6 Tips for Catching River Smallmouth Bass

Penobscot River smallmouth bass

Tap into the expertise of a veteran Maine outfitter and learn how to increase your success catching smallmouth bass.

“Only 99 more,” Doug Teel half-jokingly said as we released the first smallmouth bass of an afternoon. I’d spent enough time on the Penobscot River with Teel to know 100 smallmouths in a half-day outing would be a reasonable notion, so it became the goal without further discussion, and we counted down, with every smallmouth landed. The fish were still biting well when the count hit zero, and we had plenty more time we could have fished. However, we set down our rods, content with 100 even, and headed for dinner.

Teel operates Northridge Outfitters, a full-service outfitter in Maine, and turns his focus primarily to the Penobscot River’s fabulous smallmouth bass fishery through the summer. He has been fishing the river for decades and has an astounding understanding of river smallmouth behavior and how to tap into the best action.

We talked with Teel to glean his expertise and compiled six top tips that will help you catch more river smallmouth bass.

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One last bass

The fish pictured above isn’t the largest I have caught in my short span of searching for these beautiful green fish, but it is by-far the most memorable bass I will ever catch due to the story behind it.

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Use Tiny Lures for Big Action from Many Fish Species

shellcracker

Bobby Garland’s Itty Bit lures provide highly dependable summer action from several kinds of fish and lend themselves to a variety of presentations.

“This one must be a bass,” my son, Nathaniel, called out as fish he was battling surged against his ultralight gear. I paddled my kayak nearer to get a better look and photos. “Actually, it’s a giant bream!” he said when he got the fish in sight.

A few minutes later he slid his hand beneath a pound-plus shellcracker (officially, a redear sunfish), lifted it into the kayak, and the tried to figure out the best way to get a grip around the fish’s big body. We got some pictures before he returned it to the water and then returned to casting a tiny bait toward shoreline cover to see what else he could catch.

I had been telling Nathaniel about Bobby Garland’s new Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R and showing him photos of bluegills, yellow perch, largemouth bass and more – even including another big shellcracker that I’d caught from a different spot on the same lake a week prior. Finally, he was getting to see for himself and was enjoying the fast action. His big shellcracker was one about 50 fish of a handful of species we caught in a few hours of casting Itty Bits from kayaks that afternoon.

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How to Introduce Crappie Fishing to Kids

kids and crappie catch

Learn the favored teaching approaches of the author, who is long-time fishing guide, plus perspectives from a professional crappie angler and a fishing industry veteran.

If you want to hook a kid on crappie fishing, you only must do two things: Keep it simple and catch crappie. Sounds easy enough, but where do you begin?

Over the years, as a guide on Beaver Lake, I have guided hundreds of young anglers out fishing with their parents. The key to having a successful day out on the water with young anglers is to keep moving and finding actively feeding fish.

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Surf Casting Bombers for Stripers

surf fishing striper

Bomber minnow plugs are time-proven striped bass producers in the surf. Learn how to tap into the best coastal action.

No fish in the United States commands the passion of the surf angler like the striped bass. From Maine to New Jersey, surf fishermen plan their lives around the spring, summer and fall months for the chance to tap into hot striper action.

Going back to the advent of surf fishing for striped bass, large, long swimming plugs have been designed to mimic natural forage baitfish, including as menhaden, mullet, herring and mackerel. One lure has not only the pedigree from the old school to be considered the godfather of manufactured surf plugs, but to this day remains the top offering for any surf striper angler – the Bomber minnow plug.

Look through any old fishing magazines, and you’ll quickly see the word Bomber was omnipresent through the text. That pattern still rings true. The Bomber plug is a surf striper angler’s best friend.

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A Complete Guide to Carolina Rig Fishing

Carolina rig fishing

The Carolina rig is highly effective for catching bass in a broad range of situations. Here’s what you need to know for Carolina rigging.

Jimmy Mason doesn’t fish the same areas across the calendar, and his bait selection certainly varies by season. However, there is one bass fishing rig he knows he can count on every month of the year — the Carolina rig.

“It works year ‘round, and I always have a minimum of two in the rod locker,” the Pickwick/Guntersville guide and tournament pro said. “This is a very versatile rig that can serve many purposes.”

Noting that he’ll vary his Carolina rig action with different styles of baits for active and lethargic periods, Mason summarizes his seasonal preferences.

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Expert Tips on How to Fish a Brush Pile

crappie catch

Brush piles produce summer crappie. We all know that. Two top crappie anglers explain how to catch the most crappie out of each brush pile.

The formula is simple. Using the correct presentations equals success catching more and bigger crappie from brush piles.

“When I say presentation it means a number of things,” said professional crappie angler Dan Dannenmueller. “Everything from distance from the brush pile to the boat, casting distance, lure retrieve, lure color, lure size, angle of cast from the boat and everything else I can change to incite a crappie to bite.”

Before fishing a brush pile, Dannenmueller will use his sonar units from a distance to see if it has crappie in it and where they are located. He likes to stay at least 50 feet from the brush pile to avoid spooking the crappie before moving closer. 

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3 tips for summer crankbait fishing

As hot as the summer sun can be, the crankbait bite can be even hotter given the right conditions! In today’s blog we will go over three tips for summer crankbait fishing to help you find fish, pick out the right plug, and stay on a school of fish for as long as possible.

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Bobby Garland Adds Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R

Itty Bit Slab Hunt'R crappie

Learn about the most recent addition to Bobby Garland’s Itty Bit series and its unique offerings for crappie fishermen who want to downsize.

Bobby Garland’s highly popular Itty Bit series of crappie baits just got bigger. Not the baits, of course. They’re still Itty Bit at only 1.25 inches in length. Instead, the series has grown with the introduction of the Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R.

The Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R has a different profile and action than the Itty Bit Swim’R or Slab Slay’R, two already proven baits for when conditions demand finesse or match-the-hatch approaches for success. All three are down-sized but full-featured versions of longtime Bobby Garland producers.

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Your Guide to Wade Fishing for Snook

Snook on Topwater Lure

You don’t need to fish from a boat to catch snook. You can wade fish the flats and take the “dog” for a walk, too.

Can you walk the dog? No, not the four-legged kind. I mean a cigar-shaped topwater lure that launches like an arrow and walks and talks to gamefish on the way back. The walk is twitch left, twitch right, twitch left, twitch right. The talk is clickity-clickity-click. It’s a dinner bell for predators. Florida’s saltwater snook come a runnin’.

This is far from “deep sea” fishing. It’s casting light tackle in mostly knee-deep water. You can use your boat to motor to the a, then hop out and wade. But you don’t even need a boat. Drive your car to a waterfront park. Hike to the shoreline. Put on wading boots. Wade in. Walk the dog. Map and satellite imaging on your devices are terrific for finding places to park-and wade

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