Chasing River Smallies in the Summer


Chasing River Smallies in the Summer
What a year it has been on the rivers here in Middle Tennessee, while chasing smallies with good friends and new comers to kayak fishing. As the water heats up and gets low make sure to find areas below swift current where the water is calm and perhaps even swirling a bit, this is an eddy, this is where some big smallies could be. Generally speaking, the bigger the fish are, the lazier they are; so don’t miss the opportunity to throw into the areas below moving water. Rock faces where moving water flows against it can prove to be amazing, smallies are often waiting to ambush prey while they wait patiently under and near rock shelfs; you could say that this is fast food in their world.



After a fair amount of rain, water normally becomes stained or can even turn brown as chocolate milk, smallies can be anywhere in these conditions. Smallies feel more comfortable moving around in stained water, and food is usually more available as well. Bugs and other types of critters get washed off of tree branches and river banks, making for an easy meal. Higher faster flowing water can make fishing conditions harder for these reasons, but this doesn’t mean that fishing is impossible, just more challenging. The bait that has been working for me consistently all summer is a Texas rigged crayfish. As the water gets higher and faster try using a heavier weight, like a 3/16oz or even up to a 1/4oz, and for lower flows a 1/8oz has been golden, it gives the crayfish a nice flutter motion as it falls to the bottom and while bouncing off of structure. Speaking of structure, in low clear water conditions smallies really cling to downed trees, rock shelves, grassy areas, and even near or under things like old tires.




The most exciting part of chasing river smallies has been the experience that a kayak offers, and of course getting one in the boat. A kayak can get you into remote areas that a large vessel simply isn’t able to reach, especially in the summer when the water gets too shallow. A kayak suitable for rivers is necessary too, like the Coosa, Coosa HD, or even the SUPerFISHal. If you have any questions about picking out a kayak that is suitable for you and the environment that you will be in please contact your local Jackson Kayak dealer, or call the Jackson Kayak Customer Support Team at 931-738-4800. Keep those lines tight, and please wear your PFD while on or near water.

Matt Cunningham

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