers.  Absolute go to is a 3 1/2" Tube in a either a Watermelon based color or Green Pumkin.  I fish with this Year round, and consistently catch fish on it.  Fat Grubs on a 1/8 oz jig head,  SENKO style baits, also catch fish.  For catching BIG-UN's stick with a 5" senko, the Tube, and a SP Jerkbait and you should hook into some decent fish.  

Good Luck

Jhw

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ive fished the maury although not in years.  i fish the rivanna and james regularly and grew up fishing the south river often.  like others have commented my most productive baits are a grub and a tube.  i catch a lot of my larger fish on a jig, but day in and day out it is tough to beat a grub.  i like shades of green pumpkin and also yammamoto color 150 smoke with black.  you can jig it but i have found the most consistent producer is a slow, steady retrieve.

when fishing the tube i prefer long slow hops before letting the bait drop on a slack line.  long slow hop, let the bait fall directly straight down quickly, not a gliding slow fall like the rest of the hop.  then let it sit for a good while before moving it again.  the current will drift it along a little and get smallies attention.  lots of your hits will come on the drop.  i fish the tubes on a internal jighead almost all of the time when fishing for smallies and think that it is much better than t rig for this kind of fishing.

other good baits include jerkbaits, both soft and hard (if im fishing from shore i usually throw soft asit can get expensive quick throwing expensive jerkbaits and getting hung up when you dont have a boat and cant retrieve it), shallow cranks, zara spook jr and puppy as well as poppers early in morning and when cloudy, and spinnerbaits.

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As strange as it sounds the best technique I have found has been a chartruse tube weightless and just cast up stream and let it float down and just gently reel the slack up. The river I fish is 8 feet at its deepest, slightly stained. I usually fish under bridges or around any pile of sticks /logs I can find. I picked this up from a guy who works at Gander Mountain who lives on that river, I never would have thought to fish weightless lures in that fast current but man does it work!!

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These are some great suggestions. I'll add a couple:

Fat Ika (T-rigged, weightless & weedless)

3 1/2" Mizmo tube, Kent's Classic (squash green)

GYCB Hula Grub (jig jead), Laminated Lizard (T-rigged, 1/8 oz weight)

RW,

I have fished the Fat Ika in lakes around structure but never in rivers. Do they fish well in current? If yes do you fish them on structure or drift with the current?

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as long as the current isnt too strong ive had good luck with fat ikas.  i just cast them out and let them fall on a slack line.  then i let the current slowly sweep the bait along the bottom.  every so often i pick it up with the rod tip and let it fall again.  if the current is so fast that the bait wont stay on or near the bottom it is probally better to go with a tube, where you can control the weight.

matt

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bugman,

jomatty posted the right advice. The biggest problem with a Fat Ika in too much current is that it loses all its inherent action. In fast current it doesn't really represent a crawdad, it looks more like a plastic turd floating down the river. In current I prefer a different soft plastic with a weighted presentation. Tubes, grubs, Hula Grubs, and lizards are all options.

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I have been fishing a small river here on the Tn./NC border almost ever other day for the last two weeks.  I have caught atleast 12-15 every evening most being between 9-14".  All I am using is a BPS 3" spring grub in apleseed green and salt & pepper w/ chart. tail rigged on a 1/8 oz. jig head.  I have caught 5 or 6 close to 3 lbs.  The water is VERY clear, but if I can find a good rock to flip under I will usually get one.  My friend has caught several on panther martin spinners, but not really any good ones.  Hope this helps.

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