Smallmouth bass love leeches.  Anglers catch tons of smallmouth bass every year shallow and deep from spring through fall on leeches.  As the water warms above 50 degrees, leeches tend to swim much better.  A lively leech is just asking to get eaten.  Some of the top smallmouth bass anglers learned that the regular-sized leeches tend to catch more fish and they catch big fish as well.  With the jumbo leeches, you may catch some nice bass, but the amount of bites tends to be less than with the normal-sized leeches.  It’s a good idea to have both sizes in the boat, but don’t be set on the bigger baits because you think you’re going to catch bigger fish.  With smallmouth bass, that can backfire on you at times.

Best Leech Rigs for Smallies

Bobber / Slip Bobber

A well placed leech under a bobber or slip bobber is one of the better ways to target smallmouth bass that are suspended in the water column.

Carolina Rig

This rig is a great live bait rig.  Most anglers use the Carolina rig when fishing deeper water.

Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot rig is an awesome way to fish a lively leech.  Fish it shallow, deep, in open water or around cover and you can have a lot of success.


A simple jighead and leech is one of the easiest ways to target smallmouth bass.  Fish it around the rocky cover that smallmouth bass love and you will catch some bass.

Split Shot Rig

The split shot rig is a great rig when you just need a little extra weight to get your leech down farther through the water column.  Most anglers use this rig when the bass are shallow and it can be super effective.