Smallmouth like wood, too

I’ve been fishing several nights a week since I got back from vacation. You know about my messing around with the float-and-fly technique. What you may not know is that, once again, I’m finding a lot of good smallmouth on deep wood.

The reason I say once again is because I find them on that stuff every summer near the end of July and the first part of August. I have no idea why. I hate to admit that because I know I’m supposed to know some of the answers, but in this case I don’t. They just do what they do. Besides, our job is not to understand them. It’s to catch them.

My experience Tuesday night is an example of what I’m talking about. I tried the float-and-fly for about two hours. I had a couple of little ones, but nothing worth talking about. The moon was bright, so I moved to a shady bank and fished a skirted Hail Mary jig. I think I had one fish.

As we neared the end of the bank, I decided to work a brushpile out in 25 feet of water I’d put out years ago for crappie. On the first cast, my son, Jonathon, and I had double strikes. I lost mine, but he boated a really nice brown bass. We continued to fish that brush and caught several more fish from it. After that, we moved to some other brushpiles I knew about and repeated the same process. Just like before, we caught several nice smallies from each one.

The reason I'm writing a whole column about this is that I think too many smallmouth anglers think of wood as something largemouth like. They get tunnel vision about it. They don’t realize that smallmouth hold on wood just as much during certain times of the year as largemouth. And, in some venues they hold on it all the time. That’s especially true in rivers and streams.

So, the next time you go smallmouth fishing, give the crappie brushpiles you know about a try — and any other wood you can find. It doesn’t matter what lure or rig you’re using. You’ll be surprised at how productive wood can be when conditions are right.

Another thing I want to mention is that in my lake the smallmouth will move shallow for a few days right after they leave the brushpiles in the middle of August. I don’t care how hot the water gets or what else is happening. They move shallow, and they feed like crazy. They’ll tear the paint off a crankbait or a hard jerkbait. Spinnerbaits can be really productive, too.

I want to warn you, though, this shallow bite doesn’t last very long — sometimes only two or three days. If you fish on weekends you could easily miss it during the middle of the week. But it’s a good thing to keep in mind if you’re out on the lake a couple of weeks from now and you can’t get a bite.

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