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Old 08-28-2012, 11:06 PM
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Question Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

I'm going to be joining some friends over Labor Day weekend for some smallmouth fishing on the upper Niagara. They typically fish from a drift boat, using weighted crawdads to get down to 10-20 feet.

I'm thinking about bringing a fly rod and a modest setup. I don't mind buying a few new flies, tippet for this trip, but I can't afford a "proper" 8wt rod, etc.

Can I get by with a 6wt and 5x line? I'm used to Western river troutfishing, and have never done anything with smallmouth except use small poppers on a quarry lake. What else do I need to substitute in my usual trout rig? What size tippet? I have an old 5x sinking-tip line I'll sacrifice to the trip

Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

Have you ever thrown a shooting head or an integrated shooting head?

I'm partial on the integrated shooting heads since I don't have to deal with a knot between the head and the running line.

Look at Scientific Angler's Mastery Streamer Express line in the 200 grain size. The line has a 30 foot extra fast sinking head that drops at 6" to 6.5" per second. That head is integrated into a thin intermediate sink rate running line.

Leaders are easy. Tie on a three to four foot leader material to the fly to the line's butt section.

The great thing is that you could use this as a streamer line for big western waters.

As for flies, have some crawdads like you mentioned. Also bring some Clouser Deep Diving Minnows.

Dennis
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

You are not going to get down deep enough with the rig that you have.

If you don't care to go to the expense of a whole new rig or even an integrated line as Dennis suggests you can make a usable shooting head from Cortland LC-13, Rio T-14, or some other lead core line. A head of around 15' would be about right on a 6wt. Make whipped loops on each end and attach it right to your floating fly line. Then add a short tippet

You could probably even try adding a shorter home made head on your 5wt sink tip
.....either way, it's going to be a bear to cast
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

I have fished for smallmouth out of a drift boat on a few occasions. You can get by just fine with a 6wt, unless you are into some really large ones. I would suggest leaders in the 4x-2x range. In my experience bass are not leader shy.

As for flies, i use sculpin patterns in olive, woolly buggers, leach type patterns, etc. Top water this time of year on the waters i fish is all poppers, small frog patterns, etc.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

Thanks folks. I've borrowed a line with an intermediate sinking tip, about 12', and I'll try it with 3x leader and sculpins & buggers.

Worst case, they'll have a baitcaster rig in the boat for me

Edit: OK, what the hell. My local (Boulder, CO) shop has the Scientific Angler line that Dennis recommended on clearance. I'll pick one up and give it a proper try

Last edited by cfrandall; 08-31-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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