Smallmouth bass is a predator and feed on a variety of animals such as minnows, insects and even crustaceans. By chance when crayfish are common, you’ll find it to be over two thirds of their diet. Oddly enough, smallmouth bass have a smell in their skin that excretes and mimics the smell of a crayfish. This simple smell results in making the crayfish to want to come out of their coves and try to protect their “territory” against other crayfish. Even though many think the bass isn’t smart, it’ll wait for the crayfish to come out and eat any crayfish in the open.
They even brought a legacy behind them. The Algonquin Indians used to call smallmouth bass the name achigan in which means the “one who fights”. They are known to make a stance and try to evade their pray.
What do Smallmouth Bass look like?
Often when learning how to catch smallmouth bass, you will find that they range in colors. Often you might find them dark looking, even sometimes a little brown or even greenish-yellow along with a slightly white belly. Their eyes are usually come in a red or a orange tone.
Bass also have a extremely powerful tail, great hearing and suprisenly good vision. With its preditor instinct, it will make learning how to catch smallmouth bass trouble-some. Don’t fret though, with our guide, hopefully you can pick it up quick without too much of a problem through our different techniques and tips.
Techniques on How to Catch Small Mouth Bass
Learning how to catch smallmouth bass isn’t a 1-2-3 step process. You will need to try trial and error to help you figure out what the best technique is depending on the season, weather and more.
- Smallmouth Bass Locations
- Smallmouth Bass Lures
- Rapala Shad Rap: Silver or crawfish pattern
- Cotton Cordells Rattlin Spot
- Smallmouth Bass are sometimes in the Shallow
- Smallmouth Bass also hide in the depths
You will often find smallmouth bass lurking in the in the rocky shores or deep drop off points. Depending on the weather and the season, you will also find them in deeper water where there are more minnows present. One of the easiest ways to help you locate this area is a depth finder.
When you are trying to learn how to catch smallmouth bass, you need to make sure you are covering a large area to figure out where the bass schools are. In particular, crankbaits will help you cover as much ground as possible. Diving crankbaits such as:
If you are fishing in shallow rock shores, try to use a yellow and white pattern spinnerbait along with a shallow diving crankbait. With experience, I have found these to be a deadly combination when you are learning how to catch smallmouth bass.
If you are fishing in deeper water, its time to go old school and simply use a 1/4 to 1/2 oz jig. Go old school here and just bounce these jigs off the bottom and hopefully it’ll make the smallmouth enticed to strike.
If its late summer or early fall and you are fishing in deep water for smallmouth bass, often using a worm colored jig will work even better. Just remember you have to bounce it off the bottom or you’ll end up with one boring day.
Note: When smallmouth bass go deep, they tend to drop to roughly 30 or 40 feet.
How to catch smallmouth bass when all else fails
Sometimes some methods simply won’t work even when you sit there and throw every idea, lure or technique at them. We’ve all been there, believe me but you just have to keep trying as you simply don’t know when they’ll strike at that next cast. If nothing seems to be working, time to whip out the live bait and give it a try.
- Start using your live bait near rocky points and any rocky areas in general. These are the best locations to get a smallmouth bass to strike
- Try using a bass hook and just throwing the biggest worm you have on it. Make sure the worm has a significant amount hanging off the hook. Don’t and I repeat don’t keep wrapping it until its all hooked around your hook; danging is key. After that, use a light line such as 4 or even 6 pound test mono so that your casts are virtually weightless.
- Make sure you try to target your casts so they land near the edges of the shore and just lay your line down. You want your warm to sink slowly and once it hits a few week, slowly start to reel it in until it hits the surface. Rinse and repeat this process until you run out of line. This technique is sort of like using jigs. Reeling in slowly and gently will be key as you want to make your worm look as natural as possible.
- Often enough when learning how to catch smallmouth bass, they will strike when your worm is sinking. If the worm isn’t sinking, feel free to put a weight up roughly 2 feet above your bait. You want to make sure its not too close to your hook as when you are fishing in rocks, it can get snagged easily and become frustrating to reel in. If it gets too frustrating, you most likely shouldn’t have a weight attached.
- This same method can and will work with a cray fish/minnow
- If you are just hovering over one area, just use a bobber and place it about 2 or 3 feet from the bait as you cast over rocks. Simply sit back and wait till your bobber goes down!
Learning How To Catch Smallmouth Bass also Means Deep Water
Often, you will find smallmouth bass just seemingly disappear when they once used to be in a area. You may even drop hours just trying one rocky area and end up with completely nothing. Often enough though, the weather has played a roll and the bass have fled. They could either have done to the deep or to a completely different part of the lake.
If you end up catching absolutely nothing after hours of trying, its time to throw on that depth finder and start hunting. You will need to find a deep, steep ridge that goes roughly 30-45 feet deep. This will be a key area in finding a hot spot of smallmouth bass.
Quickly when you are learning how to catch smallmouth bass, you will learn that smallmouth bass and bass in general are a predator of the lakes. They will go deep for protection, to feed on minnows, and due to the weather. If the weather turns to being unpredictable, often smallmouth bass will head toward the deep water so they feel less discomfort compared to shallow water.
When the bass head for the depths, they will often be found around drop off’s along with ledges in the lake as they are able to move quickly between the deeper part of the lake and the shallower part without having to travel too far when the weather is changing.
What Smallmouth Bass Like: Strike Tips
Finding out how to catch smallmouth bass takes a different set of skills where you need to find out what smallmouth bass actually like to strike at. They simply won’t just hit at anything. With the list we have compiled below, they are bound to find something worth while:
- Warm colored tube jigs often will attract smallmouth bass on big lakes. Feel free to even add part of a real work inside the tube jig to further improve its attractiveness
- Long jigs tend to do the best, roughly 5 feet and up. The technique is simple and all you will need to do is let it sink and jig it up and down to give it some motion. You can let it just down but won’t work as good as quick jerks in which makes it look like the jig is injured
- Another reason why giving it little jigs is good is that it’ll improve the chances that you can feel the bass actually hit and strike your lure. Depending on the conditions, you may even be able to see your line stop sinking if the water is calm enough which means that the bass could of strike’d the jig. If you have waves coming across the lake, use your fingertips against the line and you’ll be able to feel the strikes with ease
- Often the most favored technique is to simply just get the biggest worm possible and throw it on a hook with absolutely no weight and let it sink really slowly near a ridge. If you end up going outside your target zone, give it a jig and pull it back in place and let it sink down again. Once the smallmouth bass hits, its best to let it go with your line for a little bit
- Feel free to try to use a minnow as it often will work just as well as real works
How To Catch Smallmouth Bass: Secret Baits
One of the most easiest baits I’ve used when trying to catch a bass is simply salted minnows. Oddly enough, I’ve found that they in fact love and go nuts over these simple salt cured minnows. You can either go to the store and buy some or make your own. Its one of the most simplest tricks in the book.
If you want to make your own, simply get a large bin of salt and lay the minnows down in layers. Feel free to use regular table salt or even pickling salt. I wouldn’t use any other salts as I don’t have any experience with them.
You can also try using a frog lure. Your goal is to make your big the closest you can to acting like a real frog. The more realistic it is, the better chance you will have at catching smallmouth bass.
Try to land your lure as closest to the shore as you can and leave it there for a little bit. If you end up not getting any strikes, start slowly twitching your rod and try to make your frog lure swim along the surface of the water. If still nothing is biting, reel in and recast your line. Patience is key here when you are learning how to catch smallmouth bass.
Best Lures To Catch Smallmouth Bass
When learning how to catch smallmouth bass, its best to try as many lures as you can. With that in mind, here is a list of top lures to catch smallmouth bass.
- Bugeye Jigs
- Rattleback Jigs
- Frog Lures
- Wally Diver
- Rapala Countdown
- Junior Thundersticks
- Old School Jigs
- Tube Jigs
- Mepps Black Furry
- Floating Rapalas
- Rattlin Redfin
- Bomber Spinnerbait
Even though there are secret baits and more, the best and most supported bait is simple: The worm. If you really want to go the extra mile, make sure you don’t get your hands near any gas lines or gasoline. If you happen to go in contact with those, wash your hands with sugar and apply some bug spray followed by applying salt. Your goal is to not transfer any scents over to your lure that will make the smallmouth bass less attracted to it.
Learning how to catch a smallmouth bass may seem a little daunting at first but once you get a technique down and learn their habits, they really aren’t that hard to deal with along with they aren’t much different than any other fish. Get out there and give it a try!