Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Deep Water Smallmouth Techniques

This time of year, the bass fishing moves from shallow water (6-12 ft) to the deeper parts of the lake. The water is cooling, and the smallmouth move to rocky spots that have the warmest temperatures in the lake. Look for potential springs and deep pools. In my lake that means hunting out the few rocky ridges and outcroppings that drop deep into the lake. Then what? How can you fish water 20-30 ft deep with a fly rod?
Well, one could easily spin fish and nail bigguns on jigs. How might one fish a fly more vertically? You could use a full sinking line, and that would work perfectly, but I like to add a very heavy sinking tip to my 6 weight set up. It is a heavy line section about 3ft long and it absolutely plummets when no drag is conflicting it.

Then you can get your flies down to the right area, but what should you use? One of a smallmouth's favorite meals is a crayfish, and from May to September it will do fine. In October and November the crayfish escape the cold and burrow into the bottom. They become much harder for smallmouth to find, but they may still bring up a few bass.This leaves bait fish, and the small species in my lake stay shallow until it freezes. I react by going big. Get the nastiest jiggy leeches and streamers you can think of, such as those used for pike. Fish it similar to a jig. Give it a couple quick strips then let it sink, and repeat, slowly working over the biggest area you can at a very slow pace. Trust me, you won't get many fish; they are very lethargic. Some big ones may find your fly though, and to me a big bucket mouth before winter is a heck of a blessing.
Oh how dead it looked until a big carp jumped (ripples in upper portion).

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