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Sandbag (Slinky) Drift Rigs For Smallmouth Bass

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5 LB 4 OZ NIAGARA RIVER SMALLIEPre-Rigging about a dozen bait leaders in various lengths from 2 to 6 feet would be the most feasible option when preparing for any condition you encounter on the water, the night before your smallie trip. I’ll usually rig four rods rigged with variable leader lengths for different situations I expect to encounter on the water.

When fishing big water such as Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, The St Lawrence or Niagara River systems, drift speed and wind conditions, along with smallmouth locations and position in the water column, all must be evaluated for correct determination of leader length. Here again, the three foot leader is usually your best starting option when fishing live shiners, chubs, and various other minnow forage options, and the 2 foot leader gets the nod for craw presentations and other plastic bait imitators that would hold closer to bottom.

On a calm day, with a slow current or slower drift speed and when targeting off shore humps, shoal ledge areas, and rock piles or boulder strewn reef areas, a three foot leader would again be my starting point for drifting craws. My reason for this choice in this particular scenario would be allowing my sandbag weight to ride up and over the steeper structures and allow the trailing craw more visibility and a longer view to smallies with a slower speed working over these particular types of structures.

During rough water conditions a sea bag or { Drift Sock } may be used to slow drift speeds for a more precise presentation. The combination of the sea bag or sea anchor may be used along with a combination of transom and bow mount trolling motors to zone in on exact presentation speed needed will enhance your drift and precise presentations on big water applications.

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