Let 'em Go, Let 'em Grow | Hooked On Wild Waters


It takes 7 years or more for an Ozark’s Smallmouth to reach 12 - 15 inches. “If we can educate people on how long it takes the fish to get that big, we might be able to change some minds about keeping them.” - Ryan Walker, founder of Ozark Smallmouth Alliance

Drew Gregory heads out on a 6 mile float through the beautiful Ozarks of Missouri for the season finale of Hooked On Wild Waters.

At the start of the trip Drew snags a largemouth that jumps like a smallmouth. “Its those feisty little river fish, living on a treadmill. Not the fat lazy guy eating Frito Lays on his couch, they’re the guy at the gym working out hard everyday.”

Scenes like this are exactly why we love Hooked On Wild Waters. Drew likes to say, he “isn’t always in search of the biggest fish, but the biggest adventure!”

Down the river Drew catches a nice, healthy smallmouth in a little cut, off to the side, that most fisherman may have passed. “It would have been tempting to go down to the swifter water, but don’t forget where the swifter water starts, you want to fish about 30 yards before that because the water actually starts to move a little quicker there and that’s where they want to hang out.”

New to kayak fishing? You’re not alone. In this episode, Drew fishes with Scott Ellison, National Youth Director for FLW Fishing. Scott is an avid fisher, but this is his first time fishing from a kayak. Drew tells beginners, even Scott, not to worry about anchoring or using a paddle pole to begin with but to first learn to simply kayak.

Hooked On Wild Waters S4:E6 - “Kayak Fishing For Ozark's Bronzebacks”

Towards the end of the float, Drew comes up on a “special spot.” The river here is chocked full of trees, structure that the fish love. It’s the right depth (3-6 ft), and a has good, swift moving current. If there was ever a spot to catch a big fish - it’s gonna be here. 

Sure enough, Scott catches the best fish of the trip, a monster 18” smallmouth bass to close out an impressive day in the Ozarks and another great season of Hooked On Wild Waters.