Float fishing for smallmouth bass presents some distinctive challenges. Many people associate bass with ponds and lakes, but some of the most dynamic smallmouth fishing takes place on rivers such as the New in North Carolina. Smallmouth are widely regarded among anglers as one of the hardest fighting freshwater game fish, making them a favorite for many.
Working the River
Smallmouth bass like faster-moving water. This means that, unlike a largemouth bass, look for smallmouth along the edge of runs and riffles. Position your boat so that you can present the bait to the pockets just down river from rocks and logs. These pockets are favorite holding places for smallmouth, which attack food passing by in the current. Allow your bait to wash with the current so that it passes along the edge of still-water pockets.
Remember that smallmouth love to feed on small crustaceans along the bottom of the river. Position your boat and control the drift so that your lure can work along the bottom in a natural manner. Crayfish imitations, small stick baits and even small cranks can produce good fish if they are presented correctly. Controlling the speed of the boat is essential to a good bait presentation.
Switch things up and try live bait when smallmouth seem to turn off. Try giving the tried-and-true night crawler worm. The key, especially when floating, is in how you rig the worm. Take a tip from crappie fishermen and try a gang rig. Tie an offset swivel to your line with a dropper of 18 to 24 inches. This will give you two or more baits in the area at a time, depending on the swivel you use. Attach weights to the line to keep the worms on the bottom and use a small bait hook. Place a worm on each hook and cast into the current. Allow the bait to drift and bounce along the bottom as your boat travels down stream. This method often produces large smallmouth bass.
Article Written By Keith Dooley
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.