Low Water River Smallmouth
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Well it’s that time of year again…Summer is half over and the Penobscot
is as low as I’ve ever seen it this time of year! But the fishing is
more then holding up. We’ve been averaging right handy to 30 Bass a
day. Some small ones and some good ones with a few real nice bass of
the 18 inch variety most days. Just had a client land one of 20 inches
this week! That’s quite a trophy for a river bass. That fish is
somewhere between 13 and 15 years old.
Bass in rivers take a lot longer to grow than their lake bred
relatives. She’s been through about everything, from Osprey and Eagle
attacks to Loons and Otters. She’s probably been caught a few times and
always released. You have to have a lot of respect for a fish like that
and whenever one that size is released it adds to the gene pool and
helps produce more genetically superior fish.
When going after hot weather fish you need to know a few things. In
spring and high water you fish tight to the banks and target all eddys
and tail races of islands. When low water conditions prevail you need
to look at the ends of fast water, side to and behind any and all
structure. Look all over the river for anything that breaks up the
current and allows a bass to use as little energy as possible. They
would rather wait in ambush and grab something that passes by, than to
travel all over looking for food. Although there are still those times
that a whole section of river just turns on and they all feed like
crazy. Usually a hatch of insects( much like trout fishing) will turn
them on too…there’s nothing better tasting to a bass then a Dragon fly,
a Helgramite or even caddis and mayfly’s will get em eating bugs.
That’s when pulling your fly rod out and tying on a wooly bugger or a
wooly worm produces bone crushing hits! Many times when they are eating
Dragon Fly’s they will hit 4 inch plastic worms fished weightless just
under the surface.
My lure of choice during the hot weather is the twitch baits I
discussed in a previous column. They are an amazing bait that allows me
to feel comfortable that my clients always catch enough to make the day
exciting. When a cold front comes through it usually slows the Smallies
up but using these twitch baits has saved my bacon many, many times. In
this real skinny water fish them without the pencil weight. The deepest
water we’re fishing is around 5 feet so the Bass can see the bait quite
well. Remember to use a #4 bait hook tied directly to your mono (10 lb
test works best) and put the hook in just where the eyes of your bait
would be… Cast it out and let it fall, and fall, and fall….then a
slight twitch. Then a fall again followed by a twitch. Do this all the
way to the boat.
We’ve had numerous fish take right next to the boat so make sure to
always finish your retrieve. Wait till you see that most of your fish
will be hooked right in the corner of the mouth! Also, this time of
year they are spread out all over the place so cover a lot of water!
Look for current breaks and fish on the edges of them. If your river
has grass beds under water, fish in the holes in them and all around
the edges. The bass lay in there waiting for an easy meal. Anything
that breaks the current is somewhere you want to try.
My next column will explore the Buzzbait and Spinnerbaits for
Largemouth. They are my lures of choice for big Bucketmouths!
Tight lines! - Capt’ Pete
Next Fishing Tip: Better
Bass Fishing - Lesson 6
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