Month: August 2014

Flappin’ for Smallies

  EVER FISH WITH A FLAPPER? No not that kind.  Not that it wouldn’t be fun, but I don’t think many fish would get caught.  Ever see someone set the hook while wearing heels?  It’s a disaster.   I’m talking about fishing with a Gambler Flappin’ Shad, or as I call it, “The Flapper”. It’s no secret that I enjoy catching fish in a variety of ways.  Much of my summer is spent chasing smallies on the rivers of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and there is no way I would rather catch them than with a fly rod.  On the other end of the smallmouth fishing spectrum for me is fishing with bait.  Not to say that I won’t fish with bait, but I have caught enough fish that I personally don’t need to catch one that ate a live minnow.  When I have a kid or beginner in the boat—different story—I want them to have their rod bent! So, fly fishing is at the top end of the smallie spectrum, bait is at the bottom.  But a lot of what I do falls in between.  Casting “chunk-and-wind-it-in” baits like spinnerbaits and crankbaits are very consistent producers, and don’t require much thought or effort to fish—pull one out of the box, tie it on, chunk and wind.  Try it, you’ll catch lots of fish [especially with a Storm “Sub-wart” crankbait, or with one of my...

Read More

How to get the Smallies to Stay Hungry

The hotter the better.  We get our share of cold around here, so you’re not likely me to complain about it being too hot.  Besides, the hottest days on the water are usually great days for catching, especially on The River.  And it doesn’t get much hotter than Saturday.  So why the heck weren’t the smallies chompin’?  The water was at a good flow, and the clarity was just right, about 2 feet.  I suspect the fact that The River came down about 4 inches overnight had a lot to do with their funk.  For once I was glad to NOT be guiding, as it would have been quite a grind.  Oh I caught my share on crankbaits of course, and I missed a couple of really nice ones on a Dahlberg Diver.  The most consistent producer for me though was my favorite baitfish imitation, the Stay Hungry Streamer.  I got a half dozen or so on it, and it definitely out produced a couple of different craw patterns I tried. I was using an eight weight rod with a sink tip line, and a short heavy leader with a 10 lb. tippet.  When using a sink tip line on The River, realize and keep in mind that you are not trying to catch fish that are on the bank.  And I think it is safe to say that if you...

Read More