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Smallmouth bass have much smaller mouths than largemouth bass. Because of this, the top smallmouth bass anglers realize that they must downsize their baits to consistently catch smallmouth bass. Even the biggest smallmouth bass will still eat smaller baits such as 2 to 3.5 inch crayfish, finesse-style worms, smaller crankbaits, swimbaits, etc. You can still catch plenty of big smallmouth bass with bigger baits too. Using 4 to 5 inch chubs on a big smallmouth bass water will usually get bit by bass in the 3 to 5 pound range and maybe even bigger.
Some of the bigger spinnerbaits, jigs and swimbaits will get bit too, but the problem with the bigger artificial baits is that you’ll get plenty of short strikes. Some of those short strikes that may feel like a smaller bass that can’t quite grab your bait could end up being a trophy-sized smallmouth bass. The more you use the bigger baits, the more short strikes you’ll get. The smaller baits result in much higher hook-setting percentage which results in more fish in the boat.
Take a look at the video below to see a very big smallmouth bass that misses my small finesse worm the first time and then comes back to eat it. By downsizing your baits, you won’t miss as many fish like this when you’re on the water.