Split Shot Rig

The Split Shot Rig is a very popular rig that works well with live bait and soft plastics in shallow and deeper water.  Smallmouth bass anglers have so many options when they dig into their tackle box because the split shot rig works so well with so many different baits.  Anglers can target smallmouth bass with live baits such as nightcrawlers, shiners, fathead minnows, chubs and leeches.  Soft plastics such as plastic worms, plastic lizards, plastic grubs, plastic tubes & crayfish are all very productive on this rig as well.

Best Live Baits on a Split Shot Rig for Smallmouth Bass


Nightcrawlers are very effective on a split shot rig.  Fish them shallow or deeper for suspended bass and you’ll have a lot of success.


Lively leeches look so good on a split shot rig.  Target smallmouth bass in the shallows or suspended in deeper water and you’ll get plenty of bites.


Minnows are another good choice on a split shot rig.  Shallow or deeper, you put a lot of smallmouth bass in the boat with this setup.

Split Shot Rig & Soft Plastics for Smallmouth Bass

Finesse Worms

It’s tough to beat a finesse worm on a split shot rig when smallies are in shallow or medium depths.

Minnow Baits

Tie on your favorite 3 to 5 inch minnow bait and rig it on a split shot rig for targeting smallmouth bass in the shallows or for suspended bass over deeper water.

Curly Tail Worms

Curly tail worms look great on a split shot rig.

Skirted Twin Tail Grubs

These baits look very good with a small split shot weight.

Wacky Worms

Wacky worms work well on a split shot rig.  It’s actually one of the more effective ways to fish these baits for smallmouth bass.  The extra weight helps you get the baits down deep enough to attract some bites.