I rarely venture out on the river these days, simply based on personal logistics. Rarely are there people I know available to fish with me on my Fridays off, so I tend to stick to bodies of water that I can paddle and return to the launch with minimal challenges. Well, this past Saturday, I had the opportunity to fish with a group of people that I volunteer with for the Central VA Chapter of Heroes On the Water. In all, there were 21 kayaks at last count launching at the Scottsville site and taking out at Hardware. It was an all day float scheduled with a lunch break on the river at some point.
The day started off slow with a morning fog that was still burning off from the rain that had moved through over night. I started off working the banks with a bream colored Secret Weapon Lures double bladed spinner bait, a single bladed Strike King Rocket Shad in perch color and black Strike King mini-Pro buzz bait. I worked these both over submerged grass beds and ledges with no success. I switched up tactics and started tossing a Strike King Red Eye lip less crank towards shore and retrieving it back across the leading edges of the ledge rock and deeper pools.
After a few minutes of this approach, I welcomed my first smallmouth bass of the year - a feisty little 10" runt.
I later learned that the pattern that worked for most people was working the shaded areas where timber was present causing slight current breaks. The sad part is, I had specifically bought a small football jig in a green pumpkin color to be used with my Net Bait Baby Paca Craws for this trip, but I never listened to my fish brain. Doh!!! Most people who had success were using the new smallmouth lures created by the folks at Confidence Baits and Winco's Custom Lures. The Confidence Bait of choice was the new Little Tube, while the Winco's bait of choice was the new Predator Craw rigged on the Flutter Head jig.
I will be adding these items to the smallie arsenal soon, but I was just happy to be able to land a couple this year for the first time. Lessons learned for the day were: summer time tactics for largemouth and smallmouth are not that different. If I had taken the time to not over think what I was doing, I would have stopped long enough to work some of those shaded structure spots I heard my fishing senses try to tell me held fish. I was too caught up in truly "floating the river" versus fishing the river.
Chalk it up to a lesson learned for the next time I venture out in search of smallmouth bass.