Dead sticking is a do-nothing technique where you don’t move your bait. There are some good baits to use this technique with. For most baits, a slight pause would definitely help you get more bites, but don’t think of a slight pause as a dead sticking technique. For the dead sticking technique, we are talking about casting your bait out and doing nothing for like 20 to 30 seconds. Some anglers dead stick their bait for even longer.
For this technique to be an effective way to fish for smallmouth bass, you really have to pick your spots and those spots are going to be more limited than if you were fishing for largemouth bass. The main reason why is because you can easily fish to cover and find so many spots that should hold largemouth bass. For smallmouth bass, it is not so easy with them roaming like crazy and being found in deeper water throughout most of the open water season. However, when they are stacked on a drop-0ff or all along the shallows around cover or during the spawn time, you can some smaller windows where this can be effective.
Best Situations for Dead Sticking Smallmouth Bass
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.
Dead Sticking During the Spawn
This can be super effective if you can get the right bait right on the bed.
Dead Sticking in Deep Water When They are Schooled Up
In deeper water, if you can find a school of smallmouth bass, find your favorite free falling bait and just let it sink slowly. Some baits fall faster than others, so you have to make sure the rate of the fall of your bait matches the depths you are fishing. For example, if you are fishing 20 feet of water and you have a wacky worm that sinks about a foot per second, this could be a great bait to dead stick.
If you threw a skirted twin tail grub weightless, it might take a few minutes to reach the bottom and this may not be an effective way to fish.
The free falling baits do work in deeper water because the baits look great fished this way and they don’t see too many baits like this because most anglers don’t dead stick for smallies in deeper water.
Dead Sticking with a Shaky Head Jig
Shaky head jigs 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.
Best Baits for Dead Sticking Smallmouth Bass
Dead Sticking with a Wacky Worm
Wacky worms are the ultimate do nothing baits. Flip it in a spot where bass can be found and then literally do nothing and you will get plenty of bites.
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.
Dead Sticking with Cabin Creek Spider Parts
The spider parts from Cabin Creek are awesome baits for dead sticking. Cast them out and let them free fall. Wait a couple minutes, then repeat.
Dead Sticking with a Cabin Creek Express Craw
This crayfish bait looks great as it sits on the bottom. The bait sits up off the bottom, which draws some fish in for a closer look. Let it sit for a minute and repeat the process.