The meek might inherit the earth, but the bold will win the day when fishing for late-season river smallmouth. As water temperatures drop and days get short, smallmouth bass pack on the pounds. My mantra in fall is stay aggressive and stay focused.
Rods and reels
To make a long, accurate cast at cruising smallies in clear water, use a seven-foot, medium-action spinning rod. Blazing fast presentations call for a high-speed 7:1 ratio spinning reel. Spool the reel with six-pound braid. Braided line floats producing less drag in moving water for a more effective surface presentations. Connect a three-foot length of fluorocarbon leader to your braid using a uni-to-uni knot. Connect the lure with an improved cinch knot.
No smallmouth can ignore the clatter, splash and bubble trail of a Hub Chub or Heddon Torpedo. Chrome colors are the ticket in clear fall flows. Target expansive shallow rock and boulder-strewn areas adjacent to deep river channels. Make long casts to large chunks of rock, subsurfaceboulders and deep pockets. When the bait touches down, immediately make several quick, short downward chops of the rod tip. Let the bait pop back to the surface for just an instant then go into a steady, medium-speed retrieve for three or four feet. That’s called the get-away. Repeat the sequence back to the kayak. Smallmouth will usually...