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- Field Notes - Better Bass Fishing - Lesson 5
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Bass Fishing

Better Bass Fishing - Lesson 5
By Pete Douvarjo - Eggemoggin Guide Service

Low Water River Smallmouth
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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