Skinny Water Smallies

October 19, 2021
Matt Miles

Its been a bump and grind over the past month with rivers lowering from the lack of rain.  My 11 year old drift boat receiving more scratches each day.  We have received some much needed rain this past weekend and more forecasted this week.

Far as the fishing I can’t complain, low clear water makes for great sight fishing and top water bug eats.  August and September produce the biggest smallmouth bass of the season.  We have plenty of annual cicadas in the trees along the banks.  With cooler night temps coming these cicadas will end up in the water as food.  When this starts (September) you can see multiple big bass lurking on the banks waiting for a easy meal.  Don’t think for a second a big smallmouth only wants big food, Ive seen carpenter ants and all size beetles in their mouth.  We still have about 6 weeks left of fishing topwater flies, so get out and enjoy it!

With the low and clear conditions longer leaders will help with not lining the fish.  Its always a good idea to keep your casts to minimal, meaning less false casting.  The more often your line flings back and forth more likely the bass are going to spook.  In some cases with low water more bass can be in the same area or hole.  This can be a disadvantage with more eyes to see your fly line land.  Smallmouth bass aren’t lazy when hungry, they will move for their food.  I’ve seen large bass move twenty feet to eat a bug from the surface.  A couple tips for fishing low water, one leave the fly on the surface longer, let the fish move to it.  If they see it land they’ll move to inspect it.  Fish your way in, fish the edge of the pool and work your way into the deeper part of the hole.  This gives you a better chance of not spooking every fish in the hole.  Lighter and more realistic flies, I use flies made of foam and cork.  Cork provides a harder splat which can spook fish in low conditions, so adjust with the fishes behavior.  If the bass are real spooky I will switch to a chernobyl type pattern that doesn’t splat hard when it lands.

Its hard to believe its the middle of August and Fall is just around the corner.  Fall smallmouth bass fishing can be fantastic with streamers all the way through October and November depending on weather.  So don’t hang it up in the Fall for bass.

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