Smallmouth bass are hard-fighting, freshwater fish prized by anglers across the central United States. Smallmouth differ from their larger-jawed relatives more than just physically. Their differing feeding habits put them in a different location than their cousins, and anglers who want these brown and tan trophies will need to know where to look, how to fish those locations and what lures best work in those locales.
Look for smallmouth bass where there favorite food hide
Location, Location, Location
Unlike largemouth bass, which like to congregate in weeds during the warmer parts of the day and along sandy areas near the shore during cooler periods, smallmouth go deeper. They look for food along rocky ledges and drop-offs where crayfish and larger bait fish hide from predators. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Biology Department, smallmouth prefer clear water, and, “…a frequent succession of riffles, runs, and pools is an indicator of a good smallmouth site.”
Increase your Strikes with Crankbaits
Using a crankbait may increase your chances in shallower waters, because the lure bouncing off the bottom of the bed mimics the action of crayfish, one of the smallmouth’s natural foods. Increase the deflection of your bait by purchasing crankbait with a square bill–the more it deflects, or bounces off the bottom, the more lively it will look.
If the water is clear, select colors that look more like a crayfish, such as greens and browns. If you are fishing in murky water, use an orange or red lure which will provide more contrast and be more visible to the fish.
Choose the Right Fishing Line
Use a monofilament line if you are using crankbaits. Because crankbaits can temporarily hang up on the bottom rocks, you’ll want a more elastic line that will give a bit. Once the crankbait unlodges itself, you’ll have the added benefit of the elastic line jerking to make the bait look more lively.
Know Smallmouth Bass Traits
Smallmouth tend to school according to size, so if you start out catching small fish, you may want to move to another area or you’ll likely keep catching smaller fish. Smallmouth also spook easily, so talking, a radio, noise in the boat or paddling may scare the fish away from your boat or your on-shore location.