Fall options part 1

Stephen Headrick

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

Over the next three weeks I'm going to talk about three fall fishing options for smallmouth anglers. This week we'll talk streams and creeks, next week we'll take a look at rivers, and in Part 3 we'll talk about lakes and reservoirs.

Small streams and creeks don't usually have the biggest bass, but they're a lot of fun to catch. They fight like the devil. It's how I got hooked on smallies as a kid, and it's still one of my favorite ways to spend a fall afternoon.

Pick a place that has a good water flow and some deep holes. Good flow means water's moving through the creek when it rains. It may not be happening right now because water levels are usually low in the late summer and fall.

"Deep" is relative. On some streams, "deep" is 3 feet. In others, it might be 10 feet. The important thing is that there are some holes in the creek or stream that are quite a bit deeper than the rest of it.

Tackle for stream smallmouths is about as simple as it gets. You'll need a 5-foot spinning rod, reel and some light monofilament line. I'm an All Pro man when it comes to rods. Unfortunately, they don't make a 5-foot model. G.Loomis makes a great one. Find one that feels good to you.

My reel is a Shimano Symetre 1500. I spool it up with 4-pound-test Berkley Trilene (green) line.

The shorter rod works real well in tight spaces, like when you have tree limbs and other things in your way. I go with mono rather than fluorocarbon because a little bit of stretch is a good thing when you're fighting fish up close. It's less expensive than fluorocarbon, too.

Lots of baits will catch stream smallmouth, just keep 'em small. Rebel makes some great little crankbaits that look like insects and crawfish. You'll also catch plenty of fish on in-line spinners. My favorite stream lure is a Creme pre-rigged worm. They come in 4- and 6-inch sizes that are just perfect on small streams.

Toss your baits upstream, into the current and let them move naturally downstream. Be ready when your lure drifts into one of those deep holes. That's usually where the best fish live.

And remember to be sneaky. The water's low and clear right now. You're going to need to move slowly, wear drab-colored clothes and make long casts. It's almost like hunting, really.

Give creek and stream smallmouth a try this fall. It's a blast. I guarantee it.

Until next time, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Please e-mail me atStephen@thesmallmouthguru.com.

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