River Smallmouth Bass Tips

River Smallmouth Tips

Posted on June 3, 2013 by Jason Reid Edit

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As many of you have seen on Facebook and Twitter, my friends and I have been hammering the small mouth lately on a river near school.  In the spirit of sharing, I decided to put the notes I have taken and the lessons on how to catch giant river small mouth bass into words to help my fellow anglers.    These are all lessons I have learned from failure and through wading the river.

Two of my closest college friends.

Two of my closest college friends.


Study the contour of the river to unlock fish hideouts

1) Seek the Rocks.

Fishing a river is much more than just casting blindly into the middle of the current and hoping for the best.  It is no small secret small mouth love their rocks.  I keep a close eye and mentally mark where the big boulders sit and the rocky beds lay.  I will not waste my time casting in a mucky area.  Smallmouth love their rocks for ambushing prey.

2)Seek the structure of the banks.  The banks of the river I have found to provide  excellent structure.  I look for deep undercut sections of the bank, roots and logs jutting into the river.

Creeping along the bank casting at ideal ambush locations resulted in this hog.

Creeping along the bank casting at ideal ambush locations resulted in this hog.

3)Resting spots.  River fish are constantly fighting currents.  Keep this in mind when looking for  spots to fish.  I look for resting spots, places the current slows a bit like a pool.  Structure, like logs, also provides a break from the current for fish. Resting spots are also likely areas for females to make beds.  Keep that in mind as you peruse the waters.

4)Learn the river by getting in.  My friends ask me how I have figured out so many great fishing spots so quickly.  The truth is, by jumping in.  I throw on an old pair of sneakers and wear my bathing suit.  Wading the river allows me to discover submerged structure and deep pools, invisible from the surface.  Last week I was fishing with former soldier, Chris Gosch.  I told him to head towards a large submerged log.  He was almost there when he suddenly fell in  and was swimming downstream.  Chris explains he had stepped off a sharp drop off and was unable to touch the bottom.  From my vantage point, the entire scene looked hilarious, however, Chris’s impromptu  swimming adventure showed us a new key spot to fish.  What has been dubbed as Chris’s ledge has proven to be a hot spot.photo (56)

5)Stalk each hole like you would a bedded mule deer.  Take your time and be as least disturbing as possible to the water and bank around where you want to cast.  If at all possible approach the area from down stream since river fish suspend themselves facing into the current.  this will lessen your chances of spooking fish.

Military Veteran Chris Gosh with a fantastic fish.  Thanks for your service Chris.

Military Veteran Chris Gosh with a fantastic fish. Thanks for your service Chris.

6)What to use.  I use rubber Sanko worms hooked weedless or wacky style.  The reason I use rubber baits, is for the natural dying bait fish look fish love.  With rubber baits I can bounce and jig  the bait in and out of areas of  structure I could not with a stick bait. The easiest ways to describe how I fish rubber baits is to twitch my rod every ten seconds.Now don’t discount stick baits or spinners at they have produced action for my friend as he fishes through faster waters.

Honestly, every time I fish down on the river I feel like a little kid again.   Each body of water is different.  The only way you will catch any fish is by getting out there for yourself.  Put you bathing-suit on, grab an old pair of shoes and jump right in.


Where Eagles Dare,PWL.