Baits for river smallies? - East Tennessee Fishing

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Old 05-13-2008, 10:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2008
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I'm wanting to do more river fishing this year for smallmouth but not sure what lures and techniques to use. I went to Clinch on Saturday and had a lot of followers but not many takers. I was throwing jerkbaits,fluke, buzzbait,roostertail,tiny torpedo,etc. Lost 1 on chatterbait,Caught 1 on buzzbait. Noticed on other posts that tubes seem to be good. Would I texas rig these and hop them along the bottom? What other lures/techniques have worked for you all?
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I keep my lake tackle in my boat, and my river tackle seperate, except for worms/lizards/tubes. I have always had luck with the same types and colors of plugs in the river as the lake, the main differenct being size. It also depends on which river you frequent, where I fish in little river and most plugs are 2inches or less, as well as using 4 inch worms/lizards, and even smaller tubes. The other thing to consider is where you are fishing. If I am fishing up towards townsend in Little River then I use small baits to match the hatch so to speak, but in the South Holston full size plugs and larger baits can be used as the fish there are much larger than the ones found in little river. Chartruse, orange, browns for the plugs, flourecent greens also do well. You will have to adjust to the different areas that you will be fishing to have the most success. I am sure there are others with different opinions, but those above are the ones I suggest that have helped me catch the river bass.

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Old 05-13-2008, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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RR178 pretty much nailed it. I fish the Susquehanna river in PA and it's a wide shallow river, I use the same size lures as I do for lake largemouth, the only difference is I use shallow running cranks and floating model jerkbaits, I also use 3/8oz up to 1/2oz spinnerbaits, I seem to catch bigger fish that way. For plastics I use green pumpkin tubes in 3" and 4" models rigged with an inside jighead, you'll lose a few in the rocks but you'll catch a bunch and rigged that you very seldom miss a fish. If you get fish following it means you're doing something to get their attention but something is just not right, either change size, or color, or both! Good luck!

P.S. Don't forget to try a 1/4oz or 3/8oz jig-n-pig, pitch it close to laydowns and boulders when you have a bright sky and fishing is a little slow, you'd be surprised how well it works and not many river anglers use it.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My best smallmouth river bait is a texas rigged lizard in watermelon, pumpkin or something similar. Do not add a weight to it. Just throw it out on relatively light spinning tackle and reel it back slowly. You can fish the rig on top or slightly under the water. Trust me they'll kill it.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with what everybody is sayin.But my bait of choice would have to be a tube.i usually crimp a 1/8 or1/4 oz bullet weight a foot or so from the hook.I think it really depends on whether your fishing from a jet boat or floating or fishing from the bank.You cant alson never go wrong with a spooks or any other kind of topwater bait.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've never been on the clinch. But if its anything like the rivers I've fished (Nolichucky and New) you can't go wrong with plastic. A 1/16 oz. sinker can also be your best friend. When your dealing with shallow current heavier weights can keep you retying all day long. As for my number one lure. I've caught more river fish on a zoom finesse worm than I have with all other baits combined. Plus there cheap, which can come into effect when fishing is good and your getting 70 bites a day. A bitsy tube is also a good option. I like to Trig it with a 1/16 sinker to avoid hang ups.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Orange Grub!. Get a 1/8 oz. head put an orange grub on and if there are some there you should land some. Those small bass on the upper end of the emory can't resist it. And if the bass aren't hitting it the bluegill will. So you should be guaranteed some action.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Snoot, I'd be more than happy to take you and Momma on a float trip down the Susquehanna! The areas I float are beautiful and full of cover which is easy to see during low water periods, you'll see bald eagles, which are making a strong comback, great blue herons as well as the common white herons. You may even see some deer, raccoons, and maybe a fox or 2, but it's the smallies that'll make the trip.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have spent countless hours in the russell fork, clinch, and the north fork of the holston, and have found more 3+ smallies than on the lake by far. My favorite lures are pretty simple to fish, I like the smallest big o by cotton cordell in may and early june, and then i go to a 3" bass assassin until late august, they just wont hit it any earlier. I also like a 3" pumpkinseed power grub with 2 small splitshots about 3-4 inches above the head. I rig the grub with a #4 hook and the bass assassin with a 2/0 ewg hook texas style with the hook ekposed out the back, i know that sounds like a big hook but i have tried countless hooks and for the action and hooking up with the blow ups this is the best combination i have found!! Now i have never been on many floats, never had a float boat, i've always been a wader and have found that the lures and style that i fish work so much better going up stream. and the prime spot for the big smallies has been about thigh deep somewhat swift water, just never could get good action of the assassin against teh current, and the grub thrown up in the swift and just semi tight lined and alloowed to wash back down works great. I hope this helps as it has worked for me over the years!!

those bass assassins
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I used to fish the North and South Fork Holston when I was in high school and Nolichucky and Watauga in college and the best bait I ever found for smallmouth was the 3 inch Berkley grub in pumpkin with chartreuse tail. Put it on a 1/16 or 1/8 oz. round jighead and you're good to go. The second best I found was the Bomber mini fat A crankbait in crawdad. I love fishing in the boat in lakes, but nothing like wading a good smallmouth river! good luck
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