"Crazy" Mike Neher (crazy for fishing but otherwise quite sane) is an Arkansas native grown up in the Ozark bass folkways, guiding and outfitting since he was a kid (870-453-8502; crazymikefishing.com). In the past, we had caught trout together on the White River tail¿¿water, where he often fishes. This time I pestered him into a Crooked Creek float. When I got to Mike's place in Flippin, Ark., we quickly loaded up his pickup truck and headed for the water. What I got in addition to a great time was a lesson in just how simple river smallmouth fishing can be. [pagebreak] Tempting Tubes
River bass feed primarily on crayfish and small baitfish, so a key is using a lure that imitates one or the other. Neher rigged my light spinning outfit with a dull-mustard, 3-inch soft-plastic tube on a 1⁄8-ounce leadhead jig. The secret, he explained, was to not really do anything, meaning I should just let the jig dead drift and tick bottom in the current. This makes the lure resemble a bottom-dwelling crayfish that has lost its grip and is being swept downstream.