If you’ve never tried ultra light fishing for Smallmouth Bass, you need to put it at the top of your fishing list. When I use the phrase ‘ultra light fishing’, I’m referring to ultra light gear spooled with 4-6 pound test line and using small hooks and baits. If you’ve never had the pleasure of catching a 3+ pound Smallmouth on ultra light fishing gear, let me tell you, it’s as much fun as you can have with your clothes on! I personally prefer to ultra light fish for Smallmouth Bass in the flowing waters of rivers and streams, so that’s what I’m going to focus on in this article.
One of the most effective ways to catch Smallmouth Bass in a river and or stream situation is through the use of live bait. Minnows, hellgrammites, leeches, crayfish, and worms can all be used effectively. A set of gang hooks is probably the best way to present all of these baits, but especially worms. You see, gang hooks enable the angler to present a live worm in a completely natural manner. In a “natural manner” simply means outstretched, the way God intended, rather than being threaded onto a hook like some sort of ‘worm ball’.
The actual technique that I’ve experienced success with is to bounce my live worm off the bottom, as it flows naturally downstream with the current. The rig is set up thusly: grab the end of your line and tie on a small barrel swivel. Now tie on a pre tied set of gang hooks (they can be tied yourself or purchased, it makes little difference). At this point, split shot sinkers are added to the line above the swivel. You want enough split shots to get your rig to the bottom, but not too many. Too much weight will result in getting snagged. Now add ½ of a live night crawler to the gang hooks, and your good to go.
The goal is to bounce your offering off the bottom as it tumbles naturally downstream. Don’t worry; with practice telling the difference between bites and bottom will be easy. With a little practice you’ll be using this technique to catch Smallmouth on ultra light fishing gear. And once you catch a few and realize how much fun it is, the fish won’t be the only ones getting hooked, you will be hooked as well.