If you want to consistently catch smallmouth bass, you need to learn how to fish deeper water. Yes, you can catch plenty of smallmouth bass in shallow water as they move into the shallows for the spawn in the spring, but for the most part, the bigger numbers of smallmouth bass and the biggest fish will almost always be in deeper water throughout the fishing season, especially during the summer and fall. In clear water, you may be fishing anywhere from 8 to 30 feet deep of water and it is not uncommon to find smallmouth bass suspended over even deeper water. In darker water, smallmouth bass tend to be shallower, although, they can still be found very deep. 8 to 20 feet of water will hold a lot of smallmouth bass in darker water.
Best Tips for Catching Smallmouth Bass in Deep Water
Get Right on the Drop-off
Whether you are fishing a deep water shoreline or offshore structure, a lot of smallmouth bass are going to be right on the drop-off. So, when the water breaks sharply from the shallows to the deep, this is the area you want to spend more time on while fishing deep water. Keep your baits in these strike zones longer and you’ll catch more fish.
Go Vertical with a Drop Shot Rig
Learn how to fish deep water structure vertically with a drop shot rig and you will catch way more smallmouth bass. It is arguably the best way to fish deep water for smallmouth bass. Find the structure, drop your favorite bait down, give it a few twitches and hang on.
Use Heavier Weights
This is easy. Use heavier jigheads, heavier drop shot weights, heavier swimbait hooks. You have to get down to the appropriate depth quickly or you aren’t going to catch many fish.
Slow Troll Deep Water Drop-offs
Use your trolling motor and your favorite bottom rig to slow troll the deep water drop-offs. You need to cover a little bit of water, but make sure you are going slow enough so you are still staying close to vertical with your presentation. Once you find the hot spot, stop trolling and pick off several more bass in that spot. Smallmouth bass usually school up in deeper water, so this is a great technique to find bass. Once you find them, it’s time to stay there and just keep catching.
Smallmouth bass will often suspend above the bottom throughout the water column. From spring through fall, you can always find some bass suspended, however, catching these fish can be quite tricky at times and at other times, it may seem super easy. We have a bunch of tips for targeted suspended smallmouth bass.