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NYBasser

Advice on Smallmouth

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Hey guys,

I've been fishing this local lake for a bit, and have had some trouble catching the larger smallmouth. My friend and I have been able to locate them on the fishfinder in 20-40ft of water, but have had trouble getting them to bite. Water temp is around 85-88 degress fahrenheit. The lake has just about no crayfish (Shad is the main forage) at all, so the Smallmouth refuse to hit jigs and tubes. I've tried throwing drop shots(worked VERY well last summer), topwater(works ok), flukes, senkos, keitechs, jerkbaits, wakebaits, silver buddy's, and deep cranks, but have not been able to put together a consistent bite this year. The lake is loaded with nice sized (2+ lb) smallmouth, but getting them to bite is a different story. Just looking for some advice on what baits to use, and how to target them. 

Thanks

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The baits you are using are fine. You're just not putting them in front of active bass.

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Smallies move around a lot, so it's important to cover a lot of water.   My advice is to find a search bait that works, and fish as many different types of cover and different depths as possible until you discover a pattern.  If you put the right bait in front of an active fish,  you'll get bit.

My favorite search baits are Keitech 2.8s, hard jerkbaits,  flukes, tiny hair jigs, and spinnerbaits (if it's insanely windy).

Also, in the summer, dawn and dusk are really good times, and the fish tend to be shallow. 

 

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10 minutes ago, portiabrat said:

Smallies move around a lot, so it's important to cover a lot of water.   My advice is to find a search bait that works, and fish as many different types of cover and different depths as possible until you discover a pattern.  If you put the right bait in front of an active fish,  you'll get bit.

My favorite search baits are Keitech 2.8s, hard jerkbaits,  flukes, tiny hair jigs, and spinnerbaits (if it's insanely windy).

Also, in the summer, dawn and dusk are really good times, and the fish tend to be shallow. 

 

Thanks for the suggestions. Hard to really chase bait (14ft Jon with 2 electric trolling motors) and hard to fish early and late (Marina opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm). In shallower water, the weeds, small largies, and rock bass take over. Have to give the hair jig a try though, how are you fishing it?

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29 minutes ago, NYBasser said:

Thanks for the suggestions. Hard to really chase bait (14ft Jon with 2 electric trolling motors) and hard to fish early and late (Marina opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm). In shallower water, the weeds, small largies, and rock bass take over. Have to give the hair jig a try though, how are you fishing it?

Just like a swim bait: I cast it as far as I can, let it sink for awhile, and swim it back slowly. 

Bass guys hate trolling, but if you're fishing a big piece of structure, you can also troll it at around 1 mph.   You can troll Keitechs and hard jerkbaits too. Smallies can be a huge pain to find,  so cover water any way you can.

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2 hours ago, portiabrat said:

Just like a swim bait: I cast it as far as I can, let it sink for awhile, and swim it back slowly. 

Bass guys hate trolling, but if you're fishing a big piece of structure, you can also troll it at around 1 mph.   You can troll Keitechs and hard jerkbaits too. Smallies can be a huge pain to find,  so cover water any way you can.

Not a bad idea. I use to do this with my father in law as he has a bad back. Once we picked up a couple decent fish, we would back off and dial into that spot. Are the fish on the bottom or suspended? I would pound those paddle tails and experiment with your retrieve. If you know you're on top of them and they are indeed smallmouth, try something like a slow sinking finesse worm or one of my personal favorites, a Keitech crazy flapper. Drop it right over the top of them on the lightest weight you can use to get to them and put it right in there face. When they see it dropping towards them they'll usually hammer it. Rip some lips. 

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Are these fish bottom oriented or suspending that you're finding?  I'll put a lot more effort into bottom/cover oriented fish than I will suspended fish.  Unless you can get suspended fish activated with some kind of baitfish immitation quickly, they're very, very difficult to get to bite.  

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If the fish are located at certain depths, fish the bottom within those depths with a shad patterned bait. Eventually you will locate some active fish feeding, best bet will be bottom depths near located schools of suspended fish.

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7 hours ago, Hogsticker said:

Not a bad idea. I use to do this with my father in law as he has a bad back. Once we picked up a couple decent fish, we would back off and dial into that spot. Are the fish on the bottom or suspended? I would pound those paddle tails and experiment with your retrieve. If you know you're on top of them and they are indeed smallmouth, try something like a slow sinking finesse worm or one of my personal favorites, a Keitech crazy flapper. Drop it right over the top of them on the lightest weight you can use to get to them and put it right in there face. When they see it dropping towards them they'll usually hammer it. Rip some lips. 

Thanks for the suggestions, the fish are usually a mix of both. Some are suspended and some are on the bottom. Last summer, we had 50+ fish days on the drop shot, but this year, they just weren't really committing to it. 

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Smallmouth will hit a tube or jig regardless of if there are crawfish in that body of water. At the same time though it's hard to imagine crawfish not being in a body of water, especially one with smallmouth. 

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1 hour ago, Jar11591 said:

Smallmouth will hit a tube or jig regardless of if there are crawfish in that body of water. At the same time though it's hard to imagine crawfish not being in a body of water, especially one with smallmouth. 

I only wish that would apply to this body of water. Not sure if there are any crayfish in the lake at all, but the Smallmouth refuse to touch craws and tubes. Multiple tournaments on the lake, with multiple 20 lb bags, have always produced the same result - tubes and craws didn't produce fish.  

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If you really try everything stated here, I can recommend you reading this previous posting:

 

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I'd try fishing some shallow water with rocks .. 4ft to 8 look for rock banks with good drop offs .. Or rock humps .. I just think u may be fishing too deep

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On 8/2/2016 at 1:37 PM, mike bat said:

I'd try fishing some shallow water with rocks .. 4ft to 8 look for rock banks with good drop offs .. Or rock humps .. I just think u may be fishing too deep

Just came back from fishing. Smallies were out deep. Closer to the bank, it's too weedy and the largemouth take over. Caught only 2 smallies early on the dropshot, and caught 2 more later in the day in the weeds. Rest of the day was filled in by tons of 2-3 lb largemouth. Smallies were in 15-25 ft of water. 

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