3 Baits for Smallmouth Bass

3 baits for smallmouth bass


I can remember as a boy wading creeks and streams in search of smallmouth bass. There is no better fighter on the end of your line than the acrobatic smallmouth bass. I have often referred to the smallmouth bass as the poor mans trout and the beauty of a bronzeback is unmatched to me. There are many ways to catch smallmouth and listed here are 3 baits for smallmouth bass.

Small Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

There is nothing more fun than to put on an old pair of sneakers and shorts and wade one of the many creeks or small streams. One of the best lures to catch smallmouth bass in these small waters is a crankbait. There are many crankbaits to choose from, but my favorite is the new DT series by Rapala. The Rapala DT Series is the perfect crankbait for small streams and creeks and with the sure-set style hooks can handle those occasional four pounders you might run into. Crawdad patterns seem to work really well in creeks and streams but sometimes a sunfish pattern is the ticket.

When fishing creeks and streams I like to throw my small crankbaits with a spinning outfit. A small spinning reel with 6-8 pound test line works great. Another good line choice is 10 pound braid because with 4 pound test diameter and less memory you can cast your crankbait a mile. Braid also stands up well to all the trees and rocks where the smallmouth bass love to hang out. I like a six-foot rod, or even shorter when the creek or stream has a lot of trees along its bank. The shorter rod allows for precise placement of your bait underneath those trees and that is where the bass like to hang.

Float And Fly Smallmouth Bass

Many bass anglers target largemouth Bass because there are more of them and they tend to be a little easier to catch as they stick to the more visible cover. However, when one of these anglers hook into a smallmouth they vow to catch more of them someday. Very few bass anglers can truly be labeled strictly a smallmouth bass angler. However, there are some who have taken the practice of catching these ghosts of the deep to a whole new level.

A technique created to catch big smallmouth bass is the float and fly technique. The fly used in this technique is actually a lead-head jig tied like a fly. The longtime traditional materials for the smallmouth fly or hair jig is deer hair or squirrel hair. Today there are many synthetic materials that make great flies for the float-n-fly rig. Colors range from natural to bright depending on the clarity of water and whether it is sunny or overcast. Natural colors in clear water and bright colors in dingy or muddy water.

The slip-bobber has become more popular in recent years and makes it easier to cast to smallmouth bass. The float and fly rig is usually used when the water is cold and the smallmouth bass are a little sluggish and deep. The float should be between 9 to 12 feet above the fly and worked super slow. The hair on the fly will pulsate with very little current and pauses of 30 seconds or more are not uncommon. Smallmouth bass will usually strike just after the twitch, but the pause is important to get the cold water smallmouth bass to commit to your presentation.

Floating Rapala For Smallmouth Bass

The Rapala Original Floater has been bringing smallmouths to the boat for many years. Probably the most over-looked presentation is the original floating Rapala. The smallmouth just can’t resist it. When they refuse to hit anything else, you can usually coax some up this way. I have caught smallmouth bass with the floating Rapala on top when the water temperature is in the 40’s. The trick is to convince the smallmouth below that there is a dying shad struggling to swim. Shad can’t tolerate cold water. Weaker shad will begin to die when the water temps reach the low 40’s. Bass are cold blooded.  won’t expend the energy needed to chase baitfish when the water is cold. A seemingly dying or injured baitfish will trigger a smallmouth to move up and take the easy meal. Sometimes it will come from 20 or more feet.

The way to fool these smallmouth bass is to cast your floating Rapala close to a deep shoreline. Let it sit initially for several seconds, then twitch. A couple quick snaps with slack line is enough to entice a bite. Let the Rapala sit several more seconds and repeat. This technique allows the bait to stay over the fish longer. It convinces them that the dying shad isn’t going anywhere fast. Oftentimes it’s an explosive strike. Be prepared for the strike, it is surprising. Don’t set the hook too quickly or you’ll pull the lure out of its mouth. Give the fish a second to get the bait and your hook-up success will go up.

Catch Suspended Bass

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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