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Thread: Smallmouth from a drift boat on the Niagara - what gear?

  1. 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!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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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

  3. #3
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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
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  4. #4
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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.

  5. 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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