Guide Ed Keller
Location: Susquehanna/Potomac River, Maryland
Credentials: A former Redman Tournament Circuit pro, Keller now focuses his angling efforts into putting customers on up to 40 smallmouth a day, many of them weighing four pounds or better.
Number of years guiding: 9
Contact: (301) 582-9404; potomacguides.com
Favorite Spinnerbait: Strike King Premier Pro Model
Color: White/Gold Blades
Weight: 3/8 oz.
Details: “The water in our rivers can be off-color depending on time of year and run-off. Gold shows up much better in those conditions, and double willow blades produce more vibration. I’ve found that a slower retrieve produces well in my area. You do have to keep the blades turning, but bumping the bottom on the occasion is not a bad thing. I’ll use this retrieve when we’re fishing around grass points in four to five feet of water.”
Favorite Crankbait: Rebel Wee-Crawfish
Color: Green Crawfish
Size: 2 in.
Weight: 1/5 oz.
Details: “Crayfish are the main forage of our smallmouth. This lure has a wide wobble that triggers more strikes than any other imitation I’ve found. Because of the odd profile of this crankbait, you need to get the retrieve just right. I try to reel just fast enough to get the rod tip tapping slightly. Pull them too fast and all they do is roll.”
Favorite Soft Plastic: Yamamoto Senko
Size: 4 in.
Details: “Senkos are great during the post-spawn when bass are guarding the fry. The watermelon color has great visibility, and fish hit it defensively as it falls. I rig a Senko Texas-style with no weight. I prefer a 2/0 or 3/0 wide-gap hook. You want them to fall in a nice level position. They look the most natural that way. A bait falling nose-down just doesn’t look right.”
Favorite Jig: Rite Bite Tube
Color: Green Pumpkin/Purple Flake
Size: 3 ½ in.
Weight: 1/8 oz jighead.
Details: “These tubes are heavily salt-impregnated, which I think causes fish to hang on longer when they strike. The plastic material is also thicker in this bait then many other, which makes them more durable. I use a 1/8-ounce jighead with a tube 80% of the time. If you’re targeting suspending smallmouth, they won’t usually dive to chase a jig that comes whizzing past them. One-quarter-ounce jigs fall too fast, but 1/8-ounce is just right in most cases.”