Smallmouth Bass on "The Loop" - Umpqua River at it's best!

Posted by Jeff Warner on 4/28/2022
Smallmouth Bass on
Originally posted 8-19-14
Updated 4-28-22

We put the boat in at 8 am, typical for chasing smallies in the summer time. We were going to be fishing on the famous "Loop" of the Umpqua River going from private boat ramp to private boat ramp. Todd Harrington, Fishing Guide at Living Waters Guide Service in Elkton, Oregon was my guide for the day. I had no idea what to expect on this trip, I just knew that it was 18 miles of mostly private smallmouth bass paradise. There are approximately 4000 smallmouth bass per mile on this part of the river with pretty much no other anglers in sight. In fact, we didn't see anyone until we were taking the boat out at the end of the day. Try finding those circumstances anywhere else on the Umpqua River.

I had several new XFactor Tackle Bass baits to test out and this was just the place for testing. Not only is "The Loop" an incredible place, Todd Harrington is the man on that stretch of river. Todd has been guiding clients on "The Loop" for over 20 years. To say he can "put you on the fish" is an understatement. 

I got bit on the first cast while testing out the new XFactor Tackle Bass Slayer Worms in Mudd Green. It was a little guy that I quickly let loose in search of something bigger. We continued getting bit pretty much every cast. As the day unfolded and the sun warmed things up the fish began to get more active with the average fish coming in the 1.5 - 2lb range. These fish fight harder then your typical lake dwelling smallmouth, often fooling an untrained angler into thinking he has a much bigger fish than he really does. 

The picture below isn't the greatest of pics, that's because it was almost an afterthought. After catching multiple fish in this size I made a last minute request for Todd to grab his camera so I could show off the quality of these "average" fish.

I honestly lost count on the amount of fish that Todd and I caught, it was that good. I've been fishing the Umpqua River for smallmouth for several years and I've had many good days, even catching some 5 pounders from the bank. Not bad, right? Sorry, but those trips are no comparison to this one. The Loop is superior not only in abundance of fish but also in size. With fishing like that, one may think it's like feeding fish at the hatchery, but it's just not that easy. There were several stretches of river that looked prime to me. Todd's reply? "This is dead water," and  "only a few fish in this stretch" he said. "Just wait." This is where having a guy that REALLY knows the river is key. You could spend hours fishing from your raft or pontoon in that seemingly "prime" looking water and you would catch some fish, but nothing compared to what we were headed for. Todd's insight to move on proved to be solid. As I waited patiently while we drifted to a more productive stretch of river, we found more fish and BIGGER fish. Check out this beauty below:

This big bruiser fell victim to a wacky rigged 6" Green Pumpkin Bass Slayer. This setup proved to be by far the most productive. We tested a new Teaser Minnow, creature baits and the 4" Bass Slayers in a variety of colors. All the baits caught fish but the 6" Bass Slayer stole the day, catching the most fish overall (size and quantity). We also learned that those big smallmouth hold onto those baits for a very long time (just like your favorite senko), allowing even the unskilled angler to get a solid hook set. These baits are soft and LOADED with scent, a combination that bass simply can't resist.  What's more? These baits take repeated abuse catching multiple big fish on a single bait. At one point I caught no less then 20 fish on one worm. Later in the day I hooked and lost a fish only to see that same fish turn and bite again. You think he wanted that worm?

At the end of the day there are 2 things I am convinced of:

1: Fishing "The Loop" should be on every anglers bucket list. Fishing guide Todd Harrington has spent over 2 decades getting to know every detail about this stretch of river. If you want to truly see and experience this world class secluded destination Todd is the guy to take you out.

2: The 6" Bass Slayer is by far the most effective Finesse / Shakey Head / Wacky Worm we have ever produced. If you are a serious bass fisherman, you really need to grab a few bags of these baits and try them for yourself. 

I'm sure some will read point 2 and think "manufacturer bias". As a bait manufacturer we can't afford to waste our time with baits that don't work. Some baits didn't perform as well on the trip, those aren't mentioned because they will either be re-designed or scrapped all together.

To book a trip with Todd Harrington call 541-430-1736 or visit: tell him Jeff from XFactor Tackle sent you.

God Bless and thanks for reading,

Jeff Warner
XFactor Tackle

PS: Update 4-28-22 
It's been almost 8 years since this trip / post. In that time I've caught  plenty more Smallmouth Bass on the Umpqua River and I must say.....everything in this article still holds true, BUT, the effectiveness of our Teaser Minnows can't be overstated. I've caught many, many trophy smallmouth on those baits too. Be sure to grab some of those as well.

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Jim Brown
Date: 7/15/2015
I'm going to fish the Umqua for small mouth in early August. I'm going to buy some 6 inch bass slayers for the trip. What size hook do you recommend I buy for the worms? Do you use them with no weight or do you put split shot on? What pound line do you use? Thanks for info. Jim
Jeff Warner
Date: 7/16/2015
Hey Jim, Thank you for your interest in our baits! Fishing on the Umpqua is EXCELLENT, you'll have a great time for sure. What stretch are you fishing? Also, are you going to be in a boat or on the bank? Since this post I've fished the Umpqua many many times and have found a few other techniques that are deadly, especially in a boat (I guess I need to write another blog post). Our 4" Bass Slayers in Pearl White have been deadly this year, fished as a top water bait (dragging it behind the boat in shallow water) and on a jig head. Also, our 2.75" Teaser Minnow's in Pearl White, Shad, Smoke w/ Red and Black flake, Green Pumpkin Smoke and Baby Perch have all been really effective. We fish the Teaser Minnow on either a 1/16 oz jig or a 1/8oz jig with a 1/0 hook, depending on water flow. Check out this video from one of our recent trips: To answer your question, I fish those worms wacky rigged on a jig head with the hook closer to the head, not in the middle. The deal with that worm is you want it right on the bottom of the river and fast, not a slow fluttering action as it falls. I use a 1/4 oz jig, sometimes an 1/8 oz if the water is really low. The best thing for you to do would be to call and order by phone, that way I can give you more detail on where and how to fish these baits. We have all the jigs in stock at a really good price (they're not on our site right now). Thanks again for your interest, I look forward to helping you plan your trip. God Bless, Jeff Warner XFactor Tackle 541-508-FISH (3474)

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