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Catfish rig for fast water smallies


Dick G
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The new issue of Bassmaster magazine features a great technique for fast water smallmouth.Tie a triple swivel to your line. On one of the other swivels attach a 12" leader to a 1/4 oz bell sinker. On the remaining swivel tie on an 18 to 24" leader and attach to a 2/0 to 5/0 hook. Bait the hook with a senko, grub, fluke or tube. Cast into fast water. Let the weight settle to the bottom and retrieve very slowly- if at all. The current will keep the bait in the strike zone. The bait will be hovering above rocks, weeds and moss. Use a light line to the sinker. If the weight gets trapped on the bottom, break it off and reel in your plastic lure and attach a new line and sinker. Sounds like a good summer presentation. The largest smallmouth I ever encountered on the Fox was mid day in July. I hooked the fish in ridiculously fast water that I was trying to cross to get to a "good spot". I was dragging a large Hula Grub - more for balance than actual fishing- and was totally surprised when I found myself fighting a huge smallie. It really wasn't a fight. The fish jumped and threw the bait while I tried to maintain my balance in the current. That's the type of water I'm looking for next summer to try this catfish rig!

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The problem with those 3 way rigs are they are not meant to be casted. They end up getting all twisted up if you try to cast them. They are designed to just be lowered while fishing out of a boat. We used them alot in Canada fishing for walleye because you had to be deep to get them. They may work wading on a river if you are in a shallow riffle just above a deep ledge with fast current blowing over the top. Kind of a rare spot but that could be a useful technique if you could get close and just lower it down.

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Why not try a dropshot in that situation . Substitute a couple or three very large split shot , clamp lightly and pull free from snag with steady pressue , loosing only shot ?

 

If you want to avoid all the knots associated with the 3 way swivel try a product Phil Fiscella

turned me onto .

 

It's an adjustable Carolina Weight Stop made by McCoys product code 21021 80002 on the package .

It's a plastic bead you squeeze open with pliers and slide the line into . For this rig slide in a precut dropper and your main line . Attach weight to dropper and lure to main line , just 2 knots instead of 5 .

 

Don't neglect floating Rapalas , shallow running cranks or streamer flies on the main line .

 

 

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The problem with those 3 way rigs are they are not meant to be casted. They end up getting all twisted up if you try to cast them. They are designed to just be lowered while fishing out of a boat. We used them alot in Canada fishing for walleye because you had to be deep to get them. They may work wading on a river if you are in a shallow riffle just above a deep ledge with fast current blowing over the top. Kind of a rare spot but that could be a useful technique if you could get close and just lower it down.

Paul, I had envisioned using this rig on some areas accessible by kayak. Situated close to the faster water, perhaps an underhand-sidearm flip would lessen the prospects of line tangle. Maybe just a Carolina rigging would do the trick. The key is to get the bait to remain somewhat stationary in the current about mid level in the water column. I have caught several smallies in fast water when my bait has reached the end of its drift, and just before reeling the line back in. One day Don and I were goofing around and catching fish after fish behind our backs using this method.

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Dick, you just described the classic down & across drift with a weighted fly. First the fly gets to depth then swings faster as it straightens & finally lifts as it comes to a stop on a straight line downstream. The speed up thru current produces many strikes as it "escapes" the following smallie. But you are not done until you wait at the end for up to a minute before a couple of strips then recasting. Many days you can pick off one after another on the pause - it feels like bait fishing sometimes.

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Happy Holidays all!

 

In the water I fish, you would most likely be hung up as soon as the sinker hit bottom. Thats why most succesful catfisherman drift floats. If you are hell bent on doing it I would use a sandbag, or pencil sinker like they do for steelhead. You could also just do the split shot thing or better yet one of those mojo type sinkers That will really slide thru the rocks. I've done it but....

 

A. At least consider this. while it has little, if any impact, being flippant about leaving lead in the river is not cool in my book, considering all the changes industry and other sportsman, like hunters have made. Everyone should do their part. You're going to lose a jig every now and again, thats part of the deal, but I think we should do everything we can to prevent leaving rigs in the water.

 

You will also not have direct contact with the bait, so in summer the probability of gut hooking would probably increase.

 

B. It wasn't anymore productive then pitching out a big black grub on a heavy weighted keeperhook and cranking it in.

 

C. Matt Straw gave a seminar where he was talking about using a float with plastic (personally I would ditch the plastic and find something crawling under a rock). You'll cover water faster, with less headaches. and never gut hook a fish.

once you get over the stigma of fishing with a bobber, it a lot of fun.

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Extremely fast water is one of the most overlooked spots for smallies. I've seen folks time and again pass up that water and I've also fought, and sometimes landed, some of the beasts that like to get up in that current Dick. It can be especially good if there is some depth and the water below the surface is not moving as fast. I usually use a heavy weighted tube or heavy jig in this situation and keep it still on the bottom for as long as I can. The strikes are unsually brutal.

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It can be especially good if there is some depth and the water below the surface is not moving as fast.

 

This is what I've found. There has to be some kind of flow refuge nearby...even if it's just a boulder or the slower water along the bottom before you catch good fish in fast water. Otherwise, they tend to be dinks.

 

The way I've fished this in the past has been to hang an inline spinner in the flow. With fast enough current, it'll suspend above the bottom. If anything's nearby in a flow refuge, it'll dart out and come after it.

 

 

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This is what I've found. There has to be some kind of flow refuge nearby...even if it's just a boulder or the slower water along the bottom before you catch good fish in fast water. Otherwise, they tend to be dinks.

 

The way I've fished this in the past has been to hang an inline spinner in the flow. With fast enough current, it'll suspend above the bottom. If anything's nearby in a flow refuge, it'll dart out and come after it.

Those spots are especially good because it is consistant spring-fall. Smallies will feed in fast water without or nearly without any current breaks. Could be a straight, skinnier and/or shallower, somewhat featureless spot or a small chute with ridiculous current. Fish will get right in that stuff and like you stated Tim, they are often dinks. During the right time however the biggest fish will be there. The stupid shad and minnows love to go up in that current and use it like a treadmill and some of them become lunch. A lot of fishermen miss out on them though because they think the water is too fast or it's too shallow, or both.

 

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