Pursuit of Smallmouth

Over the years I have seen a lot of posts from those that are new and not so new to smallies looking for information on catching smallmouth bass. The first thing I would recommend is to do a google search on smallmouth bass and delve into the information online. As you come across links to various websites in your search be sure to go through the archives of those sites. There is usually a treasure trove to be found there. I have a number of books that I would recommend to you that I believe can help you.

  1. Smallmouth Bass InFisherman Handbook of Strategies:
    This book is for the river, lake and reservoir smallie fisherman. This may be the best book ever compiled on the subject and is well worth the time invested in reading it. The text is superb and the diagrams are top notch. It has information from the early days of InFisherman that is not available anywhere else. It is available from InFisherman and a variety of online bookshops as well as your public libraries.
  2. Smallmouth Bass - The Hunting and Fishing Library
  3. Fishing Rivers and Streams - The Husting and Fishing Library
    Both of these books contain excellent graphics, photos and text that will go a long way in helping you understand smallies and also how they relate to moving waters. There are some other species covered in the Fishing Rivers and Streams book as a bonus. Creative Publishing has reprinted some of the other books from the Hunting and Fishing Library series and may well have done these. Check your bookstores, bait shops, giganto marts and of course the library.
  4. Them Old Brown Fish by Billy Westmoreland
    A great book by a man who if he wasn't the greatest smallie fisherman of our time was certainly in the class picture. This book is out of print so far as I know but is well worth the search. You may find it at a library like I did or you could try a service like abebooks.com that specializes in hard to find titles.
  5. River Smallies by Dan Gapen
    This book is a must have for anyone who wants to become a successful river smallie fisherman. The diagrams of how fish relate to current are the easiest to understand of any book I have read so far. The text while a little "old school" is solid. One of the best books ever written on the subject by one of the best river-rats. Whitewater Publications Inc. 1690 20th Avenue Becker Minnesota 55308
  6. River Fishing: A Happy World by Dan Gapen
    This is a good book to read on a chilly evening with a cup of tea in front of the fire. It is about a variety of river species and is definitely "old school". You will learn something while being entertained. Available from Whitewater Publications--address above in #5
  7. Pursuing River Smallmouth by Ken Penrod
    This book is written by a well known guide from out east and is written from that perspective. There is a lot of information that is useful to the Midwestern angler to be gleaned from it's pages. PBC Publications-Len Penrod 4708 Sellman Road Beltsville Maryland 20705
  8. Stream Smallmouth Fishing by Tim Holschlag
    This book was written for the small stream enthusiast. While I don't agree with his position on using lighter tackle, it does have solid advice on fish locations and presentations. This book is supposed to be out of print, I got a copy thru River Smallies book store. I would guess abebooks.com to be another option as well as the library.
  9. How to Find Fish and Make Them Strike by Joseph D. Bates Jr.
    If you are going to hunt for books this one is worth the search. My copy was printed in 1974 by the Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines Inc. Outdoor Life/Harper and Row. I have heard the North American Fishing Club has reprinted this book. This is one book that will never leave my possession, the book that helped me become successful in fishing current. The author has taken a series of pictures of actual current situations and superimposed fish figures on the actual locations the fish would use. Under each picture is 2 to 3 paragraphs explaining what it is, why the fish are there and how to get them. Although this book is heavily slanted toward trout and fly fishing, it was so well done that I learned a lot in my earlier days
  10. Smallmouth Strategies for the Fly Rod by Will Ryan
    This book will benefit the long rod contingent more that the spin fisherman. I don't fly fish and thus am not qualified to judge his knowledge of fly fishing techniques. I will say his knowledge of smallmouth bass is very solid and it's worth reading. I got the book from the library but it should be available at either online or brick and mortar bookstores.
  11. Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass by Harry Murray, Illustrated by Dave Whitlock
    This is a book that will benefit smallmouth fisherman of any persuasion. The text is very well written and the illustrations are nothing short of superb. They combine to do a masterful job of explaining how the smallmouth relate to current and how to fish for them. I'll let you smallie guys who have never read any fly fishing books in on a little secret. these guys know current. If you stop and thing about it using a Clouser Minnow on a sinking line isn't all that different from fishing a jig. You still have to know how much to lead your target by to get the lure in the fishes zone of awareness. I got it from the library, try your favorite bookstore.
  12. The Orvis Guide to Reading Trout Streams by Tom Rosenbauer
    This is a relatively new book and I've seen it lately on the shelf at Barnes and Nobles. I thought enough of it to buy it which should speak for itself. The pictures and diagrams are well done and help to teach how to read water. The text obviously is "trout" but with some "smallie translation" will be able to help with understanding current. It is well written and easy to understand.
  13. Tactics on Trout by Ray Ovington
    This is also a trout book and it has a heavy slant toward fly-fishing eastern rivers. The text is very "old school" but informative. With a little smallie translation it is a very helpful guide as to where fish position themselves in current and how to position yourself to fish those locations effectively. This book contains very nice diagrams on how fish relate to current. This book will probably help the angler with some experience more that it will a newbie. It was printed in 1969 by Alford A Knopf and I believe it's out of print. It's worth the search though.


  1. Dan Gapen’s Confessions of a River-rat Volumes 1 & 2.
    These two videos are all about fishing rivers and dealing with current. They are not strictly smallies but cover a wide variety of species. I liked them enough to have watched them several times. I got them through interlibrary loan, but you should be able to get them from Whitewater Publications. The address is available under book listing #5.
  2. Float Fishing Flowing Waters, by Mick Thill.
    This video covers the art if using a float on any sized stream. Mick learned the art of float fishing while competing in and winning international match fishing competitions in Europe. If you want to learn the best way to present a bait to fish while fishing rivers this it the best video out there. It came out in the early 90's through Lindy-Little Joe.
  3. Smallmouth Secrets and Strike zone Smallmouth by the In-Fisherman staff.
    These two are good videos to watch to pick up on a variety of ways to catch smallmouth bass. They contain information on lakes, reservoirs, and rivers; and are worth the watch. You can get them form the In-Fisherman guys, but they may only be available on DVD now.
  4. Stalking River Smallmouth by the In-Fisherman staff.
    I saved the best for last. I believe this is the best video ever made on catching smallmouth bass in rivers. It takes you through a seasonal progression on locations and techniques. My personal favorite is Dan Sura, Fishing Lifts in the Summer- also, at In-Fisherman.
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