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Top Smallmouth Baits

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Comment The Post Below...

Hello Anglers,

Casting past your target instead of at it will result in more 
strikes. When casting past structure the fish have time to 
identify presence of the lure before it is quickly wisked 
away never to be seen again.

Remember you can comment on any story or read comments   
by visiting: 
Bass Matters Blog

Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

Top Smallmouth Baits
From Extreme Bass Lures

There are certain circumstances when small lures are the 
only kind that will catch smallmouth bass. But that's also 
true of other species and their preferences in lures. For 
instance, walleye sometimes prefer an elongated plug, while 
at other times they prefer a short and stubby one. That 
would indicate the fish that select the long crankbait, a 
Bomber Long-A or a Rapala for instance, are feeding on long, 
thin baitfish such as smelt, perch or emerald shiners. The 
walleye that hit the stubbier lures, such as the Hot-N-Tot 
or Bagley DB2 and others, likely are eating shad, alewives, 
white perch or similarly shaped forage. 

To make a blanket statement about lures for smallmouth, or 
any other species for that matter, is not wise. That's like 
saying you cannot go wrong if you go to Lake Erie armed only 
with chartreuse weight-forward spinners. They might work 
many days, but what are you going to do on the days they 
don't? It's wiser, then, to follow the advice of another old 
fishing saying: Match the hatch. While that was meant to 
apply to fly fishermen who seek trout feeding on hatching 
insects, it also applies to smallmouth bass anglers. That is, 
if the bass are eating two-inch crawfish, throw a small 
crankbait in crawfish pattern or a jig-'n-pig. 

If they are hitting schools of shad, toss chrome or shad-
finish crankbaits, an in-line spinner or a white safety-pin 
style spinnerbait, or a topwater plug. To be sure, there are 
times when little lures are the correct choice for smallmouth 
bass. For instance, when the water is too clear for 10 pound 
test line and the bass are afraid of their own shadows 
because they are skittish in the visible depths, it's time 
to downsize to miniature lures. And when you are absolutely 
certain the fish are feeding on tiny aquatic life, you should 
scale down your offerings. But the rest of the time, stained 
water like most tri-state anglers encounter means we can use 
lures the same size as we would for largemouth. 

A myriad of crankbaits awaits the angler who decides to 
stock his bass tackle box. The assortment can be truly over-
whelming. The number of manufacturers is large enough on its 
own. Then add the various models each maker produces. When 
you further complicate things by having to decide between a 
range of sizes, your head can begin to swim. Then, of course, 
you must pick between the whole spectrum of colors painted 
onto the various patterns. The best crankbaits for smallmouth 
bass are not difficult picks, however. In fact, you can stock 
your tackle box with two basic color-pattern combinations: 
crawfish and shad. 

If you know for certain the smallmouth in your favorite 
lakes prey predominantly on yellow perch or other small 
forage fish, you can add selections of crankbaits in those 
colors and patterns. And you can throw in an assortment of 
sizes and models in the so-called hot colors, chartreuse and 
pink. Chartreuse is one of the all-around top choices for 
colors on smallmouth baits, so make sure your tackle box has 
some. A good number of your crankbait selection should be of 
the deep-diving variety. Smallmouth tend to hand around 
structure in many tri-state reservoirs that is on the deep 
side of points and around dropoffs or road beds near creek 

The deep-divers get to the fish's zone quickly and will stay 
there throughout the retrieve. Medium runners are good when 
you are parallel-casting along rip-rap or working the shallow 
sides of a road bed. Shallow runners are good when the fish 
are scooting aggressively across sand or gravel flats less 
than four feet deep, or when you are fishing for bass holed 
up in weeds that grow up to two feet of the surface. Despite 
its tendency to carom into the depths, the deep-diver is the 
most useful of the various styles of cranks. 

The big plastic beaks on the divers tend to let them bound 
along the bottom and kick up puffs of mud and debris, bounce 
off rocks and stumps and rip through stringy weeds on the 
deep sides of beds of vegetation. Crankbaits certainly have 
a reputation for hooking active small-mouth bass. But they 
also have a bad name among tournament anglers because fish 
become unhooked from crankbaits more than they do from other 
styles of lures. You can minimize the number of lost fish if 
you use one of the new crankbait rods that are about seven 
feet long and that feature whippy fiberglass tips rather than 
the stiff graphite and other space-age materials in other 
bass-style poles. 

The flex in the tip allows a surging fish to move about 
while the rod absorbs energy, and The first and most import-
ant is the venerable bass-style jig that, when rigged with 
an Uncle Josh No. 11 pork frog is known as the jig 'n pig. 
As it hops slowly along the lake bottom, it looks like a 
crawfish, which is beyond a doubt one of the smallmouth bass' 
favorite foods. Your tackle box should carry rubber-legged 
styles, along with bear hair or other animal fur jigs and 
combinations of hair and rubber. Use the all-rubber jigs 
when the water is at its optimum temperature, 60 degrees and 
up, for smallmouth activity. As the water chills in the fall, 
use jigs that have a little hair tied on with the rubber. 


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And when the water temperature is below 50 degrees, stick 
with the all-hair bodied lures. Bass jigs used to come in 
two basic colors, brown and black, and they caught lots of 
fish. Then manufacturers began experimenting with other 
colors such as blue and chartreuse and orange. Now jigs come 
in just about as many colors as crankbaits, and some makers 
have added sparkle skirts to their lines. Many anglers have 
found brown and orange jigs with a black pork frog are a 
good choice during most of the smallmouth season. In mid-
summer, a black jig with a blue or purple pork chunk is a 
good choice. And the sparkle-skirted jigs work well in 
shallow or clear water on sunny days. Another necessary 
smallmouth jig is the old round-head style. 

Plain jigs of 1/8 ounce with a smoke or avocado twister tail 
of about three inches are among the deadliest shallow or 
clear water smallmouth lures. Other anglers like the same 
style jig head with a white or black bucktail skirt tied on 
and with a two to three inch thin pork strip in matching 
colors. Such a set up is known in many regions as the fly 
and rind. And the other style jig that is gaining popularity 
for smallmouth is the Fat Gitzit or similar tube worm. They 
are essentially clear-water drop baits. The jig head is 
imbedded in the lure's body with the hook point protruding 
about halfway back from the head. Fish such lures around 
weed lines, shale cliffs, rip-rap, pilings, timber and other 
vertical structure. 

Watch for strikes on the lure's descent. When the bass are 
hanging tight to deeper cover and preying on shad or other 
flashy baitfish, the heavy metal jigging lures, such as 
Heddon Sonar, Silver Lucky, Silver Buddy, Hopkins Spoons and 
Jack's Jigging Spoon are hard to beat. There are no other 
lures that can be fished in deep water as effectively.  The 
Sonar-type baits can be fished either by casting, letting 
the lure drop to the bottom and then retrieving in a hopping 
motion, or it can be jigged vertically under the boat. The 
spoon-type lures are more often than not fished vertically, 
but they also can be cast and hopped with positive results.  
Another favorite are the sonar-type baits when fishing long 
sandy points, grass beds in deep water or the deep line where 
rip-rap meets sand or mud. 

You can also use them around bridge pilings and other 
vertical structure, along with the jigging spoons. Colors? 
You cannot go wrong with gold or chrome. Chartreuse sometimes 
is the answer and a few anglers prefer red and white.  When 
the smallmouth are prowling the weedbeds, they often will 
respond to topwater lures. Some anglers swear by the long 
Rapala or Bang-O-Lure in such situations, while others prefer 
Tiny Torpedos, Pop-Rs and other plugs. But few will argue 
that the Zara Spook is one of the all-time best topwater 
tempters. Don't overlook buzzbaits as good smallmouth lures, 

Spinners, of course, are a staple in any smallmouth bass 
fisherman's bag of tricks. Many bass fishermen rely on the 
safety-pin spinnerbaits and have forgotten about the 
traditional in-line spinners we grew up with. I always keep 
a Mepps or Roostertail handy, Smallmouth do indeed attack 
the larger spinnerbaits that large-mouth bassers prefer. I 
have had plenty of exciting moments wrestling big bronzebacks 
to the boat after they belted large spinnerbaits. One of the 
preferred summer-time smallmouth spinnerbaits is a 3/8 ounce 
lure with a black skirt and a No. 5 hammered nickel or copper 
willow leaf blade. 

Other anglers do well with white spinnerbaits, too. It is 
also possible to catch nice smallmouth on spinners featuring 
the huge No. 7 gold blades and others who prefer the little 
No. 3 Colorado style blades. Spinnerbaits are especially 
effective when you are after bass that are hiding in weeds 
or under the roots of stumps. And they are a good tool to 
use to boat a couple of quick fish when you encounter a pack 
corralling baitfish along rip-rap or a road bed.

If you have the impression now that the same baits you use 
for largemouth are the ones you should throw for smallmouth, 
you're correct. Match the lures to what the smallmouth are 
eating, and you should come up with the winning combination.

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        GopherCentral's Question of the Week

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Question of the Week

                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

JEFF FOXWORTHY'S Top 10 Reasons you might be a Redneck 

10. You have more fish on your wall than pictures.

9. You're raising catfish in your bathtub.

8. Your wife has earrings that you use as fishing lures.

7. You've ever combed your hair with a fish scaler.

6. You video tape fishing shows.

5. You recieved a tube of crickets as a wedding present.

4. You keep bait in your refrigerater.

3. Your boat hasn't left your driveway in years.

2. You've used your fishing license as a form of I.D.


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