There are several proven artificial lures one can use to catch Smallmouth Bass.
The key concept you need to remember is that Smallmouth Bass live and feed towards the bottom. Top running baits like spinnerbaits or poppers will not be effective.
In my opinion the crankbait is the most effective lure for Smallmouth Bass. They key thing to remember is choosing the correct crankbait. For this artificial lure to work effectively it needs to have a retrieve depth at or near the bottom of the area you are fishing. Optimally the bait will occasionally bounce off the bottom while retrieved.
When you buy a crankbait you will notice that they are generally classified as shallow runners or deep runners. The running depth is determined by the body shape and the size and angle of the plastic lip located near the eye hole.
Shallow running baits generally run at three to five feet, deep running baits between ten to fifteen feet. The speed of your retrieve will alter the bait somewhat as well, a faster retrieve equates to a deeper running depth.
Your other primary concern in selecting a crankbait is matching the forage of the fish. When fishing a river you will want to keep your bait small, in lakes you can use larger baits.
If the primary forage is crayfish you should select a crankbait that compares to a crayfish in both color and shape. In lakes where the primary forage is shad you should select a fat crankbait that is silver.
Match the bait to the forage fish.
Smallmouth Bass are a predator that likes to use rocks as an ambush point. You need to position your casts so the crankbaits will swim directly near the rocks you have chosen as a likely ambush point.
The thing to remember when fishing a crankbait is that it is a lure designed for active fish. Crankbaits work best in early morning and near dusk. They are also more effective lures in the spring and fall than they are during the dog days of summer.
You need to keep your retrieve fast when using this lure. You should move you rod tip up and down slightly during your retrieve to alter the depth and direction of the lure. Remember fish do not often swim in a direct straight line, nor should your lure.
If you are fishing a known spot to hold Smallmouth Bass and are having little success you can assume the fish are not very active.
In this situation you will need to change your approach by switching lures. The jig and pig combination is excellent for these situations.
A jig and pig is simply a weighted jig head with a piece of colored pork rind attached to it. You can also use a plastic twister tail or other plastic attachment with equal effectiveness. I do however like contrast when using this bait.
If I am using a light colored jig head I prefer a dark colored attachment and vice versa.
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best bass fishing information possible. Get more information on
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