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bigbassin'

First Smallmouth Trip

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I'm planning a smallmouth trip to Tennessee this May, and am looking for some advice.  Being located in Florida the majority of my fishing happens in shallow, weedy lakes for largemouth so I'll be learning a new species and trying to figure out how to fish highland reservoirs at the same time.  Just looking for any suggestions on lures, lakes in the far southeast corner of the state worth fishing, seasonal patterns, preferred cover, etc.  I will have a boat if that helps.

 

Currently I'm thinking jerkbaits, topwater, crankbaits, tubes, small jigs, and craw imitations are the way to go based on everything I've read.  I see dropshots also get a lot of love for smallmouth, but I don't have any experience with one and it would likely be a last resort if I'm throwing one.

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Congratulations on your trip!  Smallies are my favorite bass to catch.  My experience fishing for smallmouth is restricted to the Northeast but I'll add what I think may be applicable.  The baits you listed are all effective and I've used them all to catch fish.  I love fishing surface and will throw it from May through October.  When I hit an unfamiliar lake I'll take a look at my chart plotter or any available lake maps to find rocky areas, points, and drop offs in that order.  Shallower rocky areas I'll start with surface.  Then move to finesse or a spinnerbait if I need to go deeper.  Much the same for points.  Drop offs, I'll use a spinnerbait, shaky head or other weighted soft plastic.  This usually keeps me from getting skunked.  I'm sure others can add more useful info, specifically for the area you'll be fishing. 

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Low light:  Jerkbaits, topwater (Cavitron, Spook and Sammy)

 

Soft plastics:  Rage Tail Baby Craw, BPS Tender Tube #71,

Sworming Hotnet/ LFT Live Magic Shad, A-Rig

 

Drop shot MegaStrike ShakE2/ GYCB Kut-Tail

 

Hard Baits:  Bandit 200 or 300

 

Swimbaits:  Hollow belly., Rage Swimmer

 

Jigs:  Siebert 3/ 8 oz G2 PBJ/ Rage Craw (PBJ)

 

:easter-119:

 

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I've never fished Tennessee Lakes, but I can say that smallmouth (generally) are less finicky about the lure or technique than largemouth, but can be more difficult to find.  A good sonar and search bait strategy can be really helpful.  Smallmouth can move a lot, but can be super aggressive when feeding.  Even after a bite dies down, the schools can often be turned back on just by changing baits. Also, it's important to remember that they hunt almost entirely by sight, so keying on clear water and sunlight can be huge.  

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If you can edge on up to the Northeast part of Tenn., Norris and Cherokee are chock full of smallies!

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Thanks for the advice y'all, I'll be sure to keep it in mind...Cherokee and Norris are about 2.5 hours away from where I'll be and I have no clue if my buddy will want to tow his boat 100 miles, but I'll definitely look into them.

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On ‎3‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 2:36 PM, bigbassin' said:

I'm planning a smallmouth trip to Tennessee this May, and am looking for some advice.  Being located in Florida the majority of my fishing happens in shallow, weedy lakes for largemouth so I'll be learning a new species and trying to figure out how to fish highland reservoirs at the same time.  Just looking for any suggestions on lures, lakes in the far southeast corner of the state worth fishing, seasonal patterns, preferred cover, etc.  I will have a boat if that helps.

 

Currently I'm thinking jerkbaits, topwater, crankbaits, tubes, small jigs, and craw imitations are the way to go based on everything I've read.  I see dropshots also get a lot of love for smallmouth, but I don't have any experience with one and it would likely be a last resort if I'm throwing one.

 

That's a good list you have. I recently caught my first couple smallmouth bass on shallow running crankbaits while fishing in a river. Cast the crankbait upstream and work the crankbait downstream.

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