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hoglaw

Ultralight Smallmouth Tactics

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Over the years my smallmouth tactics have evolved into heavier gear - never less than 8lb on my bottom bouncing stuff with heavier line for frogs and cover. But it seems I'm going to be doing a bunch of fishing on a new to me stream that's pretty small water. It reminds me a lot of trout fishing out west. Pools and drops with crystal clear water and little short runs that get 3-4 feet deep at the most. Gravel, chunk rock, water willow, and downed wood. But I've confirmed that it's full of 14" fish. It's fun to catch them on the baitcast rod and hula grub, but given that I already know the size and locaiton of the fish I'm going to be targeting now, I need to get back into lighter weight stuff to put a little more sport in it. Only problem is I'm not sure where to start.

Most of this fishing is casting upstream and letting the lure drift back. Mostly wading, but there's a floatable stretch. Upstream from me is wading only because of all the log jams - but would be marginally floatable otherwise. Downstream is completely floatable. I'm interested in the wading part, just not sure what to use in order to fish lighter stuff effectively. Can't present a rebel craw effectively casting straight upstream and I don't like small trebles.

So these are my thoughts so far. A ned rig with a 1/16 or smaller head. A flick-shake type worm with a small jig head, and a weightless finesse worm. That's all I've got.

Maybe a maribou jig? Never did fish those for anything but trout and carp. Definitely wanting to stick to small spinning rods and 4-6lb line. Don't really care to fly fish it - again, most presentations are straight upstream standing in the middle of the channel.

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I would use a ML action rod, even on small fish.

dont forget; weightless senkos, torpedos, 1/8oz buzzbaits, tiny square bill crankbaits, bitsy tubes, 3" smoke grub, rabbit hair jigs

There are bigger fish in that creek, than what you think.

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I would use a ML action rod, even on small fish.

dont forget; weightless senkos, torpedos, 1/8oz buzzbaits, tiny square bill crankbaits, bitsy tubes, 3" smoke grub, rabbit hair jigs

There are bigger fish in that creek, than what you think.

Ditto

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I can't see going less than 6 pound line and light action. And for what it's worth, when I fish those size creeks in the summer, all I ever use is topwater lures, like smallish walk the dog lures and Pop-R types. I might also throw a small buzzbait. I've never seen the need, nor wished to fish, jigs and bottom dragging plastics when the fish-holding water is less than 4 feet deep. Now if you want to catch a grab bag of species including whatever species of goggle-eye there is and various other sunfish, I suppose the little Ned rig or a simple marabou jig would be great. But I love those vicious topwater strikes too much to fish anything else when I know topwater will work.

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One of the things that is a given with fishing tackle is that it is almost always invented for lake fishing largemouth bass. The finesse craze has remedied that to some extent on the lure side, but the rod and reel side still hasn't caught up in my opinion until very recently. The Japanese have some fantastic finesse pattern specific rods and reels, but they cost a small fortune. Hoglaw, I bet with your rod making ability, you could design your own casting rods for wading in creeks and or canoe fishing.

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Whenever I do throw gear. Its usually for smallmouth on streams like that. Ive found it is hard to beat a 1/8 jig head and a 2.5 to 3 inch smoke triple tail grub.

all you need.

On small creeka I dont need to get to fancy. Pack of hooks and a pack of grubs in your pocket and your good to go.

I throw 4 pound line. And still dont ever feel like I'm over powered.

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I've tried the really light weight casting rod builds before. It's tough to get the right balance. You really need some flex in the rod to throw light lures. Can't toss a fluke junior or tiny torpedo on a stiff casting rod. I've got one I did for a small crank bait rod that I screwed up early on. May be able to re purpose it.

I didn't think about swimming a grub or an tiny torpedo. I haven't fished a torpedo in years and I used to love them. My favorite creek lure growing up was a teeny wee frog, same as a rebel craw really. The flick shake worm is working really well for me with a tiny jig head and robo worm.

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