If you've never had the pleasure, one of the best places to catch a smallmouth bass is in the flowing water of a river or stream, and below I will draw upon my more than two decades of experience to outline a few of the best baits to use for river smallmouth. These beautiful, hard fighting fish, are a challenge to land anywhere, but when you add a factor such as the current of a river, landing a decent sized bronze back can be as enjoyable and challenging as this thing known as "fishing" gets.
The following baits are being listed in no particular order and all have their place among the best baits that can be used when fishing for river smallmouth. It's a good idea to have at least three of them available to you at all times so that you can determine the best bait for the given day that you are fishing.
3 Inch Tube Jigs
- Tube jigs are a favorite of smallmouth anglers in lakes and reservoirs and these baits are also very effective in river and stream situations. A good rule of thumb is to use natural colors in clear water situations and black or brown tubes when the water is stained. I prefer 1/8 ounce jig heads, but a bit larger might be necessary when the current is heavier.
Blakemore 1/16 Road Runner Marabou
- This shad-inspired jig has large realistic eyes and doubled, crystalline-accented feathers that smallmouth find difficult to resist.
Live Fishing Worms
- The old standby the live worm is amazingly effective when "drift fished" for river smallmouth. Presenting the live worm that you are fishing in a natural and realistic manner results in many more bite from hungry smallmouth bass.
4 1/2" Suspending Smith-wick Rogue
- When conditions dictate that you throw something that is a little louder and offers loads of side-to-side swagger, Smithwick's Suspending Rattling Pro Rogue is the lure you need when river smallmouth are the goal.
Berkley Power Grubs
- Specifically formulated to appeal to a bass' sense of taste and smell, the Berkley Power Grubs are perfect for a variety of rigging applications, including jigs and spinner bait trailers, both of which are effective baits when it comes to river smallmouth.Heddon
-The churning action of the single rear prop makes the Heddon Baby Torpedo an ideal imitation of a wounded bait fish, which almost any smallmouth bass finds difficult to resist.
There is little doubt that the aforementioned baits are some of the best that there are when it comes to catching river smallmouth. As I said, make sure that you have at least 3 of them available to you anytime that you are on the river in search of smallmouth bass.