Dead sticking is a do-nothing technique where you don’t move your bait. Cast your bait out, let it sit and wait. It is that simple and it does seem like it may not be productive, but in the right situation, it can be extremely productive at catching smallmouth bass.
Deep Water Dead Sticking
In deeper water, you can literally drop a bait down and just let it sit there and catch bass. Whether you are fishing for bass around the bottom or up higher in the water column, it can be super effective in the summer and fall over deeper water. Targeting suspended bass in deeper water is probably the best way to catch smallmouth bass by dead sticking.
Chunk worms are awesome over deeper water. They will work better for suspended bass, but they will catch fish on the bottom or just off the bottom as well.
Finesse worms will catch a lot of bass with the dead sticking technique. Suspended bass have a hard time passing these baits up.
Wacky worms are a bigger profile than the finesse worms and chunk worms, so many anglers will use these bigger worms to try and target a better quality bass. Depending on the bit, you might need to play with where you hook these worms. When the bite is going good, you can hook it in the head of the worm, which will result in you losing a lot less worms compared to the wacky rig.
When smallmouth bass suspend over deeper water, they will usually be feeding on baitfish when they do go on the feed. If you can match a minnow bait to a similar size and/or color to what they are actually feeding on, you can catch a lot of bass. If you aren’t sure what the baitfish are in your particular lake that you are fishing, don’t stress out about it too much and just try using minnows in the 3 to 4 inch range and you’ll get some bites.
Dead Sticking With Gulp Baits
Gulp baits work awesome with this dead sticking technique. Because of the scent and the softness of these baits, they are perfect for dead sticking. Get them to the right depth in the right area and you’ll catch plenty of smallmouth bass by dead sticking in deeper water.
Dead Sticking in High Percentage Spots
Using a scented bait or very good free falling bait, you can flip out your bait and just wait. Let it sit for up to a couple minutes and then try the next productive spot. You will catch some bass with this technique, but it does take a lot of patience.
Dead Sticking During the Spawn
This can be super effective if you can get the right bait right on the bed.
Dead Sticking with a Stand Up Jighead
Stand up jigheads will help position the bait up off the bottom. Get a realistic looking bait and load it up with scent. Cast it into a fish-holding spot and just let it sit there. You’ll get some bites for sure. With it be fast and furious, probably not. However, this is a way to tempt some of those finicky bass that don’t want to chase a bait.
Dead Sticking with a Wacky Worm
Wacky worms are the ultimate do nothing baits. You can flip it in a spot where bass can be found and then literally do nothing and you will get plenty of bites. You will get bites as it falls to the bottom, however, you will also catch smallmouth bass by just letting it come to rest on the bottom. The wacky worms that are loaded up with salt or garlic will help you get more bites when using this technique.
Dead Sticking with a Soft Plastic Lizard
Some soft plastic lizards look great on a free fall and will also get bit while sitting on the bottom. Lizards with salt and/or garlic will get more bites when using this technique.