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I fish anywhere I can and for anything that I can but one fish always leaves me wanting more. I find myself anticipating the first smallie of each year as a child would Christmas or their birthday. Over the past few years two of my closest friends and I have really put the time in trying to find and understand these beautiful bronze backs.

It is not only the fish itself that brings me back time after time but also the location and way that I have chosen to chase them.

First: I live in the foothills of North Carolina and only about forty minutes from the Virginia line. Rivers such and the New, Yadkin, and their tributaries are known to hold a variety of fish, which include three species of black bass. These are the spotted bass, the largemouth bass, and my favorite the smallmouth. These rivers, especially the New River, are littered with rock ledges, old dams, wildlife, and much more. This makes for more than just your average fishing trip.

Second: I choose to use a kayak in order to float these rivers, which is a great experience even without the fish. This has probably been the best investment in my smallmouth catching missions. It allows me to cover a lot of area comfortably and access those spots that you can’t reach by regular boats. Before we would just wade locations that we could park and walk to but with the yaks we can float right through those hard to access areas.
I could go on and on about the advantages to kayak fishing but this post is about my favorite fish, not my favorite way to fish.

Now about the Fish.

In my opinion pound for pound these fish pull harder than any other freshwater fish. They do not give up! On top of that they are beautiful. Their markings and coloration can vary depending on their environment. Their size range in these rivers can be anywhere from six inches to over twenty, however the later would be rare. I have found that natural looking plastics such as flukes and worms seem to work great. My personal favorite is the Senko. It has caught bigger and better fish for me than any other artificial bait. I prefer a 4inch in a color that matches the water tent and I rig them wacky with a hook right through the middle. With that said, sometimes I just can’t resist the urge to throw live bait. While store bought shiners or some siened minnows will produce fish I have caught my largest smallies on 3-4inch sunfish. I catch them with a small rooster tail and put them in my flow troll until I reach those honey holes that always produce the big ones.
When I am floating an area I always try to find a place with white water or a lot of current. Smallies seem to like staying behind rocks or in eddies so they can allow the current to bring the food by them. Also, in slower moving sections I look for any water that might be flowing into the river such as small creeks or streams.
I hope that this post helps those of you interested in seeing for yourself what makes me chase these fish year after year. I am by no means an expert fisherman, just another angler sharing my passion.