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creek smallmouth bass

Must-Have Finesse Soft Plastic Baits for Creek Smallmouth

Some of the best baits for catching creek smallies were not made for that application, but we don’t need to tell that to the fish!

“It was designed to be jig trailer,” Patrick Marbury said with a knowing smile as he reeled in yet another creek smallmouth on a YUM Craw Chunk, “but I’ve learned that it works REALLY well on its own!”

A creek fishing enthusiast from northwest Ark. who heads various marketing projects for and associated lure brands, Marbury often goes outside the box with the soft plastic lures he chooses for creek smallmouth bass from Ozarks streams – and in doing so he finds exceptional success.

Marbury’s favorites include some baits that offer natural attraction and subtle action and some that kick hard to move water and prompt attacks. The common denominator is that most are at the small end of the spectrum – baits that would be considered “finesse soft plastics” for bass fishing.

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river smallmouth bass

4 Overlooked Crankbaits for River Fishing Smallmouth Bass

If you’re not throwing these crankbaits for smallmouth bass, you’re missing some fabulous fish-catching opportunities. Learn why and when to use each.

Hard-fighting, high-jumping river smallmouth bass serve up serve up spectacularly fun summer fishing, and a well-chosen and properly delivered crankbait is one of the finest lures available for covering water and prompting fast action from river bass. Not all crankbaits are created equal, though, and some of the best crankbaits for smallmouth bass in rivers are largely overlooked.

We will look at four of the finest crankbaits that you might not have considered for river smallmouth bass. Each is distinctive in its appeals and the specific situations where it tends to work best. A couple of colors each of these four crankbaits would provide the tools needed for a broad range of river smallmouth fishing situations.

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How to Catch Early-Summer Smallmouth Bass

Frank Scalish shares secrets from a lifetime of targeting smallmouth bass on the Great Lakes and large inland lakes.

When Frank Scalish competed on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour, he was known for his ability to catch smallmouth bass. He did especially well with this species on the Great Lakes and on large, inland, natural lakes, such as Lake Champlain. A lifetime resident of northern Ohio, Scalish has never lived more than a short cast from Lake Erie, one of the nation’s premier smallmouth fisheries.

He has fished Erie regularly throughout his adult life and has the equivalent of a PhD in finding and catching Erie smallmouth. He is especially erudite about how glaciers created the rocky bass habitat on the lake’s bottom. This knowledge has helped him catch big-water smallies wherever he casts for them in North America.

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crawfish matching lure

How to Match Crawfish Profiles for Multi-Species Creek Fishing

Choosing the right crawfish lure and presentation can trigger great days of catching many different types of fish from creeks and rivers.

“Cast across the creek and a little upstream and reel back steadily, reeling just fast enough to feel the crawfish wobble.”

I’ve given that instruction to all my children and to many friends over the years when we’ve stepped into a creek or river and I’ve handed off a lightweight spinning or spincasting combination. The instruction has been the same because the lure has been the same: a Rebel Crawfish.

Depending on the stream and season, the target species might have been rainbow, brown or brook trout or smallmouth, shoal or redeye bass. Or, we might have been fishing for whatever bit and expecting a nice variety. The Rebel Crawfish excels for all of the above. I commonly choose this bait when I’m taking someone fishing because of the ease of use and effectiveness. It isn’t only for teaching, though. It is also the lure I tie on for the broadest range of stream applications and species.

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Ozarks stream wading

7 Tips for Successful Wade Fishing in Streams

Wading a creek or river for bass and other species is a fun and highly effective way to catch fish during summer and autumn. Follow these tips to find great fishing adventures.

With only a couple of hours available, a buddy and I went for maximized efficiency. We parked my car near an Ozarks creek just before daylight and then rode in his truck to another access point, a mile or so downstream. We had tackle packed in light backpacks and topwater lures tied on, and as soon as we had enough light to see where we were walking, we moved streamside at the lower end of a long pool and eyed our first casts.

My Teeny Pop-R disturbed the slick surface first, and the first gentle pop prompted a not-so-gentle attack. The fish missed twice and didn’t come back, but we were underway. Two hours later, just in time to get to where we needed to go, we left fish biting and walked to my car, a few hundred feet away. We’d caught several smallmouths, a couple of spots and largemouths and a handful of mixed panfish. An amazing start to any day!

If you have wadable streams withing reasonable reach that offer public access and support a population of smallmouths, spots, largemouths, shoal bass or other black bass species, there are few simpler or more enjoyable ways to find fishing action than by wading-fishing with a light spinning outfit and modest arsenal of small lures. These tips can make your wade-fishing outings extra productive.

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Penobscot River smallmouth bass

6 Tips for Catching 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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smallmouth bass with Teeny Wee-Crawfish

Expert Tips on the Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish

Wisconsin smallmouth specialist Bill Schultz shares countless hours of learning about the lure that has produced more than 6,000 smallies for him.

In 1992 I bought my first Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish to fish bluegills and largemouth bass in a pond. I still remember my first cast with this little fish-catching magnet. I caught two bluegills, and I knew I had a winner. 

It wasn’t until August 4, 1994 that I gave it a try for stream smallmouth bass, and since that day it has been one of my “go to” lures for river smallies. It’s possible that I have fished this lure for smallies as much as anyone in the country. Since catching my first smallmouth bass in May of 1994, I’ve caught and released 24,700, with more than 13,000 coming from my river outings. Conservatively, I’ve caught more than 6,000 smallmouth bass on the Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish!

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Creek Smallmouth Fishing Made Easy

The “brown bass”, formally known as the smallmouth bass is one of the greatest natural resources, we have swimming in the waters across our country. Even more special is the fact that this hard-fighting species roams abundantly in the smallest creeks and streams offering excellent wade fishing adventures for anyone who seeks! Finding and catching them though can be a task worth researching though, because smallmouth aren’t everywhere in creeks and won’t bite just any particular lure. A sense of stealth needs to be implied and some fishing skill must be put forth.  I’m going to give you a three-part system in this blog to hopefully provide enough information for you to be successful and have some lasting fun this summer wading creeks for smallmouth bass.

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