Monday, July 18, 2011

Match the... Bait

Show 'em your junk.
It's hot and sticky with temps and humidity pushing into the 90's, which means fishing for bronzebacks has heated up as well. Low light conditions (early, late or cloud cover) mean the best topwater action, with streamers getting the job done mid-day under bright skies.

One of our favorite stretches of river to chase smallmouths on is the Kennebec between Waterville and Sydney. Gravel bars, braids, cut banks, buckets, ledges, boulder gardens, back eddies, and deep pools- this is one cool piece of bass water to fish from a drift boat. 

Typically a favorite bass fly is a crayfish pattern, but don't forget eels and other sea run forage like bluebacks, alewife, and baby shad on water with unspoiled access to the sea. On a recent outing an 8-inch long black eel pattern designed for stripers absolutely hammered the smallies while other patterns fell short. We have also been finding bass crashing bait up on shallow shelfs along the banks- which always makes for some exciting shots. A white and pearl Gurgler thrown into the mix with a twitch and a pause will usually get an eat. Don't always expect a big crash on the take in this situation, often the fly will simply disappear with little commotion as a big bass rolls under and opens his hatch, literally inhaling the fly. We have noticed more that one fish puking up small silver bait fish 1 to 2 inches long, that definitely are not common shiners, and look a lot like either juvenile bluebacks or baby shad. 

Match the 'hatch,' and go get 'em.


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