Welcome to episode #6 of the Deadly White Jig Fishing Challenge. In this video, I’m headed down the beautiful Meremac River of Southern Missouri in pursuit of the smallmouth bass. Often referred to as Smallies, Brown Bass, Brownies, or Bronzebacks, smallmouth bass are a popular sportfish which can be found throughout much of North America. Smallmouth are somewhat similar in body structure to the largemouth and spotted bass but are generally smaller, have different coloration, and are found in cold-water habitats such as spring-fed streams, lakes, and reservoirs. They prefer clear water and dense underwater structure such as rocks and thick brush where they patrol the shorelines or hide out and ambush their prey. Yes indeed, much like the popular largemouth bass, smallmouth are aggressive predatory fish, which makes them so much fun to pursue.
The smallmouth is a stealthy carnivore which eats other fish, crayfish, and large insects. They’re also quite crafty and intelligent, as they’ll follow or sneak up behind large turtles or sucker fish as they root around on the bottom looking for food, and then quickly pounce on any tasty items that may get dislodged.
Smallies can live 10 to 12 years and are typically 10 to 20 inches in length, and weigh between ½ to 4 pounds, however, they can get much larger in habitats with abundant food sources. Smallmouth are also a rather slow-growing fish as it takes them 3 to 5 years to reach 12 inches, which for many states is the minimum recreational size limit.
Smallmouth are commonly pursued with light baitcasting or spinning tackle and are most active early in the morning or late in the evening, however, fly fishing for these feisty fish is also very popular, which makes them a great species for the Deadly White Jig Challenge.
I’m going after these fish with my standard sized Deadly White Jig, a 6wt flyrod, 6lb fluorocarbon tippet, and a strike indicator to control the exact depth, which is especially key when trying to coax them out of the thick cover or off the bottom in deep water…especially during the usually not so productive midday hours. But that’s enough of my rambling. Let’s get to fly fishing for smallmouth bass with the Deadly White Jig! Check out the video below to see all the action…