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Mosster47

How do you find the big smallies?

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In the area I live we used to have smallies in the rivers, largies in the lakes and reservoirs. Well, I move away for a decade and when I get back the bucket biologists have smallies in all the reservoirs and they have taken over. 

It's fun in the catching sense. You can tie on a lipless and catch 100+ fish everyday no matter the weather or conditions or location on the lake. They are all the same stunted 10"-12" fish though. An example is in July I pre-fished and fished two tournament days in a three day span on the same lake and caught over 200 smallies and the biggest one was 1.3lbs.

How do you target the bigger fish that have to exist in there when there are literally thousands of dinks EVERYWHERE?

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Hello and Welcome to Bass Resource

Congrats on living on what sounds like quite a Smallmouth Factory.

I'd recommend fishing different locations.  You haven't listed where you're fishing, but every where I've fished for smallmouth, the larger adult fish usually do not feed on the same items or in the same places as juvenile bass. 

 Figuring out what the adult bass prey on in your body of water may help.  Remember the prey's abundance & availability play a role too.

Then learn about the prey's life cycle; where it lives in the lake / water column, where & when it spawns and just like the bass, what it eats.

All of this can often help lead an angler right to the fish he / she is after or at the very least, offer a place to start looking.

There is a reason the small fish are where they are; and it probably revolves around self preservation & Food.

The adult bass population will be looking for the same thing

Good Luck

A-Jay

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I experience the same type of thing on my local river in the summer (not as many fish though) and it try to use bigger baits to target the big ones, even though you get a few over aggressive dinks swiping at a lure thats bigger than them.  Also underwater trees are sure to hold some bigger ones in my experience.  

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In my area it's all dependent on the time of year and water temp.

When the water is cooler the big fish prefer to be a little deeper, even for its only a few feet. So if the depth drops down from 6 to 10 feet focus on the deeper water and where it starts to slope down. 

When it's warmer and fish are focusing on runs or Eddies along current, try fishing the very top or bottom of a pool or eddy to find the more active fish. Bigger ones are typically able to withstand faster current so don't be afraid to cast weedless plastics or jerkbaits into moving water and just reel slack and wait for a hit. 

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If I'm fishing my local river and I start catching small fish only,I change tactics and focus on deeper submerged rocks or sunken logs using a larger lure and a bit slower presentation.

Another thing that's worked for me is if I'm wading I will wade up to a rod length away from tree falls or brush piles and jig a large plastic craw right in the middle of it. I've pulled some large smallies out of these locations.

Good luck!!

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In rivers, your bigger bass will hold in the most primo spots. In the Ozarks, it is often either behind a downed tree, along a current seam or beneath boulders. 

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I guess I should have given a better description of the lake. It's a canyon reservoir. When I was growing up it was the best big bass lake in the state. The record largemouth has came out of it multiple times. It has a few arms and flats but mainly it's very deep when we aren't in drought years.

People illegally planted smallies in it and since the terrain of the lake is much more suited to them they have exploded and nothing eats them.

I've tried shakey heads in 60ft of water, big spinner baits, jigs, etc. These little 12" guys hit everything! I'm assuming they are beyond hungry and desperate.

If you do catch one of the few largemouth in there they look like an eel. I've attached a pic of what should be a 5lb class fish that barely weighed over 2lbs. 

Maybe survival of the fittest will take over and it will turn into an amazing smallie lake one day. 

IMG_20150713_143940.jpg

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At some point yes, nature will have to take care of it. If that lake exceeds carrying capacity some of the population will die, and then the bass should get bigger. That is a long waiting game though.

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Have you tried graphing the lake? If you're not getting them fishing shorelines and points, there's a good chance they're suspended on bait.

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