There is no doubt about it, fishing for smallmouth bass can be fun. However, it can also be difficult to not only locate them, but catch them, especially when fishing lakes. For that reason, this post will offer some helpful tips for finding and catching smallmouth bass.
How to catch smallmouth bass in lakes
Unlike largemouth which tend to hang tight to cover, smallmouth bass are generally always on the move. However, they can be found. Here are some great spots to look and a few suggestions to put into practice when fishing on a new lake.
Start early. One of the best opportunities to catch smallmouth bass is early in the morning. Many like to come up and feed on baitfish in shallow waters. Spinnerbaits or shallow crankbaits are proven deadly this time of day.
Look for drop offs. Every lake has points that drop off- from shallow water to deep water- very quickly. If there are any smallmouth to be found, this is the place to find them. Smallmouth bass love sudden drop offs as it allows them to ambush anything that comes toward them.
Throw a crankbait in the shallow water and bring it towards the drop off, just like a baitfish would do and you might just catch yourself a giant smallmouth bass.
Go Deep. Smallmouth love deep waters. Some have been known to go as deep as 40 feet. To determine how far deep they are, you have to figure out what they are feeding on. Take note of what baitfish are in the area and how deep they tend to be. Once you find what they are feeding on and where they are located, you can count on some smallmouth bass being closely behind.
Look for change. Another thing to consider when trying to locate smallmouth bass is change. If the bottom of the lake is all rock, with a few sand spots, you will want to begin looking in these sandy areas. On the other hand, if the bottom is all sand, the rocky areas are where they are at.
Moving water. Who doesn’t like to be served a meal? Smallmouth bass love it too! Thus, another great place to find this group of bass hanging out is near any stretch of moving water. The moving currents helps to bring the food right to them.
Where you find one, you may find another. These fish tend to travel in schools. Hence, if you or your buddy catch a smallmouth, take a few minutes to fish the same area. Chances are you will catch another one close by.
What are the best lures for smallmouth bass?
Crankbaits. Whether you decide to fish for smallies with a lipless crankbait, squarebill crankbait or a deep diving crankbait, you will not be disappointed. Smallmouth bass love crankbaits and the variety of different crankbaits available really make it a valuable fishing lure to have in your tackle box.
When fishing shallow waters, throw a squarebill crankbait and work the bottom of the lake to generate a reaction strike. Lipless crankbaits work great as well, especially when fishing the grass. Lastly, when fishing deep water, supply your deep diving crankbait with something the smallmouth simply can’t resist!
Spinnerbaits. As we mentioned earlier, smallmouth bass can be difficult to locate at times. Spinnerbaits are great lures for covering a lot of water and locating bass. Remember, where you find one smallmouth bass, another may be very close. Throw a spinnerbait first thing in the morning, (when smallmouth bass tend to be in the shallower waters) you may be surprised with what you come up with.
Buzzbaits. When you notice that smallies are feeding on top of the water, buzzbaits are your go-to lures. Much like spinnerbaits, they work very well in helping to cover a lot of water. Also, if bass are anywhere in the vicinity, this will no doubt attract them because of the immense amount of vibrations they give off.
Fishing for smallmouth bass early in the spring can mean dirty, muddy water. For these conditions, you will need a lure that gives off lots of vibrations. Buzzbaits excel in these circumstances. They are also an excellent tool for night fishing as well.
Poppers. These lures can call smallmouth bass from a mile away. They are awesome fishing lures, not only for smallmouth bass, but largemouth bass as well. Just throw it in there and let it “pop”. Remember when fishing with poppers, bass will strike on the pause. Don’t let your guard down, they might strike when you least expect it!
Yes, fishing for smallmouth bass can be difficult. They are not the easiest fish to find. However, following the above tips can help you have a successful cast your first time on the lake.
How do you catch smallmouth bass in lakes? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.