I used a simple small weighted hook and fat earthworm we got from under a rotting log to catch our first smallies (wife and me). I used this simple rig to catch largemouth bass. I just toss the worm near cover (partially submerged log or large rock in the water) and let it sink. If there is a bass waiting there it will come out and strike.
We caught fall fish and green sunfish too. My kids had a great time creeking while the parents fished.
Another family invited us to a nice spot on the Catoctin Creek in Frederick, MD. My new favorite creek.