When I say drifting I do not mean a big red bobber and one giant split shot with a glob of worms. you know, like in any advertisement that was made by a guy that does not know how to fish, I personally like the pics with a bobber with a big lure tied under it!
What I do use is premium balsa floats. What many anglers do not know is the power of having the right float. In drifting rivers this means either spring floats or rubber mounted steel-head floats. These floats are design to cut through the water not be pushed around by it. In the case of raven floats they make them for every depth and current speed. Many floats have to be balanced just right with the right amount of shot. The shot should be in a shotting pattern(there are a few different patterns but the pattern in the picture below will work in most situations) this will present your offering naturally and the right depth.
A longer rod is a necessity because when you are not drifting straight down stream you will be fishing parallel to the shore. Having a long rod will let you hold your line up and prevent current drag. It will take some practice to learn how to properly maintain your line, especially in faster current. In certain situations a steel-heading float rod is perfect for keeping your presentation next to bridge pilings and hugging walls. These rods are 9-13 feet long. With that length you can keep you line up and out of the water and current drag will be a thing of the past.
Bait: I use large fathead minnows, leeches that are hooked once just under the sucker and crawlers. The best way I have found to use crawlers is to break them in half. Use the top half first. I am not sure why but the top section works better and stays on longer. If you bunch the worm up the bronze backs will ignore it. So nose hook the little jerk. Once in and once out that's it. Fishing a whole crawler leaves you open for tale robbers and you don't want that.
I use premium octopus hooks sizes 4 and 6. Raven makes a nice one called the specialist hook.
I love lures too but having all your options set will make your chance for success double!
Time and time again a guy will be fishing artificial baits and get one or two then tell me its slow. I then go through the same water and catch 1-4 more fish at times. Plus, the drifting technique opens you to a world of species. Imagine going to the fox and catching 7 or 8 species in one outing! So if you want to increase your small mouth success dip into the science of drifting.