Best Ways to Catch Smallmouth Bass

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Smallmouth bass aren’t too hard to catch once you understand how they operate.

Fish Deeper Than Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth bass almost always prefer deeper water than largemouth bass, so if you’re used to fishing in 4 to 8 feet of water for largemouth bass, try fishing 8 to 15 feet.  In most clear water lakes, plan on having the most success around drop-offs that drop anywhere from a couple feet deep to 30 plus feet.  The 14 to 25 foot range is almost always a good place to start.

Smallmouth Bass Love Rocks

Find the rocks and you’ll most likely find plenty of smallmouth bass to target.

Smallmouth Bass Love Crayfish

In those rocks that you’ll be fishing, plan on using some crayfish imitation baits because that is the main reason why smallmouth bass are there.  Smallies love eating crayfish in those rocky areas.  Tubes are one of the better baits to use for smallmouth bass.

Smallmouth Bass Move A Lot – Cover Some Water

Don’t get locked into certain areas that held fish one day, because there’s a good chance the school of smallies moved.  Smallmouth bass move a lot.  If you don’t know how to bounce from spot to spot until you find them, your odds of catching big numbers of them go way down.

When fishing the rocky shorelines or large flats where smallies can often be found, you’re going to need to cover some water.  Try swimming curly tail grubs, ringworms, small swimbaits and other types of swimming worms to cover more water and find active fish.  Find a school and you may catch them in bunches.

In Clear Water, Finesse It Up

Smallmouth bass are found in some really clear water lakes.  Try using lighter line and consider fluorocarbon line or at least a leader.  Using 6 pound fluorocarbon line will help you get a lot more bites.  Just match it with a light rod and a spinning reel so you can cast farther and avoid snapping a line on a bigger fish.  Let them run if you get a big one.  They most likely will once they see the boat.

More Clear Water Tips

In Dark Water, Make Some Noise

Smallmouth bass relate to noise really well.  Crankbaits that rattle are a great way to catch them in murky water.  Rattling jigs are also very productive and topwater can be great at times too.

> More Dark Water Tips

Live Bait is Really, Really Tough To Beat

Smallmouth bass can easily be tempted to eat your live bait offering.  Whether it’s a live nightcrawler, lively leech or minnow, it doesn’t really matter most of the time. Smallmouth bass love live bait.


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