Smallmouth techniques?

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by Gary Knowels, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Hey guys,

    I work at UW with another fly guy from Carolina. We are both thinking about trying to target some smallmouth in Lake Washington around UW after work as the summer gets going. We can rent a canoe for pennies at UW and see what we can find. He's never targeted smallmouth with fly gear, just spinning gear and I've never attempted it at all. I'm hoping to call on the knowledge here to get me started as far as flies and techniques go. Thanks!
     
  2. atomic dog

    atomic dog Jive Turkey

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    Start with some Clousers, chartreuse and white or olive and white. Then maybe add some more clousers.

    If you're fishing shallow enough to get to the bottom, drag a crayfish pattern slowly along.

    Poppers as the sun starts getting low.
     
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  3. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Am I correct in assuming I should target pilings, docks, rocks, and lily pads?

    What size clousers?
     
  4. Shawn West

    Shawn West Active Member

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    I tie my Clousers on a size 6 hook. They are about 3.5" long. It is hard to beat White/Chartreuse. All white works well too. Arizona Simiseal Leeches in size 8 are also killer. Color never seemed to matter, but it would be hard to go wrong with black. If you are hitting the water right now, slow and deep would be the way to go. Target boulders!!! If you do not get an occasional snag, you are not fishing deep enough (when fishing around boulders and rip rap). The takes may be very subtle right now due to the cooler water temps. Set the hook if your line feels "different". Let us know how you do.

    Regards

    Shawn
     
  5. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Thanks Shawn. We probably won't be out to fish for bass until summer starts. We are very much thinking, canoe plus a sixer of good beer in the warm evenings after work.

    If I want to fish in the cold, I'll fish for trout.
     
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  6. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    In the summer, I like topwaters for smallies. Fun to see them explode on it.
    The added bonus is that LM like topwaters as well.
    SF
     
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  7. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    Sounds like you might catch some LMB too. Union bay, Portage bay and the arboretum area fish well for those.
     
  8. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Sweet! I'm looking forward to it.
    What do you guys like for topwater patterns?
     
  9. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    I'm partial to anything that imitates a frog.

    A couple of tips that have worked well for me with topwaters, especially LM.
    1. If fishing full sun, cast into the shadow side of any structure, docks, trees, boats etc.
    2. Once your topwater hits the water, don't move it. At a minimum, let the rings on the water caused by the pattern hitting the water dissipate before moving the fly. Sometimes I'll let it sit for a minute or longer.
    The takes after it has sat for a bit are the best in my opinion. Watching the water erupt when it is least expected is the great.

    One of the biggest LM bass I've ever seen was caught by a teammate of mine off the dock behind the crew house. that was 30 years ago though. ;)
    SF
     
  10. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    Some of the flies can get heavy and it's normal to use a heavier rod. I've sold my 8wt and started using more of a stealth approach with regular trout flies. Buggers, clousers, leeches etc seem to work well. I sometimes use my 6wt outbound intermediate, but also a 4-5wt with a sinking polyleader. Cast, strip back and cast again. You'll get a lot of strikes as the fly hits the water, and some as you strip back.

    For top water I like poppers fished the way Stonefish describes above, a 5-6wt works well. Check your knots often, the initial strikes are savage and I've had a couple of expensive poppers broken off.

    Use a heavy tippet. There's nothing subtle about playing a big bass. Most of the time you've got to horse it away from weed beds or timbers piles, and you don't want to risk breaking off the fish.
     
  11. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Thanks. I was thinking I'd just throw my beach rod at it, a fast 6 weight with either a 7 weight floater or a 6 weight outbound intermediate. I'm going to try tying up some poppers and gurglers. I just ordered silvercreek's UV coat so I want to try that on a popper head instead of epoxy.
     
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  12. Scudley Do Right

    Scudley Do Right Member

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    Take your rod with you now and cast from shore around the salmon pond.
     
  13. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    What do you guys think of this guy? Had some fun trying out new techniques tonight!
     
  14. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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  15. Eric B

    Eric B Montana hillbilly

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    Looks good. After the spawn, I have had good success dragging a leech with a rubber tail along the bottom where it isn't too weedy. Once the water temps heat up in the summer, I think top water is the way to go. I still haven't found a good way to get a consistent bite at deeper spots during the summer.

    Please (anybody) feel free to give up any details about depths, techniques for summer time bass other than top water (I admit that occasionally I bring along my spinning gear for smallies, b/c I really struggle getting bites later in the summer). I know there has to be some go-to patterns and strip techniques that can draw out the bass, but I have failed miserably the past 2 summers. One example is at Banks lake. I can catch them all day with spinning gear, but had a terrible success rate with the fly rod.
     
  16. atomic dog

    atomic dog Jive Turkey

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    Eric, I suspect that in the summer they move too deep to fish with flies as effectively as you can with spinning gear. I tend to do the same as you, at least on stillwater: Put down the fly rod and pick up the spinning gear.

    If you can't get down deep enough, at least look for places with heavy cover and/or lots of shade. I used to have decent luck in my float tube along the riprap on O'Sullivan Dam after the sun went down. They come out and get pretty aggressive just after dark.

    I listened to a podcast about smallies on the fly the other day that had some interesting insight. The guy was in Virginia I think, and was speaking to fishing rivers, but the advice was still pretty good. He said often people move the flies too much. One of his techniques was to essentally dead drift clousers and crawfish, bumping the bottom if possible, with only the occasional twitch. I think most people strip clousers. Thinking back to fishing the Yakima last year, it does seem like more often than not I would get fish either as I was letting the fly sink, immediately after the first strip, or just floating along letting the fly drift in the current. Much less success actively stripping.
     
  17. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    The slow technique really works. I've found that I can draw several fish out of the deep water and get them to follow the fly into visual range. Sometimes they decide to play sometimes they don't.

    I like catching so if I'm getting nowhere with the fly rod I'll pick up the spinning gear, or forget the bass and find the bluegills.
     
  18. Eric B

    Eric B Montana hillbilly

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    Thank you both for the replies. I will slow it down:). I don't live too far from Lake Washington, so I'm going to try to put in some more time there this year and try to get dialed in. Last year I found a few near Seward Park in the float tube. Thanks again.
     
  19. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    Another popper creation. Fun flies to tie. Sharpie colors with pearl braid tube over the top and unraveled at the back the uv clear coat on top. Fun flies to tie, these poppers. My girlfriend likes to participate in the coloring so that is a plus!
    uploadfromtaptalk1398967999537.jpg
     
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  20. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    I like two subsurface flies for smallies; a crawdad pattern and a small zonker with a silver belly. I use a hand twist for a retrieve for both. Slow, and on the bottom. For a searching fly a #6 chartreuse clouser, trolled or stripped slowly. Best areas for me are rip rap walls/dams and rocky bottoms with some structure.
     

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