Sunday, 4 December 2011

Heavy Duty Smallmouth

As I am planning road trips for Season Eleven of Extreme Angler TV in 2012, I take great pride in the fact that I am able to locate, catch and capture on camera, some of the biggest bass ever seen on TV north of the border.

It is by no means an easy task.

Ask my competitors what its like to keep the camera rolling when hunting down bigger than average Bass for those "live" flip, pitch, cast and hook shots without going broke on all that dead video tape.
I`m talking about filming on public water, not a private waterway, pond or in some far off destination with mega sized bass on beds.

When you see our tagline, 'as hardcore as it gets"....well, it is!

And lately, I have had the pleasure of fishing for big brown bass with the same Heavy Duty gear that I make my bread and butter. Heavy action St.Croix rods, Ardent Flip n Pitch reels, 20-25 pound fluorocarbon lines, wide gap X-Point hooks and of course, those incredible Strike King Perfect Plastics including Rodents and Game Hawgs...absolute killer on both largies and big ole smallies.

Its not that I don`t enjoy catching smallmouth bass with traditional methods and baits like topwaters, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, tube jigs, grubs, drop shot, etc...I do. But, when I can pick up one of my heavy action casting outfits, pull my cap down and roll up my sleeves and get to work hunting down those big brown bass in heavy nasty cover, well, its a match made in heaven.
Dragging a tube jig a thousand yards behind my boat is not my idea of action packed fishing. I don`t care how big they are.
Or shaking a noodle-like spinning rod over six hundred feet of water so "maybe" one of those negative mood bass will decide to mouth my bait and then pull it up like a wet blanket, then have to fizz it so it maybe survives the battle and lives to fight another day.
 Again, thats not my idea of action-packed bass fishing.
Sure, sometimes thats exactly what has to be done in tournament situations.

 I`ll choose the heavy duty stuff over the soft-noodle stuff any day of the week.

My job and career is fishing. I have to catch fish or its no-go-Joe!

But, when the conditions are right and I`m either filming a show or going out for FUN, and smallmouth are the only bass available in a certain waterway, then I`ll pick up the casting gear and find those bigger than average smallmouth and make `em fight hard with the heavy action casting gear.
Hooking one of these big brown fish on heavier line, beefy rods and tightened down drag systems is like wrestling with a wild boar. They pull hard, jump., splash, twist, turn and are downright FUN to catch. Its like catching a big fat largemouth in a slop pile, except these brown bass don`t give up after thirty seconds of short powerful runs. They don`t stop until they are netted, grabbed or just plain tired.
And, another good thing I like about this type of smallmouth fishing, the fish are less stressed out due to long drawn out fights with light action spinning outfits.
On heavy duty casting gear, you can make them fight hard, but land them in a much shorter time frame.
When I mean, "if the conditions are right", I mean I can locate and entice smallmouth bass with heavy action casting gear in almost any river situation known to mankind.
Locating smallies in river conditions is very predictable, they may be different in appearance, but very similar in the locations smallmouth like to occupy.
Outside turns in the river bed, laydown logs, overhanging trees, docks, stumps, current breaks, weed to sand transition areas, rock piles, gravel, etc...different rivers, same locations!
If the river or waterway has stained water, even better.
Those big brown bass will occupy the shallows very similar to largemouth bass.

These bigger than average smallmouth bass are not at all like their cousins in ultra clear great lake conditions, these brown fish act like largemouth, rather than the traditional smallmouth anglers have read about or saw on tv.
 You need to remove the mindset that smallies are line-shy, moody creatures who favour clear, deep water. Thats not the case when it comes to northern smallmouth in cottage country waterways.
These brown bass eat EVERYTHNG that will fit into their yaps.
Or at the very least, make an effort to try and eat it.
I`ll usually rig up several rod options with Strike King rodents, game hawgs, finesse jigs and baby rage craws, football jigs with rage craws or a simple sliding tungsten weight, wide gap worm hook and a rage craw so I can keep changing my bait/lure presentations until I find the "meal choice" of the day.
Everyday is different.
Having options will increase your odds of provoking strikes from bigger brown bass.
Keep these tips in mind next time your out on your favorite lake, river or waterway and your buddies tell you the smallmouth "only eat so-and-so-baits".
Do some research on the waterway, locate the heavy duty cover these big brown bass love to occupy and break out the heavy duty casting gear and have some FUN, instead of trying to stay awake dragging or shaking a tiny morsel from six hundred feet of water.

Keep it fun and you`ll enjoy fishing, for the rest of your life.


  1. Great read Karl as always! I havent fished smallies that way,im gonna give it a try.

  2. I just need to find out what lake you fish...the Big Browns don't seem to be in my area haha! Great look at the gear i can't wait to try out my shoebox of these bad boys!!

  3. Great read Karl!! I love flipping and pitching myself and those Strike King jigs and trailers are a true staple on my boat!!