Aug 162017
 

One of our potato cams was acting up yesterday so we were not able to post some of the mountain biking photos from our most recent adventures, so here’s a few additional photos. We will be so happy when the new camera comes in, hopefully tomorrow.

We had planned on riding in the Mt. Hood National Forest, but it was too dusty and pretty crowded so we only camped overnight and left early the next morning. When nature is involved, you have to be flexible

MTB camping in the Mt Hood National Forest

There are plenty of switchbacks on the steep Forest Service roads through the Cascade Mountains

Cycling on SW Washington Forest Service roads

This section of road could use a few more switchbacks, instead it is a grueling climb up a steep, rocky Cascade Mountain ramp. This is the ominous black tunnel to the top of the mountain

Steep climb to the top of the mountain

The Forest Service roads connect to remote singletrack bike trails

SW Washington singletrack

The trails have some challenging features, like this off camber switchback. When you’re out here in the middle of nowhere, better be sure you can make it because it’s a long way to the emergency room…

Off camber switchback on SW Washington mountain bike trail

Stay tuned for more cycling photos. We may even get out there fishing again if the fish decide to start biting again. We’re in a pretty good spot to see the solar eclipse this Monday so we will probably be adding to the millions of Eclipse 2017 photos on the internet as well.

Aug 152017
 

It’s been mostly hot and windy, the fishing is terrible so why not head off for some mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains? We’ve been having a great time lately packing up the bikes and heading into the mountains, getting back into that great feeling of flying down PacNW singletrack.

Headed up into the mountains for some mountain biking

We checked out the “brand name” trails in the Mt. Hood National Forest, but the trails were dry, dusty and mostly blown out from all the use. Some of the trails in this area have gotten too famous for their own good and the increased rider traffic has taken it’s toll. There were a lot of vehicles roaming around so we decided to try our luck across the Columbia River in Washington, which turned out to be a good move. The trails there, not nearly as well known, were in much better condition.

Mountain biking on SW Washington singletrack

We camped out at a primitive camping area. Most of the camping is pretty primitive in these parts, which we don’t mind, but you must bring everything you need with you. This is known as “dry camping” because there are no facilities like running water or toilets. This kind of camping is something we do all the time, so we know what to take and what to leave at home.

Mountain bike camping

The trails around here are really great. Hardly any other riders, local people mostly, and the trails remain in pretty good shape because the local riders have a tendency to not destroy the trails in their neck of the woods. This is rugged, mountainous country so you have to be prepared for anything. If you are willing to venture off the beaten path, you’ll find plenty of places like this.

Prime SW Washington singletrack

These are the Cascade Mountains and there is plenty of climbing to go along with the great downhills. We are working into mountain biking shape and are starting to be able to climb to the tops of some of the local peaks. The climb up to this peak is a brutally steep haul up rough Forest Service roads. It’s a great view from the top and a really killer downhill as payback for the hard climbing required to get up here.

On a mountain peak in the Cascade Mountains of SW Washington

We’re in town for a few days to take care of business, then we’ll be off on another road trip. We’d like to get some fishing in, but the smallmouth bass fishing is not that good, salmon season will be getting under way in a couple weeks, so we might just wait for the big fish and continue our fun mountain biking adventures.

We’ve also been scraping by with some pretty crappy camera gear. We’ve been using Panasonic Lumix cameras for a few years, but they only seem to last about two years. These are not cheap point and shoot cameras, they cost nearly $400. That’s a little bit too much to pay for a camera that only lasts a couple years, so we are back to camera brands we’ve trusted for years and are awaiting the delivery of a new Canon PowerShot G9X, so you can expect the run of somewhat below standard photo quality to come to an end. Stay tuned.

Aug 092017
 

As I mentioned yesterday, after a long time away from the off road cycling, we spent a few days deep in the mountains of southwest Washington state getting back to the mountain bike basics. Just the bike, a cooler full of beer and food and enough water to last a few days in the more remote foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Nothing fancy, just a lot of singletrack and wide open forest service roads.

Mountain bike camp in SW Washington

We got started as early as we could, usually about 7:30 AM to beat the record heat that would come later in the day. The midday temperatures were over 100°F every day and the air was full of smoke from western wildfires. We could ride until about 1:00 PM when it just got too hot. By then, we’d ridden more than five hours of challenging terrain in the Cascade Mountain foothills, so we could kick back and have a couple beers to get through the afternoon swelter.

Even with more than a month without rain, we were far enough off the beaten path so the singletrack trails were dry, but not too dusty and blown out. Didn’t take long to get back to the reason we ride mountain bikes out in the woods.

Mountain biking SW Washington singletrack

Mountain biking SW Washington singletrack

The singletrack trails are all connected by Forest Service roads. The singletrack riding is the most fun, but the miles of riding on the Forest Service roads really help to build fitness. It’s like riding a road bike, but only on dirt.

Mountain bike riding on Forest Service roads in SW Washington

We couldn’t get enough of the singletrack riding, especially after not having ridden for some time. Never can have too much singletrack if you’re a mountain biker.

Mountain biking SW Washington singletrack

Mountain biking SW Washington singletrack

So, we are stoked again to go bike riding, especially since the fishing seems to be especially poor. Stay tuned, because there is another cycling adventure coming up shortly.

Aug 082017
 

We spent a long, somewhat hot extended weekend mountain biking excellent singletrack trails and forest service roads in southwest Washington. This area is well off the beaten path and it was pure enjoyment to be out on the trail without crowds of people.

Mountain biking on pristine SW Washington singletrack

We’re back in civilization stocking up on supplies before we head back out into the woods and we will try to have a few more photos and story about the two wheeled weekend in the hills. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Aug 042017
 

We’ve had the Eluktronics N850HK1 laptop computer for a couple weeks now and are starting to see what it has to offer so we are giving it an initial review after getting to know the computer.

Eluktronics pre-sales customer service was great. They answered all my questions and were offered to change a couple things to make the computer what I wanted. I kept track of my order on their website and they kept me informed about my order. The computer arrived pretty quickly for free shipping and was packaged very well. I got a Windows 10 Pro upgrade which was installed with all the necessary drivers to have the computer running right out of the box.

The computer is a Clevo N850HK1. Different vendors sell this computer with different components. The Eluktronics N850HK1 is basic black, plastic, kind of high performance looking laptop. It’s surprisingly thin for all the stuff it’s got in there. The display half of the laptop is pretty thin, I would not pick up this computer by the lid. The display panel itself is LG LP156WF6-SPB1, which is a really nice 72% NTSC IPS screen. I’ve played a few video games, and done some video and photo editing and I have no complaints.

It took me awhile to figure out how to configure the programs, games and apps to use either the integrated Intel graphics or the GeForce 1050Ti. There is a big, big difference between the two in graphics performance, that’s for sure. I played some fairly moderate computer games(Pinball FX2, Serious Sam HD) and did not notice any significant excess heat, even after a few hours of gaming. I’m sure more complex games will tax the system a bit more, but it’s encouraging to see everything in the max power department working as expected. We’ll get to run the CPU up to the red line when we do some full length video rendering, but so far with Photoshop and short video clip production, the Intel i7 processor barely seems to be getting a workout.

Editing kayak fishing photos on the Eluktronics N850HK1 laptop computer

The 256GB Eluktro Pro-X m.2 SSD is fast and has been working well. 16G RAM does the job. The 2TB 5400 rpm HD that came with the computer is an older model Seagate Barracuda 128MB cache with a two year warranty. We are not the biggest Seagate fans but laptop hard drive choices 2TB and over are limited, so we’ll see how it goes. Everything is backed up on a USB 3.0 WD 4TB Passport external drive. The card reader and USB ports all work the way you’d expect. Don’t have any USB-C peripherals, so we’ll have to wait for that.

What don’t I like so far? Not much really. The keyboard has a little bit of flex, but it’s not noticeable unless you are looking at the keys while you type. The touchpad seems really sensitive, but I’m not much of a touchpad fan and try to only use them when necessary, so it’s probably the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t like some of the things about Windows 10, but that’s no reflection on the computer itself.

So now the Eluktronics N850HK1 is in everyday use for the watermanatwork.com field unit. The watermanatwork.com blog posts, photos and videos are now coming from the Eluktronics N850HK1. It’s going to get a workout so we’ll keep the reviews updated.

Aug 042017
 

How about some hot and smoky smallmouth bass fishing? After a couple long months away from the Columbia River Gorge, when we get back, the whole place is on fire! Temperatures over 100° for nearly a week and numerous wildfires have things baking hot and choked with smoke. It’s making outdoor activities nearly impossible but we got for a little bit of smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River. We camped right next to the 75° river, but it only brought minimal relief from the 105° heat. It was dead calm with smoke from nearby wildfires sat like a giant fog bank over everything.

Camping for kayak fishing on the Columbia River near Rufus, OR

The smoke and heat didn’t seem to bother this SUPer all that much. He paddled across the river and pulled up by where I was camped. His name was Alex and he stood around talking for awhile, had a few drinks of water and a couple cigarettes, jumped back on the board and paddled back across the river before it got dark.

SUPer on the Columbia River on a hot and smoky August day

The next morning, we launched before sunrise at Lepage Park boat ramp. We were in the water well before sunrise to beat the severe heat that was in store for the day. It was such a relief to be on the water with the water and air temperatures in the mid-seventies, just about perfect.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River at the John Day Rivermouth

There were huge carp jumping all over the place, but the smallmouth bass fishing was pretty tough going. The warm river water and low summer water levels seems to have pushed the bass to the deeper water where they are harder to find. I think when the water is too warm, the smallmouth bass get sluggish and not as eager to bite. We had a number of short hits, which usually are smaller fish, and managed to scrape out a couple decent sized bass and a few smaller fish.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth  bass on a hot and smoky Columbia River in Central Oregon

The fishing wasn’t exactly on fire and the temperature closing in on 100° about noon, we called it a day. We hope to get a few more bass fishing days in, but with the weather like this, not sure if it will be worth it. With salmon/steelhead season looking to get started here in a few weeks, we are starting to worry the weather and warm water will have a negative effect on the salmon runs. Last year was not a banner year for salmon fishing so we don’t need any extra problems. It’s supposed to remain extremely hot for the next few days, so we’ll see how it goes.

Jul 182017
 

We are going to spending some time on the road, so we here at watermanatwork.com are in the market for a laptop computer that can handle the video and photo editing tasks as well as do a little bit of video gaming on the side. As always, price is a factor. If we had unlimited funds, the decision would be a lot easier, but we need to get the most bang for our bucks. As always, we pay for all of our gear just like you do, so our reviews and articles are not biased in any way. We build all of our own workstations, servers and desktop computers, but laptops are generally pretty limited when it comes to upgrades and customization, so you pretty much have to get the main components you want, like the CPU(processor) and GPU(graphics processor), out of the box. Some components can be upgraded, we’ll cover that as we go along.

We have a pretty good idea of what we would like to spend and the components we can get at that price point. Like most computer purchases, you’ll find computers with mostly the same specifications from different manufacturers. That’s where things like warranty, customer service and company reputation come into the picture. For this computer, we want to stay in the $1200USD range, give or take a few dollars. For sure we want an 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core CPU. This powerful 2.8Ghz(3.8Ghz Turbo) processor will be able to handle all of our editing and gaming needs. It also has onboard graphics, but for our graphics, and especially gaming requirements, we want a dedicated graphics; a graphics processor separate from the main CPU. This will give us much better graphic quality. The best price/performance GPU for our needs is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU with 4GB GDDR5 Video Memory. To go with the dedicated GPU, especially for our editing jobs, we want an IPS LCD display. There are cheaper LCD panels, but this is one place we don’t want to skimp. Things we would need are 16G of RAM minimum, a PCIe SSD for our operating system and at least one SSD or hard drive for storage. These components are usually upgradeable, but if we can get what we want from the manufacturer, that will save us money down the road. We’ll get into more details as we go along.

A basic decision is should we go with a traditional mobile workstation or a recent newer line of consumer gaming computers? Mobile workstations are nice; powerful, durable and built for heavy duty work. They also come with a heavy duty price tag, probably close to double what we would like to spend. We are looking at a relatively new genre of laptop “gaming” computers. This type of computer has plenty of power necessary to run demanding computer games which means they have all the power needed for the 1920×1080 video editing and photo work we have. The downside of gaming computers is that they are not as durable as mobile workstations and the cooling may not be as good. Since we will be spending a lot of time traveling, we won’t be able to easily ship the computer back and forth for repairs, so reliability is one of the most important purchasing decisions. As with most computer purchases, it’s a price/performance/reliability trade off that usually causes a potential computer buyer to spend hours doing research trying to figure out which computer or component to purchase.

We’ve been looking around for awhile and have a couple laptops leading the pack for our hard earned money. The Dell Inspirion 15 7000 Gaming(7567) and the Sager NP6852 are the computers that seem to have everything we are looking for. Dell is one of the most well known computer brands while Sager is a laptop specialist popular with enthusiasts.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop computer(7567)

The Dell Inspirion 7567 is a solid computer. Positives would be Dell’s generally good record for quality products and solid warranties. The battery life is very good, perhaps the best, in this computer class, that’s a big plus. Negatives would be Dell’s proprietary software and partitioning scheme that can make upgrades and software configuration difficult, if not impossible. We have a good deal of experience with Dell computers and while Dell Business Customer Service is very good, for everyone else, it is hit and miss. Since we will be in there with “everyone else”, we have to count Dell customer service as mostly negative. For the price and what you get, the Dell Inspirion 15 7000 is still a leading contender, as long as nothing goes wrong.

Sager NP6852-Clevo N850HK1 Sager NP6852-Clevo N850HK1

The Sager NP6852 is actually a Clevo N850HK1. Clevo is a Taiwanese OEM/ODM laptop computer manufacturer, Sager is one of a number of resellers for their laptop computers. The upside of the Sager NP6852 is that is is more user upgradeable/serviceable and for a few bucks more comes a 250G Samsung 960 EVO M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, where the Dell Inspirion comes with a 128GB SSD and 1TB 5400RPM hard drive. The absence of bloatware and proprietary software is a plus. The downside of the Sager NP6852 is the question of reliabilty and customer service. Although reviews on the internet seem mostly positive, we have personally never had any experience with Sager. This is a big negative for us. Sager may be the best company on the face of the earth, we just don’t know anything about them.

We’ve sent emails to both Dell and Sager asking a few questions about their computer’s components and configurations. We’ll see what they have to say and continue with our research. We will also be checking out laptops with basically the same specifications like the Lenovo Legion Y520 and laptops from Asus and MSI. We’ll be updating this blog as we get closer to making a final decision.

7-20-17 Update We’ve been looking at a lot of laptop computers and finally the time spent researching has paid off. We liked the Dell Inspiron 7567 but could not get any information about the computer’s components. Buying a $1200 computer without knowing the brand and model of the PCIe SSD, hard drive and especially, the display panel is ridiculous. I could not get a straight answer from anybody at Dell despite repeated attempts. Emails to Dell sales department went unanswered. Throw in Dell bloatware and proprietary software to compliment the poor customer service and that’s all she wrote.

Despite the fact I had never heard of Sager until we started looking for this laptop, they seemed like they were willing to provide the customer service we would expect. We really liked the Sager NP6852/Clevo N850HK1, but Sager informed me the computer used an LG LP156WF6-SPK3 display panel, which is not a very good IPS panel. We were hoping we could find the Clevo N850HK1 computer from another vendor with a better IPS display panel and we came across Eluktronics.

Eluktronics H850HK1

Eluktronics sells Clevo laptops, but while the chassis, motherboard and other core components are the same, different vendors have different components like display panels, memory, solid state drives hard drives and other components. Eluktronics sells the Clevo N850HK1 as the Eluktro Pro N850 Series N850HK1. It has all the stuff we want; Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core CPU, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 16G DDR4 2400MHz RAM and a 256G M.2 PCIe NVMe Flash SSD. What sold us on this version of the Clevo N850HK1 is that Eluktronics specs their version with Crucial memory, their “house brand” 256GB Eluktro Pro-X Performance M.2 PCIe NVMe Flash SSD, which is a Samsung PM961 Polaris M.2-2280 PCI-e 3.0 x 4 NVMe Single-Sided Solid State Drive and a huge plus is an LG LP156WF6-SPB1 display panel, which is significantly better than the LG LP156WF6-SPK3. Like Sager, I had never heard of Eluktronics until a few days ago. When I contacted them for information, they responded quickly with all the information I asked for. I asked them to swap a hard drive that we really didn’t need for an upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, they said it would be no problem. Free shipping is also another big plus. Along with a slew of great reviews about Eluktronics, I feel pretty good about purchasing a laptop from them.

The reviews and observations of the Eluktronics N850HK1 continue HERE

Jun 152017
 

We get a lot of requests asking what smallmouth bass lures we use. We here at watermanatwork.com do a lot of smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River and it’s tributaries and have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn’t. Not all the lures below will work everyplace, everyday, but as a fisherman, what lures to use where and when is what it’s all about. We can’t tell you everything you need to know about every single smallmouth bass fishery, successful fishing has a lot to do with experience. The more you learn, the better your chances of regular success as a bass fisherman.

Smallmouth bass hang out in many different environments depending on the time of year and the water conditions. Finding the fish is the first priority and then getting them to bite a piece of plastic with hooks in it is the second. That’s pretty much smallmouth bass fishing in one sentence. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but that’s pretty much it. The fishing environment and time of year will determine which lures will be successful almost all the time.

We use three main kinds of lures for smallmouth bass fishing; crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics, which include grubs, worms and other soft baits. We’ve caught big twenty inch plus smallmouth bass with all these types of lures so it’s more about using the right lure at the right time and the right place than which type of lure works everyplace all the time. There is no single lure that is guaranteed to catch bass everyplace all the time. It’s your job as a fisherman to figure that out.

We’ll start off with crankbaits. Crankbaits are hard plastic lures with a plastic lip that will make them wiggle around and dive anywhere from a couple feet to more than ten feet or deeper depending on how fast you reel them in. Bass crankbaits usually come with two treble hooks. There are a lot of crankbaits to choose from, but we only use a few types that have proven themselves over time.

Smallmouth bass crankbaits

On top is a floating crankbait the dives below the surface on retrieve. This is kind of an old school lure because it is actually made out of balsa wood. This floating crankbait works best in shallow water so it would be used mainly in the spring and early summer when the smallmouth bass are spawning in shallow water when the water is cool. As the water warms up, the fish head to deeper water. The second lure is a suspended diving crankbait, or “slashbait”. “Suspended” means it will float, or “suspend” below the surface of the water and dive deeper on retrieve. This lure is also hollow and has a ball in it that rattles, but we’re not sure if that actually does anything or is just a marketing deal. This is a really nice lure and will catch lots of smallmouth bass, but it costs about ten bucks, which makes snags, which are common with smallmouth bass habitiat, very expensive. The lip on this particular lure broke off after a short time, not too happy about that. The last lure in this photo is a “Wiggle Wort”. You will probably see this lure more in our salmon fishing posts because the Wiggle Wort is one our favorite salmon fishing lures, but it works for smallmouth bass as well. We don’t catch a whole lot of bass with this lure, but all the smallmouth bass we do catch with it have been big ones, so we keep throwing it out there.

Big Columbia River smallmouth bass caught on a Wiggle Wort

What is our favorite crankbait? Until further notice, it would be the Berkley Flicker Shad. This is a really basic diving crankbait. It works when casting for bass and also can be used to catch smallmouth bass by trolling along dropoffs or weed lines.

Berkley Flicker Shad crankbait for smallmouth bass

A big advantage of the Flicker Shad is that it is inexpensive and readily available. The watermanatwork.com home base is in the Columbia River Gorge and the nearest sporting goods store is a long trip away. The Berkley crankbait is available at Walmart for about four bucks, so losing one is not going to break the bank. We’ve caught a lot of smallmouth bass with this humble and cheap lure.

Smallmouth bass caught with a Berkley Flicker Shad crankbait

Fishing for smallmouth bass with a crankbait is a lot of fun because the bass hit the lure hard, there’s no guessing if you have a bite or not. Varying the speed the lure is retrieved or pausing the retrieve for a moment, then reeling quickly for a few feet will often induce a smallmouth bass to strike. At times, a crankbait may not work as well as other types of lures because the fish are sluggish due to water condtions and will not bother to chase what they think is an escaping baitfish, but we almost always have a crankbait on one of the fishing poles, because we have caught a lot of big smallmouth bass on crankbaits.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught on a diving crankbait

We think that placement and depth are most important when fishing with crankbaits. Color and action, not so much. Putting that lure right in front of a hungry bass is what is going to get the fish to strike. While we don’t feel lure color is the most important thing, we like to have a little bit of red on the smallmouth bass crankbaits. Red eyes are good and when the hooks on the lure get worn out from catching fish or dragging them over rocks and tree stumps, we usually replace the stock black hooks with red hooks. It seems to work, maybe it’s just one of those lucky fishing things guys do.

Next up we have spinnerbaits. These particular spinnerbaits would probably be more accurately described as “safety pin” spinner baits because, well, they resemble a safety pin. The spinnerbaits we use are equipped with a Colorado spinner blade. The round blade with a deep cup create noise and vibration that catch the attention of smallmouth bass. By adjusting the rate of retrieve, you can control the depth of the lure and the amount of ruckus the spinner blade will produce. The vibrations made by the spinner’s blade make it a good choice in murky water or at night when the fish may not be able to see the lure.

Spinnerbaits with Colorado blade for smallmouth bass

Like other smallmouth bass lures, spinnerbaits come in a wide variety of colors. Our general rule of thumb for the best lure color is that on dark days, use a dark color and when the conditions are bright, use a light colored lure. Some smallmouth bass fishermen claim that certain colors work better when the water levels are high and other colors work well when the water levels are low. The same goes when the water is moving fast or if the water is moving slowly. We suspect that this is more of a localized theory and may or may not work where you fish, but if you pay attention to the conditions and lure color, you may discover a trend where you fish for bass. Spinnerbaits are our least used lures, but we have caught fish on all the spinnerbaits in the photo above.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught with a spinnerbait

We have had the most success with the orange, yellow and green skirted spinnerbait. It seems we wind up using these lures during the summer when the sun is out and there are a lot of bass moving around.

Smallmouth bass caught with a spinnerbait with a Colorado blade

Like crankbaits, when a smallmouth bass hits a spinnerbait, there is no doubt if you have a bite or not. The bass hit the lure and the fight is on. Another great thing about spinnerbaits is that they are inexpensive. You can buy into the hype and pay two or three times as much for a “Pro endorsed” spinnerbait, but the truth is that you will most likely catch just as many bass on a lure that costs a couple bucks. We’ve caught some big smallmouth bass on spinnerbaits, but we use them mostly on summer days when the water is warm and there are a lot of medium size bass moving around looking for food. Casting a spinnerbait on light tackle is a lot of fun because even smaller bass put up a great fight.

The final group of lures we use can be grouped in the general classification of “soft plastics”. Almost every bass fisherman has a boatload of this type of lure because the come in so many configurations and colors, as well as being the cheapest smallmouth bass lures you can buy. This is important because smallmouth bass tend to hang around rocks and underwater structure like sunken trees and it is inevitable that you are going to lose some gear.

Soft plastic smallmouth bass lures

At the top of the photo there are two soft plastic swimbaits. This type of soft plastic lure has a lead core with a soft plastic body and a tail that spins when retrieved. This is a good lure to use in a place where you might want to use a crankbait but the potential for snags is high. Instead of losing an expensive crankbait to a snag, using a soft swimbait that resembles a small baitfish like a crankbait does will only set you back a buck or two instead of losing a crankbait that costs three or four times as much. These swimbaits work well when the smallmouth bass are hanging on the very bottom. Drop the swimbait to the bottom and do your best to make the thing look like an injured bait fish. We have caught some big smallmouth bass with swimbaits fished along the bottom.

Smallmouth bass caught on a soft plastic swimbait

Another popular soft plastic bait are plastic worms. You may also hear fishermen call this type of plastic worm “Senkos”, which is a brand name for a kind of plastic worm. They come in all sorts of colors and different lengths. Used with a lead head hook, the plastic worms are fished off the bottom. Letting the worm settle on the bottom, raising it up, reeling in a bit and letting it fall back to the bottom works well with smallmouth bass. Often, the bass will hit the worm as it falls back to the bottom, but smallmouth bass are aggressive fish and will hit a lure any time it’s in the water. Along with plastic worms and plastic fish, there are soft plastic frogs, lizards, crayfish, leeches and grubs; all in various sizes and colors for you to spend your hard earned cash on.

Our favorite soft plastic lure, in fact, our favorite smallmouth bass fishing lure, is a leadhead grub. The ones we like best are about three inches long in a clear/reddish pink color used with an 1/8 ounce yellow lead head with red eyes. As with other soft plastics, these grubs come in many colors and sizes. The lead heads also come in a wide variety of colors and weights. Since we use lightweight spinning tackle most of the time, the 1/8 ounce size casts a long way and doesn’t get snagged as easily as heavier lures.

Leadhead grubs for smallmouth bass fishing

I can’t tell you how many smallmouth bass we have caught on these simple lures. Many days, this will be the only lure we use. If a lure is catching fish, why would you change it? We might have to change to a new grub because the one we’ve been using is completely chewed up, but this is definitely our “go to” smallmouth bass lure. A smallmouth bass favorite food is crayfish and I guess this looks like one to them, that’s probably why we’ve had so much success with it.

Smallmouth bass caught with a leadhead grub

Casting a grub up against rocks on the river bank and letting the grub bounce down the rocks under water, waiting a couple seconds, then lifting the lure off the rocks or the bottom will often get a strike from a smallmouth bass that hangs along the rocks waiting for a crayfish to swim out. The key is casting the lure right next to the rocks, bouncing off the rocks is fine. You will get a few snags fishing like this, but in a kayak, you can paddle right up to the rocks and usually get your lure back. These grubs are probably the cheapest setup you can use. Even if you lose a whole pack of them, it would probably cost less than a single crankbait. That’s one of the big reasons we like these things. If it costs less to catch fish, why would you pay more? You can also cast the grubs, let them go to the bottom and sit for a second or two, then lift the lure off the bottom as you retrieve a few cranks and let the grub settle back to the bottom. Like the plastic worms, smallmouth bass will often hit the lure as it falls back down towards the bottom. Even though these grubs are small lures, we have caught many large twenty inch plus trophy smallmouth bass with them.

Nice Columbia River smallmouth bass caught with a leadhead grub

That’s pretty much our collection of smallmouth bass lures. Not saying we are the world’s greatest smallmouth bass fishermen, but we do OK and have caught quite a few big smallmouth bass all with the lures described in this article. As with all the product reviews and descriptions here on the watermanatwork.com website, we buy all these things ourselves just like you do. We are not sponsored by anybody, we don’t belong to any clubs and we don’t promote anything except for having fun kayak fishing without spending a lot of money. We are just guys who love to fish and we happen to use kayaks.

Now that you know what you need to catch smallmouth bass, you should get off your phone or computer and do some fishing.