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Thread: Double fly rig for finicky clear-water smallmouths

  1. #1

    Default Double fly rig for finicky clear-water smallmouths

    Thought I'd share something I did yesterday. I was fishing a certain log jam on a river mouth near here, where I've seen some *enormous* smallmouth in the recent past -- fish in the 19-22" class. I checked out the spot from a convenient high vantage point, and while I didn't see any true monsters around, I did spot a good number of 1-2 pound fish, and a few better specimens in the 18" class, all holding in the shade near the bottom in about seven feet of warm, gin-clear water with a barely discernible current. I s-l-o-w-l-y eased my way down, into the water and into casting position, and with an effort to present carefully and quietly, went to work trying to "pick the lock" and see what they might want. I should add, this was at about 3 in the afternoon -- they might have been a whole lot less selective at dawn or dusk, but with other things going on I didn't have the luxury of picking my hour.

    In any event, what I eventually figured out was this: they would swim from a ways off to check out a large and colorful attractor-type fly -- something with dumbbell eyes on a 1/0 saltwater hook and lots of bunny, rubber, and flash -- but they wouldn't take it. Meanwhile, they would take a very small (size 12!) black woolly bugger if I could get it right in front of their noses, but they wouldn't travel any distance for it, and unless it was right on top of them they didn't even seem to notice it. Also, it was hard getting this tiny item down deep enough. So, I rigged the tiny bugger on about a 30" dropper of 4# fluoro behind a big heavy bunny & tinsel "alewife," and with slow, short strips bounced it back across the silt bottom with the bugger trailing ... and was pretty successful. Over the next hour I landed four or five over a foot long this way, best fish about 16". I did have one shot at a larger bass, maybe 18 or 19", that was cruising the silt flat that tails out of the pool, but it did not seem interested.

    It's not that I don't enjoy it when a bass smashes a popper moments after it lands on the first cast, but I get a special pleasure when I manage to find a way to entice neutral fish that have ignored thirty different presentations already. Maybe everybody here already had this in their bag of tricks, but if not -- hopefully it helps one of you solve the riddle some bright, hot, slow afternoon.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Double fly rig for finicky clear-water smallmouths

    I did something similar this year for LMB and Pike in lakes. I call it the Popper/Dropper. The fish would readily smash poppers in the low light, but when the sun hit the water, I would see their wake cruise over to the popper, but no eat. So I tied a very short dropper with a pretty big leech and it was game on! The popper even acted like an indicator! I ended up doing the same thing for pike, but the dropper was a large baitfish pattern and it was flat out deadly!

    I haven't tried it for my smallies yet, but Im sure it will work. Its especially interesting for dirty water. Use the splashy popper to get their attention otherwise, theyd never find the bugger.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Double fly rig for finicky clear-water smallmouths

    That's brilliant, flygrain. I hadn't thought of it, but it makes perfect sense -- basically the same principle as what I had going on here. The big/loud thing gets them in the area, where they'll notice the smaller, more subtle offering. Perfect!

    ^^ all caveats about this sort of thing being the occasional nuisance to cast apply, but still ...

    Great idea!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Double fly rig for finicky clear-water smallmouths

    After spending 3 full days throwing hopper/dropper in MT, I'm going to "up the ante" so to speak for smallies. Great idea. I'm also going to try Flygrain's advice for the bucketmouths and water wolves when I head up to MI in a few weeks.

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