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kennebec12

Question for Smallmouth 'Experts'

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So one of lakes I fish frequently was illegally stocked with smallmouth bass a few years ago. Since then their population has grown and spread. Currently most local anglers, guides, and the DIF&W want them out of the lake (AKA no size or bag limits). I had never caught or seen one in the bay I fish (which is the principle spawning and wintering grounds of togue) until this weekend when I was landing a little perch and a big smallie came out from under the dock and went after the perch. I'm not a smallie fisherman and didn't realize they are so picky, I threw everything at it. It was eating the dock spiders so I tied up a dock spider that night and all it did was come out and look at it and swim away. I tried various nymphs same result, missed it on a streamer and then it ignored every streamer I could think of. I finally "cheated" and caught a crayfish then caught the bass (14" about 2lbs). Finally, the question, do any smallmouth fisherman have any advice on trickery and any crayfish patterns that work great? (my crayfish patterns are ancient LL Bean ones that could probably pass better as stonefly nymphs)

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I'm not an expert.

 

Your first clue might be the perch...... tie up and fish some big perch colored streamers.

 

They are just like any other fish.... They're not usually "picky" but normally they aren't pushovers either. Generally they are sort of curious fish, they like to follow and investigate just about anything. Like most other fish.

 

There are about a billion crayfish patterns out there (maybe more...) but for general use a woolly bugger in appropriate colors does as well as anything. They love minnows, so bucktails such as the Clouser Deep Minnow are an absolute must-have. In fact a Clouser Deep Minnow in the right color and dragged on the bottom does a fine crayfish impression.

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What I remember from Indiana:

Small Mouth Bass are different from Large Mouth in one very significant way. Small Mouth are slightly more streamlined and thus, are MUCH better designed to chase prey. Large Mouth like to wait, in ambush points, for food to come to them. Small Mouth will do this, but they are much more willing to speed off for greater distances to chase down their food.

When Small Mouth are being picky, pick up the speed of retrieve. If healthy perch are their targeted food of the day, then you probably can't strip in the fly fast enough. But faster retrieves give the fish less time to "inspect" the fly ... more of a reaction bite.

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I was going to suggest the same thing as Mike. Speed. We used to troll Beetle Spins for Walleyes up and down this trench in one lake. When you wanted to check your bait for anything and started to reel in while still trolling we'd often get smashing strikes from smallmouth. I also found pink to be a color smallmouth in particular seemed to like. Try tying a pink marabou streamer, cast it out where you figure a smallie was lurking and do the salt water trick of tucking your rod under your arm and stripping hand over hand with only slight pauses. I have never done this but when I saw guys doing it in saltwater I knew it could trigger smallmouth. Kevin Van Dam, one of the premier bass fisherman on the tour, says that when he fishes his smallmouth water he uses a heavy spinnerbait, high speed reel, and cranks as fast as he can.

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I have been doing a lot of bass fishing this year and I find that I cant keep the small mouth off of brown wooly buggers. I just hang the bugger off of an indicator so it just touches the bottom and fish it dead drift. I have found it effective in both the rivers I fish most often (where they empty into the Connecticut River) and in a lake I fish now and then. It, of course, also works being stripped like a streamer but suspended under a indicator is my favorite.

 

Also I have found that, like trout, if a bass spots you it can be spooked and become very careful about what it tries to eat.

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I have been doing a lot of bass fishing this year and I find that I cant keep the small mouth off of brown wooly buggers. I just hang the bugger off of an indicator so it just touches the bottom and fish it dead drift. I have found it effective in both the rivers I fish most often (where they empty into the Connecticut River) and in a lake I fish now and then. It, of course, also works being stripped like a streamer but suspended under a indicator is my favorite.

 

Also I have found that, like trout, if a bass spots you it can be spooked and become very careful about what it tries to eat.

I was actually about to suggest the same.

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Since most of my smallmouth catches were in rivers Clouser crayfish, hellgrammite flies or Shenks' sculpins

were the basics for the bottom of the water column. The freshwater lakes in the area mostly had largemouth

where casting Letort hoppers & crickets, that were great on the rivers for the smallies hooked up just fine

with bucketmouths in addition to my own flies that were only salty in the catch ratio !

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