A simple jighead and live bait works very well for smallmouth bass. A jig & minnow, jig & nightcrawler and a jig & leech will all do well when fishing for smallmouth bass. A variety of soft plastics will also work very well on a jighead. Grubs, worms, crayfish, swimbaits and many other types of soft plastics will all work well with a jighead. You can hop your baits along the bottom, vertical jig with them or swim them at various depths throughout the water column.
A simple jighead and lively minnow, nightcrawler or leech is one of the easiest ways to catch smallmouth bass. Fish them shallow or deep all season long and you’ll catch a lot of smallmouth bass.
Jigheads & Soft Plastics
Most finesse-sized soft plastics work well on a regular jighead. Smaller crayfish baits, creature baits, finesse worms and grubs look great on these smaller jigheads.
Longer Shank Jigheads
The longer shank jigheads work great with the bigger soft plastic baits that anglers typically use for smallmouth bass. Many of these baits wouldn’t be considered big for largemouth bass, so we’re not talking huge soft baits, but the typical 4.5 to 5″ crayfish baits, 5 inch swimbaits and basically any other soft plastic that has a decent thickness to it that is 4.5″ long or longer. Smallmouth bass are notorious for hitting the back of a bait if you are swimming it or crawling it slowly along the bottom. By having the point of the hook positioned farther back in the bait, you are going to catch a lot more fish.
Weedless jigs are a great way to target smallmouth bass with live baits and soft plastics around weeds and wood. On many lakes, the rocks are going to hold the majority of the smallmouth bass and you won’t need to use weedless jigs. On some bodies of water though, there are good numbers of smallmouth bass that will be holding around wood and weeds and a weedless jig will be key to catching more bass.
Rattling jigheads work great for smallmouth bass. Many anglers decide to pass on these jigheads because jigs are so easy to lose in the rocks when fishing for smallmouth bass and it can get add up in a hurry when you’re losing jigs that cost a good amount more than the regular jigs. However, the rattles are great for attracting smallmouth bass to your bait. Rig your favorite soft plastic baits on these jigheads and you’ll love the additional fish that you catch because of the rattles.