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Smallie4130

Need help with lure selection

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So Ive been using flukes to fish for smallies recently and have had some really great results.  Most of this has been on a slowish moving river, the Appomattox.  Now Im fishing in fast moving water on the James, specifically right after whats probably a class II rapid.  Problem is that my fluke is obviously just flying downstream.  Ive still been hitting fish, but its usually on the retrieve and its a crap shoot at best.  I tried fishing a 3.5" gitzit tube yesterday but with the lightweight jig head it just went flying downstream as well.  My question boils down to whether I should be putting a bullet weight ahead of my fluke, fish the fluke differently, use a heavier jig head on the tube, or simply switch baits to something different.  Any advice or help would be appreciated, I know theres some fatties in the rapids.

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You might want to try a hard bait:

Lucky Craft pointer 100, Rapala Husky Jerk or Rapala X-Rap.

8-)

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How heavy a weight are you using? Beefing it up can't hurt.

Hardbaits are good ideas too. I like cranks, but would try a top-water first. A popper with a shallow cup, like a yo zuri zz pop. Pop it real fast across that fast water, and don't be afraid to try this up near the rapid where the water is heavily riffled. Hold on tight.

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With the flukes I wasnt using any weight, I actually wasnt sure if it would work right rigging it with an 1/8th or 1/4 oz. bullet like I rig crawdads/lizards.  I tried a little og floater and a small x-rap yesterday but it seemed like the current was just ripping it downstream and it wasnt really swimming, just being pulled sideways through fast water.  I also tried a zara puppy but that was short lived as I got stuck on the only log in the area.  Think a small spinner might work?  Ive never used a buzz bait or a torpedo but I was thinking of picking one up today.  I know the water is shallow there, probably 6-8 feet in the deepest spot.  Sorry for the long responses guys and thanks for the suggestions so far.

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You could try some of the weighted shank hooks for your flukes.  That is how I fish flukes, and I have decent luck with them.

I don't fish rivers though.

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Try a buzzbait  i've had some good luck pulling them across the current. And im not sure of the size but try a bomber crank in the second to smallest size they have, that is if the waters slow enough to let them dive. For the bombers i've been using crawdad and baby bas colors, with good results

good luck

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I literally went and bought all of these lures, fished all of them for about 30-45 minutes each with no luck.  Went back to the flukes and started catching them on the retrieve and messing around above the rapids.  

Ive always fished them weightless t-rigged, any recommendations on fishing them with weights?  Thanks guys

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What part of the James are you fishing?

I tear the smallies up around the pony pasture area on a 3.5" tube with an 1/8 or 3/16oz bullet weight crawled along the bottom.

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Right now Ive been fishing at Belle Island.  Im living with my girlfriend, working downtown for the summer so I dont have a car, just my bicycle.  Belle Island and Pumphouse Park (lmb) are the only places Ive had any luck so far.  Im going to give the tubes another shot today in some of the less rapid water.

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in fast water it is tough to beat in-line spinners

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Right now Ive been fishing at Belle Island. Im living with my girlfriend, working downtown for the summer so I dont have a car, just my bicycle. Belle Island and Pumphouse Park (lmb) are the only places Ive had any luck so far. Im going to give the tubes another shot today in some of the less rapid water.

Is your avatar on Belle Isle?  It looks like the area downstream of the footbridge.

I've had good luck with the Berkley Power Pogy.

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Welcome aboard!

8-)

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You can always put the fluke onto 1/4 oz or even heavier jig head w/ a gamakatsu hook (not a cheap wire hook with a really small gap).  I sometimes do this in still water, but it is even better in current since the fish are conditioned to quickly decide to strike or not.  It won't walk the dog like it does weightless, but you can "jig" it through the eddies and holding areas and really clean up...  

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I agree with the hard jerkbait folks. Make sure you immediately get the lure down underwater when it hits the water, and keep your rod tip high so that the line enters the water at one point and doesn't lie across it. That way you can keep contact with the bait - you may be missing strikes if you have any slack in the line. Try twitching it lightly, or even a straight retrieve in the rapids. I had a lot of success earlier this spring doing that for river smallies  :)

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