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BROWN BASS TOOLS ~ Questions & Answers

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Recently BR forum member @12poundbass & I started a Q & A deal in the PM’s regarding how, when & where to catch some Michigan Smallmouth Bass on inland lakes.  It went on for a while and turned into quite a bit more than we both imagined.

 We talked it over and decided to share it here with the hopes it might help others to catch a few.

Had to break it up into “Chapters”.



12poundbass ~ Good day A-Jay hope all is well with you and the Mrs. In case you hadn't heard Santa is coming next Tuesday! The only thing I've asked for is TW gift cards, which brings me to you. I have a healthy inventory of green bass tackle. I know a lot of the tackle work for both, but and suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated. 


The only brown bass I've caught were on a small river using jigs and Senkos. I've already made one TW order that has a couple SK 1/2oz spinner baits, I'm ashamed to say I haven't used a spinner bait in probably 8-9 years.? I also bought a couple SK red eye shads, I had one before and loved it, but lost it. 


One smallmouth lure I've thought about was a tube. I've never 'really' used one before, so I'm as dumb as they come when it comes to them. What size is a good start, what's your recommendation for a particular tube jig head? I'm getting a good inventory on vibrating jigs, what are some good trailers though? I took your advice on a video and grabbed some SK Rage Craws this summer, the two seemed to pair well, the strikes were plenty, I can't say the same for the hook up ratio, we already discussed that previously. 


With the new boat in tow in 2019 I'm branching out and I'm going to focus on the smallmouth as much as possible, so if you'd like to help me spend Santa's money at TW I'm all ears! 


As always your knowledge, ideas, and suggestions are welcomed here anytime! Thanks again.


A-Jay ~ Cool,  give me a bit I'll put something together.  Fair warning, I'm in the mood to type so this might be extensive! 


12poundbass ~ LOL the days are short and the nights are long so type away! ?

A-Jay ~ OK so here we go –


 First let's talk about what a smallmouth is & what it is not.  Keep in mind -  This is Smallmouth according to A-Jay - some of it may sound familiar, some will not as I've not shared this stuff - Yet.  I may after this though.   Since you'd like to focus on smb and before you spend Santa's money, let's start with what a smallmouth is - and I don't want to compare lmb vs smb, because it can get confusing IMO.    

Let's just talk about the smb as a different & separate deal; because IME - it certainly is. 

Thinking & approaching them like a different fish has enabled me to get a few decent ones.  

 So what are their characteristics & habits?  And I'm only talking about adult fish - because that's all I want to target.  

      They prefer 'deep' water (relative to the body of water).  They prefer cleaner usually very clean water.  They prefer cooler water.  They will go ANYWHERE in the water column to eat - including super shallow.  The fish I'm targeting are looking for perch, crayfish & smaller panfish and in the bigger lakes it's GOBIES & crayfish with a few perch mixed it.  I know this because the bigger fish I keep in my live well puke & poo this stuff out all the time (except for the gobies - I've not found one yet.)  This is important because it tells me where to look for smb & bait and where to start fishing.  

  SMB are big-time Sight Feeders.  While they can & do feed effectively in varying levels of clear, colored & even tannic waters, there seems to be a preference for lower turbidity when given a choice.  They have a personality that can be described as a mix between a green bass, and perhaps a trout.  The bass part is obvious I think.  They pull & jump and eat all sorts of aquatic things.  The trout part revolves around how nomadic they are and how selective they can be when feeding.  Not always but when they are 'on' a bait, like mayflies, for instance, good luck getting a bite on something else.  So it pays to have a fairly wide selection of presentations & locations in mind as fishing begins because there is & can be a wide array of locals & possible baits that may have to be employed before contact.  

  So fishing for smallies may not be like LMB, where you can go flip wood or docks and sling Senko's all over and expect to get bit.  Works early season, pre-spawn bedding bass are suicidal - and guys who "Slay them' at this time of year, often struggle the rest of the season because those fish were easily found.  And if one does not know how or is not willing to learn how, to locate smallies the rest of the season, (Especially on big water where the really big girls live) – season could be over.   

  So there's that part of it.   Now let's talk a little about baits & tackle.  I use casting gear (with 10-20 lb flouro) to present most moving baits and spinning gear (10-20lb braid mainline) for most everything else including, topwater, tubes, drop shot obviously AND Jerkbaits.  Jerkbaits work best in the wind, and throwing them on spinning gear allows for long cast straight into it (my favorite) without worry.  I do use casting gear for swing heads & rage bug deal - 15-20 lb flouro.  And worm,& tube hooks & jig head hooks need to be stout & sharp but not in the super line class - But 5 plus lb smb have incredibly strong jaws & crushers.   So KVD EWG 1x strong 2x short trebles go on EVERYTHING that has treble hooks.  Otherwise The One fish you're looking for may totally bend your deal and go free.  In cold water (50 and below) smb 'wallow' when hooked. (sort of like a walleye)  In water over say 55 degrees plus they make you work - in 68 and above - THEY ARE MENTAL.  I've had them ram the canoe many times - hold on my friend.   

 THE SINGLE HARDEST ASPECT OF SMALLMOUTH BASS FISHING IS FINDING THEM- especially the big ones.  Seems obvious right.  But it really is that simple.  But when you get behind the wheel of your shiny new rig, on some big body of water you've never been on - no matter what type of fancy electronics you may have - where do you start?   


 More to follow - I have to go feed the dogs - Tucker is giving me the Stinkeye !   brb 


12poundbass ~ Wow! There's quite a bit to process here. Way more than I was expecting, which I'm very ok with. 


Last Christmas actually I received a copy of Spoonpluging. I haven't read the whole thing, and it's actually in storage right now as we're in a rental waiting out the 30 days after closing (which was yesterday) before I can dig it out and start reading again. Back to my point, finding the smb. This is going to be a huge hurdle for me. There's a couple of lakes connected that I'm going to target this year. One is Blue lake, It's very clear, if I had to guess I'd say 10-15' clarity, sand/gravel bottom. The big lake Lincoln lake isn't as clear but has a lot of gravel and sand. I have a map card for my Humminbird and a map card for my Garmin. Hopefully both have 1' contours, if not I guess I'm mapping as soon as ice out. First things first I need to learn where to look. Enough for now, I'll wait for chapter 2.   

Thanks again! 



A-Jay ~ You're welcome ~

  Chapter II


 OK so let me back up a little.  What that first section was hopefully doing, was to help offer a kind of 'smallie mindset' - it's something that has served me well.  But there's still quite a bit more to it.  

   Let's talk more about 'location'. In an effort to try and make this as simple as possible, I’ll offer the following:   IME- there are 2 'types' of places smb will hang around long enough for us to get bit.  And this part is Does Not include bass on beds; that's a separate deal.  BTW - I'd encourage you to not start 'depending' on bedding bass as your 'spring pattern' like so many do - you'll learn Nothing that will be of any use to you later in the season and is essentially IMO, a waste of time - now back to our regularly scheduled program . . Oh yea, locations.  

Smallies spend only a small part of their day actually 'feeding'. (I know not exactly new info - but work with me here) The rest of the time is spent pretty much just “chilling.”  Feeding is done one place & chilling is done someplace else.  I prefer to fish for feeding fish as they are always much more willing to bite.  Chilling fish can usually be 'close' to where they feed - but close can be a relative term.  Sometimes these buggers will go a long way to feed and then go a long way back to chill. Occasionally we catch a bass or two that is 'in transit' and we think we have found a new spot; only to find out after casting an arm off, that was not the case.  Transiting fish are an accident and not worth 'fishing for'.   Chilling spots are hard to find too - why? Well because the darn fish are chilling and not very catchable!  More on that in a bit.   

  So if looking to fish for feeding fish, and fish only feed a small percentage of the day, then being at the right place at the right time seems Very Important.  We call those times "feeding windows" and they can & do vary in length.  Early & late season they can last hours or even all day at times.  Mid-season during warmer weather they may only happen super early or later in the day and only be 'minutes' in length - that makes it a bit tricky but it's do-able.  

  A very important factor to consider when trying to 'predict' where to be & when revolves around what we think (or hope) the bass may be looking to feed on in that area.  Again my deals almost always revolve around perch & crayfish.  Sometimes that happens together but at least half the time, it's one or the other.  So knowing at least some of the habits of both is pretty important & usually helpful.  

  A good way to learn some of this (and it's something that has helped me recently) is using the live well.  When & where the state regs allow - retain your catch for at least a while.  Give them a chance to gag up some chow and show you what they've been dining on.  It may stink to high heaven but it's worth it !  The only other way to know for sure what they've been eating involves a fillet knife and I'll have none of that action.  

 So back to 'chill' locations.  Are they even worth looking for? Can these fish be triggered into biting? - I'll say Yes - sometimes.  SMB are seriously aggressive & competitive feeders but when they decide not to play - they don't.  And if they are suspending over deep water - I don't even bother - I'm O and forever in that arena.   

 One thing that I have capitalized on over & over again, in warm, cool & even cold water - is that SMB Love to Chase stuff.  I mean they will often chase just to chase.  Its one reason I am such a big fan of LONG CASTS - gives them time to chase and then eat.  Short casts, you get the chase to the boat, but then they turn away.  Long casts satisfy the ITCH!  With the clear waters we fish - I can often see them coming a long way off - sometimes whole packs of them - it's pretty intense.  So when looking for fish or when looking for chilling fish, because the bite has died in the feeding areas, offering a presentation that they can 'chase a while' before they eat it can be an effective approach.  We need to select a bait that works with the water temp - meaning slower in cooler or cold & faster in warmer or hot.  We'll cover the actual baits later.   So by presenting a 'chase bait' to a chilling smb - or even better a school of chilling bass - we can sometimes trigger that chase button - and get them to strike - good times.   

    Where exactly are these - feeding & chilling areas located? How do I find them? 

 This is the tough part - it truly is.  Because there so many factors involved with it that we have no control over and even worse - don't really know if our assumptions & speculations are valid; until we catch some bass.   There are a few 'generalizations' that we can use to start us off; and again they revolve around the smb's food.  Perch like to be in & around cover that holds food for them and offers some camouflage from predators.  Crayfish are the same way.  But each & every lake is different in its habitat, so there's going to be variances to that.  Then there's The Big One ~ THE SUN !

  SMALLMOUTH BASS LOVE FEEDING IN THE SUNSHINE - to disregard this statement will lead to many, many, many fishless trips - over and over and over again.  Can they be caught on cloudy and or overcast & rainy days? - yes.  But if you want to improve your chances of getting bit - At Least Some sunshine will always help.

 But what about the wind ?- Yup Wind's a Biggie too.  All things being equal - wind is Almost as important as sunshine - especially in clear water and when the smb are shallow (say less than 8-10ft).  Early & late season when the air is cooler or cold, the warmest part of the day with the bright sun are by far my most productive.  Mid-season (summer) bite windows are often short-lived and completely over in shallower spots one hour after Daylight - notice I didn't say sunrise.   The summer late day bite can be very brief as well - often the very last few minutes of sunshine on a spot - then it's done.  There are often a few smb to be had after these times but as a man who has STAYED well past these times - for years - machine gunning the water to a froth, the number of bites does drop off quite a bit outside these windows.    

That's it for now - In Chapter III (coming tomorrow) we'll cover more on location.  We'll go into what different types of structure to look for & why.  We'll cover boat position - super important. We'll discuss how to present baits & why. If all goes well, we may even talk about specific bait selection . . . . . . This is great therapy for me - thanks




12poundbass ~ Holy smokes A-Jay this is absolutely awesome and way more than I expected (not that I expect anything from you or anyone)! Notes are being taken and I'll save my questions for the end, so I don't disrupt the momentum. 

I've never fished for bedding bass. I've pondered it over the years. Up until the last couple years when I joined this site and really started to get serious and expand my bass fishing knowledge, I was under the impression the only way to catch the real big ones were to target the fat and happy mommas full of eggs. I've learned since joining here that's not the case. 


There are a lot of habits I've developed over the years that I really need to break this year if I'm going to get serious and apply all these tools I've learned from you, this site, and Spoonpluging. The one you mentioned is the wind. I usually run for an area that has some protection from the wind. The reason I've done this is because of the TM and because I had a little 14' tin boat that would get blown around like a tin can. The TM I used on that boat was a wireless MG with a key fob. I had a foot control but it was a major POS! So anytime there's wind anything not weedless was a major PIA because I have to quit retrieving to adjust the TM to stay off the shore and stay on course. With my new boat and the foot controled TM this fear of the wind should be easy to break. 


Another bad habit is beating the banks. I believe this will be easy to break as well now that I have electronics. I've done a fair amount of research on both models I have over the years so hopefully the learning curve is shorter than most. 


The other is the d**n Senko. That is my crutch as I've mentioned many times before. I feel by breaking the other two habits I mentioned this one will easily be broken. The other two kind of helped create this one. Getting confidence in a lure is a hard thing to do, especially when your fishing time is limited to 4-6 hrs a week. I'm hoping and thinking that'll increase this year, especially since we bought that house on a lake, unfortunately there are no smb in my home lake. 


Again thank you so much for all of this! I never thought by asking for for a few lure recommendations would lead to this wealth of knowledge from you. I was cool with earning it like most, but I won't stop you, and if it's therapy for you that's great and I'm really glad we're both getting something out of this. 


Off to work for a bit. It's the week before Christmas and the ground is pretty frozen now so not a whole lot of work which leaves me time to kill. ?


A-Jay ~ It's all good.  

 I realize there's a ton of stuff here and more to come.  As we go along I'm building you up to hopefully bring it all together in the end -   

 I will cover the Wind and it's effects & how to make it all work in boat positioning.

 I'll go over beating the bank and how that's not a bad thing in a bit as well. 

All your hours of fishing a stick bait are going to serve you well - I'll tell you why & how soon.  

Don't work too hard & stay Safe.



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Let’s talk about locating smb and that simply must start with ‘structure’.

To ensure we are speaking the same language (and since you mentioned you had a copy) I’ll be using the same terms & definitions as E.L.”Buck” Perry did/does in his Spoonplugging masterpiece. (see “Spoonpluggers Glossary” pages 7-9) May not matter what we call this stuff as long as we’re calling it the same thing and communicating effectively.  Ok, so enough of that.     

  So where do we start?  First I’ll say that with the exception of the hottest part of the summer & the very end of the season (right before hard water), most all my smb fishing is done in 30 feet or less.  I may probe deeper during the two periods I just mentioned.  But by & large I’m fishing in water that is not more than two lengths of my boat or my canoe.  Doesn’t sound so deep when I put it like that. 

  It’s super hard to predict where bass may be on any given lake during any given time.  Especially when one considers all the different depths, types of habitat and even different forage available to bass, all of which will dictate where they’re going to be. 

   I’m going to start with drop-offs.  I am a big fan.  So what makes a good one ?  Well that can & usually does differ quite a bit from lake to lake but here’s some things to think about when considering which drop offs may be good.  Which way does the drop off face ? How is it oriented ? Facing North, South, East or West ?  Is there a ton of boating traffic buzzing over it – if so at what time of day ?  Is it the only one around ? Is it on the Main Lake, or the back of a cove ?  Is there cover on it and if so where & what is it ?  How drastic is the drop ?  Is it gradual or a sheer cliff ?  I sure there’s more but I’m stopping there.    

  I break drop-offs up into three ‘categories’ if you will.  And they are separated by where on the lake the drop off is located.  ‘First’ is the one that’s right at or closest to the bank.  These may only be a foot or two of depth change or they can be fairly deep.  The next or ‘secondary drop’ (my term) is the one that occurs some distance from the bank.  These can also be fairly small or not; and even go all the way to the cove bottom or even the main lake basin.  Most every lake has at least two ‘drop-offs’.  Then there’s the ‘third drop’ (again my term).  These can be close to that secondary drop or be considerable distance from it.  The bigger & deeper the lake usually the more separated these things are from each other – especially in the northern MI water’s I’m on most.


I think it’s easy to believe that adult smb want & need to feel secure and easy access to deep water means security.  It’s also often the shortest distance from the ‘chilling areas’ to the ‘feeding areas’.   Early & late season, when water & air temps can fluctuate wildly from day to day and even hour to hour, I’m looking for main lake drop-offs that are closer together.  They don’t have to be right on top of each other but if there’s more than a boat length or two between the first & second and the second & the third drop – I’m looking elsewhere.  Also, early & lake season I’m looking for places that are getting blasted by the sun and getting some wind.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s all kinds of nice early season to pull back into a warmly sheltered cove and soak in the sun – but I just don’t catch my biggest smb that way.  Later on, there’s a bite in there but not early & not late season.  So I can either be warm and comfy and not get bit or dress & be prepare for the open water & weather, and catch mutants – I choose the later.

  As mentioned these smallies are so darn nomadic, they roam man.  And it’s a real advantage if a guy can be on a lake & on the water often to follow them.  There are still times where they will totally vanish ???? But if the weather’s stable for a few days and it’s the right weather, sometimes you can really put a hurting on them if you can stay with them.  And by stay with them, I mean to be there when they eat.  Timing is Big.  Guys who fish at the same times every trip & on every lake will certainly catch bass.  But IME fish do not eat at the same time in the same spot every day on every lake.  There quite a bit more to it and if you’re looking for that Special fish – the one no one else is catching? Well Sir you’re going to have to do something no one else is doing.  Only makes sense – and I have some pictures & video to support this.     

  As the season progresses and the water temps rise, the bait moves closer to the bank, smallies will be there.  So the third drop comes out of play and it’s all about the first drop early & late in the day & that secondary drop the rest of the time.  They may be chilling on that secondary drop – but at least we can reach them.  And while not every fish on the lake is doing the same thing at the same time – it’s often pretty close. 


A common practice when presenting baits to chilling smb is to go low & slow – tubes dragged on the bottom, drop shots, are both very common & often super effective approaches.  And if they’ll eat it, I’m throwing them too.  But when they are not and you kind of know there are down there, that’s when I like to try & trigger that ‘chase’ button.   Snapping a heavy tube works, Blade baits & lipless baits are killer in cold water, deep diving jerkbaits are a staple in my early & late season rotation.

 Fishing these on that ‘flats’ between a drop off can be money, other times dragging, hopping & yes even snapping them up down or across the drop is the deal.  And in warmer water seasons, if smb are set up off or near a secondary drop and the water’s super clear – like you need to be able to see the surface from where the fish are at – a Topwater walker or Popper can be So Good.  Especially during flat water conditions – the popper deal often needs to be PAINFULLY SLOW with over a minute sometimes between pops.  But the fatties will sometimes come all the way up there and slurp that thing right off the top!  It’s killer and almost never done – guys talk about it but I never see anyone doing it.  Took my biggest smb doing this past August doing this.



  Let’s talk about Flats; that bottom area between the first & second drop and the second & third drop.  These places can offer a ton of action, but just like the drops themselves, there are good ones & not so good ones.  And feeding smb will cruise along the flat right at the base of one of those drop looking for chow – often hunting in little wolf packs.  So if you think that’s the deal, or you see them (or bait balls) visually or with your electronics, you can cover water and pick them off.  Some of these structures can be pretty massive (especially on big water) and when the conditions are right – it can make for a very productive trip.

   I have to stop here and talk about boat position – it is SUPER critical to learn why & how to use it to your advantage.  Every cast I make, every bait I throw, they’re level of effectiveness is predicated on where & how my rig is positioned on the structure I am fishing.  There’s no way around it – that’s just how it is.  These are the things I take into account when determining how & where to position my boat to fish anything.   The depth of water I’m planning to fish and the depth of water I need to be positioned in, water clarity, wind speed & direction, the position of the sun (where it is the sky as it relates to the structure and how high or low in the sky it is), The type of lure(s) I’m planning on using, as well as any boating traffic in the area including other anglers.  OK so let’s break all that down – one at a time. 

  First, if I have the choice, I prefer to fish from shallow to deep – every spot - all year round – just how I like to do it – because it works.  Also because going deep to shallow, although easier I guess, often positions the boat on or directly over the bass and I may end up casting into dead water. Instead, I’ve had much more success sneaking over to the shallow side so as not to burn the spot and casting off to the front/sides of the point.   I commonly will use one of three ways or methods to hold/ position my boat – first is the common anchor & rope – total PIA but once you know how to do it – it works.  Did it for years – still do in the canoe and will continue to do so.  Then there’s ‘holding’ on a spot with the trolling motor – I do not like to do that but will when I have to.  The new Ultrex with the spot-lock is sweeping the bass fishing world – I’m not ready to cash in the Fortrex just yet.  So my left foot will continue to get a workout until I am.   Then there are the shallow water anchors – for me, it’s the Talons – might be the best investment I ever made after the Lund itself – Love the Talons.  Super effective.

    So along with boat position is lure presentation.  I cannot effectively fish ANY BAIT with a strong crosswind – cannot do it – tried as I may – just hate it.  So I’m either casting straight downwind or into the wind – either way, I can feel my bait, there’s no big sag or bend in my line and most importantly, I catch fish. 

 So when deciding where & how to position my rig, I’m generally either getting the wind right off the bow or right off the stern.  Now that’s all well & good but if the structure I want to fish doesn’t offer an area that is 10 or 11 feet deep for me to Talon down into – I’m pretty much stuck doing the one-legged trolling motor dance the whole time – it’s a skill and until you can do it well – you might struggle but it’s something you’ll need to be able to do – unless you’ve got the $3K plus to drop on and Ultrex – but I’m not bitter.

  When considering my position, I do not want to throw my rigs/ boats shadow down onto the fish if I can help it.  I want to be a FAR away as I can, provided I can still present my baits effectively (meaning reach the fish with the cast).  That said, I rarely like my baits landing & crashing right on the prime area or the spot on the spot.  Rather I prefer them to land some distance beyond that which will enable me to ‘work’ the bait to the fish, hopefully.   Steady wind makes wind current; which can be a factor depending on speed, direction, duration, and water depth.  There are times when the bass will only bite when a bait is come down current, meaning cast into the wind.  I’ve had times whereby simply re-positioning the boat so as to present baits for the opposite direction, I turned a “There’s no fish here spot” into a repeated camera & scale use day.  I like those.  

   I do something I call “Poach Prevention”.  Many lakes I fish have a fairly decent recreational boat population – pontoons, ski boats, and the dreaded jet ski.  And it’s all good, they have every right.  Most times I’m on & off the water well before they roll out of the rack but on the days when the bite may be extended, boat position can be key. This also works to an extent regarding other anglers, although you might not make many new friends doing it.   Clearly it’s Always Safety first, so I would never place my rig in any spot or position that would place me or anyone else in harm’s way, and I’m always in complete compliance with all local, state & federal rules & regulations – However, using my rig as a buffer between me & the spot / fish I’m on, can be pretty important.  And nowhere is this quite as obvious as when the pontoon parade gets on the lake in the summer right before sunset.  They all travel about the same distance from shore and go around and around and around the lake well into the night.   Unfortunately several of my best spots are right on their route.  And unless steps are taken, they will cruise ride up alongside my rig and want to have a nice talk and offer drinks and all kinds of generous propositions. I usually not interested.  And I love it when they go between me and the bank – especially when there’s like only 1 cast distance in there – OK I don’t love that.  So Poach Prevention is really a thing.

12poundbass ~ OMG A-Jay this is pure gold! I'm reading these multiple times each (I usually need to do that to retain the knowledge) and I'm obviously saving these as well. 

   Something I forgot to mention on chapter two is the great tip you gave to hold a couple smb (legal size) hostage for a bit to see what they're munching on. The two lakes that I know have brown bass, have perch and bluegill as the primary forage. I imagine there are crawdads as well, no gobies down here. 

  A couple things that really hit home with me on the first reading of chapter 3 is the location of the drop off in relation to the sun. Maybe I missed it but I'm guessing you want the sun directly hitting the drop off? The west and north in the morning ECT? 

  The other tip that really made a light bulb go off is you mainly or almost exclusively (I'm putting words in your mouth) target drop offs where the primary and secondary drops are no more than a boat length or two apart. I haven't spent a whole lot of time yet studying maps but I'm guessing that could potentially eliminate a decent chunk of water. 

   This is therapeutic for you, it's a little torturous for me. I want on that water so I can start applying these. I've got plenty going on so this winter will fly right by. I think once we get settled in I'll be sitting in my chair with the Garmin in my lap hopefully eliminating water (IF the map card has these lake with 1' contours). 

  I sound like a broken record, but I can't say it enough, thank you so much for taking time out of your life to share with me the information you've worked so hard to figure out and learn! 



A-Jay ~ You're Welcome - I am really glad that you're finding this helpful.  Clearly this is info that is mostly (but not totally) applicable to the smb lakes of this state and any that are similar other places.  I learned a good majority of it here so that's what this deal is about. 


I omitted a few important things in my 'structure' submission (not purposely) that I will need to add.  It's mostly on Points, Humps & saddle areas - all prime stuff.  Also some more on bottom composition.  I'll do that along with a bit more later today - 

Hang in there. 


Here's some answers to your thoughts - please keep asking whatever you'd like as we go on.

If it's something I've covered I'll clarify, if it's 'coming soon' I'll let you know.  


Yes sun on the drop off if possible when the waters a 'warming' and just the opposite once they get 'hot'.    I recognized the greatness of drops in the shadows while hunting walleye.  Been able to get a few during the day by fishing in 'the dark water'.  This deal is all about angles - the height of the sun vs the terrain (hills, high tree line etc) and the steepness or angle of the drop off.  Think of looking from a dark room out into a lighted on - that's what the fish are doing. 


Have a good one . . .


12poundbass~   I just finished reading chapter 3 again on my lunch and had a question. You mentioned them cruising the flats. You also said they're nomadic. How far do smb travel away from their point while cruising the flats? It's been a couple months since I picked up Spoonpluging so my memory is a little foggy, but I believe I read that they'll travel up and down the same points throughout the day. Will they stay with that same point for days, weeks, months, or even years? Or beings that they're nomadic will they travel to different points throughout the year as they see fit, or as their seasonal pattern changes? 


That's a couple questions I had from this chapter. I'm looking forward to bottom composition, I feel I have a few questions regarding that, and you'll probably answer them. Either way I'm sincerely enjoying this! 



A-Jay ~ Short answer YES !  I'll cover this more in the next installment.


As for 'distance traveled' I will cover this too but for now - In my mind - it doesn't matter how far they go or even where really because I do not chase them.  I ALWAYS want to be fishing where they are "COMING TOO" not where they are going to.  Especially if I think when they get there they will be chilling in a neutral state and not very interested in feeding.  

So if I am fishing where the food is either at or also coming to - my odds Go Way UP ! 



12poundbass ~ Ok gotcha. I believe you just refreshed my memory from reading Buck's book. So if they're coming up or right next to a point chances are they're active or could be triggered to be active or if they're at the bottom or cruising the flats they're usually "chilling"? 


A-Jay ~  By & large You are correct Sir 

Now if we could just get the bass to follows. 

We'd be all kinds of Golden.


 A-Jay ~

Chapter IV


More on Structure, Some Cover & Boat position


Points – Mr. Perry defines a point as “an extrusion in the shoreline that extends into and under the water” – and I’m good with that. 

 Either way, ‘points’ can be total smb magnets - all year round.  Like all structure, there’s some that are better than others.  IME, the same factors that make a point attractive to bass are often very similar to what makes most any good smb holding structure.  If deep water access is close enough – smb can be close to or on a point all day.  If not, they may only use it briefly throughout the day to come & feed. 

  So when fishing a point, where the fish may be located on it can be dictated by a few things; the season, the wind, the sun, the type of prey they are looking for, of course, the type of bottom composition, what type of cover may be on it (if any) and lastly the depth of water on & around it. 

  I almost always prefer to approach any point from its shallowest or nearest to the bank end.  I’ll fish the ‘inside turn’ before I get to it as not to ‘burn’ (spook off) any smb that might be up there. ( the inside turn at the base of any point can be a good spot and even a pattern at times) If the light is low enough and there’s sufficient water on top of the shallowest areas of the point, I’ll fish that first.  If that’s the deal I’ll stay off it and keep catching.  If not, I’ll move up onto the point and position my rig to fish the sides & eventually, off the front.  On some Big points, the ‘Top’ can be pretty massive and by covering it all, there could be may fish to be had.  So there’s no need to hurry through it all looking to fish deeper if that’s where they are. 

    OK so now it’s time to approach & fish the ‘sides’ of the point.  Let’s take a second and discuss a few things.   As mentioned, much of the water we’re fishing is clear; add some sun and a boat shadow – there’s plenty going on here that can alert the smb to my presence well before I make a single cast.  And that’s The Last thing I want to do, is ‘burn’ the spot – especially after I went through all the time & effort to ‘sneak in’ from the bank.  So, if I don’t need it, I turn off all my electronics.  May not help, but if they’re off, they definitely can’t hurt.  I’ll go easy on the Fortrex – and even using the wind a bit if it can help get me where I want to go.   I’ll often make the choice of where to come up on the point based on the wind.  But that can work two ways; it can help move me up and along but it can also blow me onto fish I don’t want to burn, so choose wisely Grasshopper.  This is where the Talons really earn their keep.  I think you can see why.     

     Points that have cover (weeds, wood, just about anything that offers smb or even better, a whole school of bass, a place to relate to), is what we’re discussing here.  Often the bigger or more cover is better, especially if it can & does hold bait.  But sometimes one rock or one dead tree or one 10 ft square weed or grass patch, can hold several very respectable brown bass – you just never know.  They all but disappear on it.

 Here a few more things to think about when fishing a point and even a drop off for that matter.  The first one is something I call “The Angle of the Dangle” ( I know – sounds silly)  And it has to do with the type of bait I’m presenting, the depth & angle of the structure I’m fishing, My boat position, and finally, rod angle & line.  Wow, that’s a lot of stuff.  OK so here it is;


  Imagine you are casting your ¾ oz football jig & craw off the end of the point from your rig that is positioned back on top in the shallow area.  You expect the bass to be positioned right at the bottom of the drop in front of you in 20 feet.   You plan on casting past them and then working the bait back to them and eventually up the ‘slope’ of the point or drop off. 

  Here’s where ‘the Angle of the Dangle’ comes into play.  If you’re too far back from the ‘strike zone’ – as you work your bait along and to the bottom of the drop, at some point your line is going to come into contact with the bottom at the top of the drop in front of you.  Might not help detect strikes, might fray the heck out of your line on a big hookset if its rock or zebra mussels, might jack up the way your bait is presented if there’s a thick weedline on top as well.  So none of that is very good at all. 

And if you’re positioned too close to the bottom of the drop and you’re not watching your rod angle, you could end up having your bait start to ‘come up’ well before it even reached the fish.  This can be especially prevalent with moving baits.  That’s not the best case scenario either.   So what’s a Basshead to do ?  You fix the angle of the dangle that’s what – reposition the boat so that whatever bait you’re presenting is running where & how you want & need it to.  This gives you the best opportunity to first elicit a strike, then hopefully be able to detect it and then hook & land that trophy.   SO yea – the “Angle of the Dangle” - it’s actually a thing after all.


Sunshine, Wind speed & direction, as well as any current (windblown or otherwise) on a point can dictate where & when smb may be located on it.

The windward side has been productive for me but the leeward side has too; often enough that I’ll always check it all. It’s usually one or the other but rarely both at the same time – unless it’s pretty calm.  Once the bass shows themselves one way or the other, I can focus on that side.  But if the bite suddenly slows or stops, all bets are off and I’m fishing it all until I reestablish contact.  The front or off the end of the point can sometimes be the “Juice” – sometimes it’s the only areas used – especially if it’s the closest to deep water.   Early & late in the day, when the sun is lower in the sky, there’s a definitive shade or shadow line somewhere on most points & drop offs.  Think about looking from a dark room into a lighted room.  Fish it.  It’s worth the effort.


How about Humps & Saddle areas – well there may be no definitive definitions for these but it’s not really that complicated.  A hump in my world is a shallower area mid-lake (away from the shore) – a spot that rises up as compared to the surrounding bottom.  And a Saddle is often defined as a low spot or area between two humps or between two islands; either way, a Saddle is an area that’s got defined boundaries formed by shallower depths surrounding it.

 All that said, both are great places to find & catch feeding brown bass. 

I’ll approach both in a similar manner; meaning taking all of the previously mentioned factors into account, make a plan A & B & sometimes even C & D, depending on how it goes, and then execute it.  Again, Humps & Saddle areas that have cover on or around them, can be better than those without.

  But there are times when Brown bass do not ‘need’ that much cover to hold them, so just because something may look sort of barren, may not be a reason to totally disregard it.  If there’s a decent depth change, bait around, and it has desirable bottom composition or change, I’m poking around a bit until it proves to be ‘dead water’.  


Bottom Composition ~  There are so many lakes up in this part of the country and almost all of them have some population of brown bass.  The variety of different habitats that the smallies thrive in is amazing and a testament to their adaptability.

 From the big, clear, cold deep water inland lakes, to the many smaller shallower colored water lakes, each comes with a mixed bag of bottom types & composition.  

 While I do believe it plays a role in helping both locate and catching brown bass, as well as helping to eliminate water (which is a biggie), I have caught smallies on, near and around almost every type of bottom there is here; including but not limited to sand, gravel, weedy, muck & mud, rocks & boulders.   So I rarely use bottom composition alone as a determining factor as to whether or not a spot or area can be productive.

  Now if & when I believe the smb may be keying in on a certain bait, it helps to know the habitat that the bait prefers on that lake, and that does include the type of bottom.  Gobies for instance (Scooby Snacks for Brown Bass) eat aquatic insects, zebra mussels & snails among other things and will often be found on hard and rock bottom areas.  Perch & crayfish exist over & on a cross-section of bottom compositions in the waters I fish.  Most times it’s a combination of cleaner sand (perhaps with a little eelgrass) to softer weed-filled deal.  Smallies will come a long way, go surprisingly shallow to feed on both when the mood strikes them. 

   Bottom composition changes can be a magnet at times.  Smb can be found using the line of change as a place to sit, ambush prey and even travel along.  It’s another “edge”.   The Soft to the hard bottom line, Sand to gravel, Rocks to gravel, Gravel to bigger stones or boulders, all can be potential smb holding areas or spots.  I always look at bottom composition and changes, as another piece of the puzzle.  In combination with the structure, depth, and cover, it’s something that matters and can pay dividends if & when it’s the key. 

 One specific instance when Bottom composition or change becomes readily apparent & really gets my attention is during those wonderful times when I find “the Spot on the Spot”.  Some examples are; a small hard bottom hump in the middle of a soft bottom weed patch, a 10 ft patch of gravel at the base of a sandy point, a pile of bowling ball sized stones at the top of a gravel drop off.  These descriptions are some of my favorite ‘waypoints’ and real places I visit often. There are plenty more examples, but I believe you get the point.  

   Now let’s talk about Wood.  Trees, timber, branches, logs, call it what you want, I referring to sunken dead trees on the bottom of the lake.  I will look for and hunt this cover down tirelessly; especially in lakes that do not have much cover to begin with. At some point, Smallies here will be on this stuff regardless of the bottom composition.  The bigger the better – the better.   Like most any cover adult smb will use, deep water access needs to be readily available, it cannot be getting hammered by anglers all day and the harder it is to find – the better.   Wood that’s super visible and or connected to the bank can be good.  But out of the way, deeper than the visibility allows without electronics type stuff, is almost always better.  And in the early season, and I mean super early season - very soon after ice out, once the sun has had even a day or two to warm some of this wood up – half the smallies in the lake will be gravitating to it - like stink on a monkey.  I’ve had some killer days & weeks in the early spring, fishing ‘The Wood Pattern’.   Depending on its depth, it can be better at different times of the year in accordance to where the fish & their preferred food are at.  Basically, the shallower wood is good early & later in the season and the deeper stuff often comes into its own mid-season and then again very late season.  What ‘shallow & deep’ is, depends on the body of water.  

 So I haven’t gone in depth regarding baits or tackle yet. 

Although it is no doubt important, (and way more fun than humps & mud bottoms) IME baits & tackle is almost a Minor Detail when compared to Where, When & How to locate smb.


12poundbass ~ Yup after reading all of this, the bait and tackle seem pretty small and irrelevant (obviously it is important, but not as much as what you've shared). The wheels are spinning, my brain is in overdrive, and the pieces are starting to fall into place. 

    I have one question, I imagine I'll have more once I read it again. How does a bottom composition change show up on your electronics? Harder returns (hard bottom) shows up brighter than a softer bottom correct? 

   These little details you are sharing are things I would completely overlook. One that sticks out is "the angle of the dangle". It may be a small detail but can have huge consequences if it's overlooked. 

   Hell up until you ended this chapter I had forgotten I even asked you about smb lures and tackle LOL! Not to sound greedy here but there's a lot more room for this sponge to soak up info, so if you've got the time, more info., and are willing we can put the lures and tackle off indefinitely. ?


A-Jay ~

Sweet ~   Bottom comp does show up on electronics - how exactly varies by brand. Changes do as well.   On the h-birds - soft, medium & hard bottoms are indicated by color & the 'thickness of the band'- Thin & red means harder - Fat & yellow is soft or mud.  And of course I can change the 'color palate' to one of 12 different versions - You'll need to be reading your manual of whatever unit(s) you have (sorry I forget) - also if it has a 'Demo mode',  play with it over the winter and learn to read what you're looking at.  Never really seems as straight forward out on the lake as it does in Demo but it's still a HUGE HELP once you learn it - I would go into like 8 ft or so - places I could still see the bottom clearly and then compare what my eyes were seeing to what the H-Birds were doing - that helped a ton; Especially with SI and the 360.  Gave me the confidence to 'believe' what I was seeing on the screen was what I 'thought' it was.  

  Like I mentioned (or tried to) bottom comp is one of the last pieces of the puzzle that I worked on - still am in many regards.  Caught a ton of good ones pretty much disregarding it mostly, but as I started to broaden my Brown Bass learning horizons, I began to look at what 'the books' said compared to what I was doing & being successful at.  That's when I realized it does play a part and it's something that can help 'fine tune' a location or a spot on the spot.  

  So books & reading and all that, is all well & good, but you'll still learn a Boat Load more by yourself out on the water than you will ever get from me here - even your 'skunk' or fishless days are learning opportunities - all be it tough ones.  Still, plenty to get out of it if you can look back at what you did and where you did it, and compare that to the conditions - you'll take something useful from it. May help you have a few less skunky days - but you'll still have them - we all do.  Just don't have to like it. 


12poundbass ~Reading your writings and Mr. Perry's writings make it seem so easy to go out and catch them and a ton of them day in and day out. Obviously, that isn't the case.


The reason I labeled this PM, Brown Bass Tools was that I've learned the lures are just one of many tools needed to be a successful angler. Everything I learn from you, the books, this site, TV shows, my electronics, to my own trial and error are all tools one needs to really catch numbers and often times big numbers frequently. Over the years I only had a few tools I gained from reading Bassmaster, I had no electronics so I was basically limited to what the water clarity would let me see. I was basically left to beating the bank, which my wife and I and now my son have had a blast and have made many great memories over the years. This year I've upgraded 'toolboxes' and it has way more tools, but there's still plenty of room for more! 


You gave me a good tip about using your electronics in demo mode to get acclimated to what I'm seeing. The Garmin unit I'm able to hook up and use it the house and I have. The Humminbirds I'll have to look into getting a power chord I can use in the house. I actually had it on a split screen, 2d and DI so I could see what things look like on both. Doing that on the water where you can see the bottom and compare is a great tip! 

12poundbass ~ That TW order was placed last Friday, so I'm still holding out for the big smallmouth order. 


A-Jay ~ Sorry I dragged my feet on this - So to that end I'll offer this info.


CHAPTER V   Smallmouth baits for Michigan


 I'm keeping this as basic as possible – perhaps pick up a few here & there when you can.


 KVD 300 Jerkbait and the 300 deep diver top two colors for me are Yellow perch & Clear Ayu.  Do not need anything else if they are gonna eat a jerk bait - they eat one of these.

  KVD Treble size 4


Green Pumpkin SK Rage bug with a 4/0 Gamakatsu Regular EWG (not superline) on a tungsten swing head - You know the deal. 


SK Rage Bugs and Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grubs will work on 1/4 - 3/8 ball head, football head - as a jig trailer - on the back of a vibrating jig, Texas rigged in cover - and just about anywhere else you can think of. 


SK RES 1/2  or the new 2 Tap RES also 1/2 oz in Brown Craw, Natural Bream, Orange Bream - optional - is yellow perch. (I'll be talking about ALL these baits in the next chapter)

they don't make the 2 tap in yellow perch though   KVD Treble size 2 in front 4 in back


SK KVD 1.5 Squarebill in same colors as above - The Black Back/Chart is good too.

TW sells the silent version only - Bass Pro shops is the ONLY place to getting the Rattle Models - Which I throw quite a bit too - https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/strike-king-kvd-rattling-square-bill-crankbaits  Colors are listed a little different  - Natural Bream & Natural Pumpkinseed are good.   KVD treble size same as RES


Spro Mike McClelland RkCrawler 55 Crankbait (not mentioned much - but my #1 mid-depth crank) FANTASTIC ! Phantom Brown & Red Crawfish - Both Wicked Good. 


SK Burner spinnerbait - 1/2 oz  Chart/White DBL Wil Slv/Gld  and Sexy Blue Back Herring DBL Wil Slv/Slv

  The trailer is Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Blade Minnow in Pearl & KVD Magic


SK Sexy Dawg walking bait - Sexy Ghost Minnow KVD Treble all 2's


Megabass Pop Max in GP Perch - can keep stock hook but watch them closely.


Z-Man/Evergreen Chatterbait Jack Hammer 3/8 & 1/2 oz - in color Bhite Delight and or Green Pumkpin with a Yamamoto Zako trailer in Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin White Laminate or Green Pumpkin Lemon Laminate.  


 Duo Realis G-Fix Vibration Tungsten Lipless Crankbait - get the "68" size - it's 3/4 oz - sounds big but it's not.  go with Ghost Gill OR if you can find it -  a color called HYPNOTIC - really good.  - Tule Perch ND is good too. 


Drop Shot baits - Strike King Drop Shot Half Shell OPT, Strike King Dream Shot, Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Caffeine Shad Jr. (really good) 


Again I use KVD Elite Trebles a ton.  Mostly sizes 1, 2, 4, & some 6's on smaller baits. 


 I use a ton of SK stuff, the hard baits are decent & durable, the soft baits are as well they are all usually readily available and the $$$ is pretty fair.  And they catch fish !


So with this list, you'd pretty much have your bases covered - most of the season too.  

Now that I look at this list - I could feel very good taking everything else out of my rig and just using this.  Well, except for some jigs I guess . . . 


Hope it's not too much and it's what you were looking for. 


12poundbass ~ The spinnerbait do you use a trailer hook? I've never used a spinnerbait more than a handful of times. Looks like a good list you've given me. I'll probably be making my order tomorrow or Monday so perfect timing. 


I'm glad to hear the lesson isn't over and there's at least one more chapter coming. I know you've said it's therapy for you, and I've really enjoyed it as well! I can't say it enough Andy thank you for taking time out of your busy life and doing this for me



A-Jay ~ I rarely use a trailer hook – many anglers swear by them.  If I’m using a trailer – no trailer hook.  If there’s no trailer – and the cover is light enough, I may a trailer hook.  I use a trailer probably 90% of the time.


12poundbass ~ Since you liked my post in 'the latest sale thread' you can see I'm putting your help, tips, and suggestions into motion by picking up a couple spinning reels. Since I only have 1 and have only had it one season I figured I better pick a couple up. Now I need to hunt for a spinning rod or 2. As far as action what do you recommend? My thinking is one specifically for drop shoting, another for jerkbaits and poppers, and one for finesse maybe. What are your thoughts?


A-Jay ~  Here's what I'll do -  I'll list the rods, reels & line I use for "the List of baits" I sent you.

Not because that's all that will work obviously, but to give you an idea of what to look for.  

Give me a few minutes - I've got time and will do in now.

 But before I go I have to add this -   And you already know this but I'm going to say it anyway.

 As for what type, brand, and price point of tackle one has & fishes: while I believe quality gear is important and enjoy using decent gear - there are a ton of companies these days that make very effective & fishable gear that does NOT cost a ton.  Most all of the Mid-line price point stuff is really good.  Some brands are better than others but few are really bad.  Reels that come in a 'clam' pack - I guess I might avoid those . . . .

  Either way, they are tools and bassheads who have 'skills' will catch and guys who don't (and depend on spending a ton of $$$ to make up for it) - not so much. 


Balance, sensitivity, tip-heavy, super light, great tip, tons of back bone, all this stuff sells gear but in the end, if a setup is suitable for the job, feel good in my hand, is of reasonable quality & durability that I can fish it effectively and expect it to last a while - I'm all about it.

Gear may not need to be a family heirloom past down to the next 5 generations to be effective.


Back in a bit with the goods . . . . 


12poundbass ~ As far as gear goes I'm not a high end guy. My reels are the Abu Max reels and have suited me well. I have the Revo SX that I reviewed this summer and that's my most expensive reel. I have a KVD Tour composite cranking stick that my most expensive, a couple W&M Skeet Reese rods that are pushing the $100 price point and the rest are your average $30-60 Abu Rods. I've made it this long with them, so I really know no difference, which is good especially with Liam being 8 and getting more into fishing, and really into football the fishing budget will stay low for probably another 10 years LOL. 


Basically what I'm interested in is the action and somewhat the length. Example for drop shotting would a 7' rod be adequate? Medium action or ML, or something completely different. 


I remember watching I believe The Bass Pros and Rick Clunn was talking about keeping rod selection simple. I don't remember verbatim but I thought he said all he uses and all one needs is 6'6" and 7' M MH rods. I'm more about keeping things simple. 


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A-Jay ~


 When I use Mono leader it's big game, Braid main lines are Suffix 832 green and fluorocarbon line & leader is Seaguar InvisX or Tatsu - And I use this as well as AsbrazX for leader around line shedding cover like zebra mussels. I buy reel fillers spools for leaders and bulk spools for mainlines in Everything (braid & Flouro) 


 I like spinning & casting for jerkbaits ~   both sticks are medium / fast and on the 'shorter end.  6' 9"-10" is the magic spot for me on both - for line 10-15lb braid on spinning gear (suffix 832) and a 10-12lb big game (green) mono leader about 10-12 ft.

All 10-12 flouro on casting gear.  


Swingheads, casting & football jigs, most Texas-rigged plastics, swimjigs and 4"-5" swimbaits.   - 1/2 - 3/4 oz - I like 7' 2"-3"  MH casting gear - both fast & X fast work OK but I like Fast better.  15-20 lb fluorocarbon 


Squarebills, Mid-depth cranks, vibrating jigs, spinnerbaits - all on 12-17 lb flouro with a 7'4" MH KVD composite Cranking stick.


Lipless (RES) Same line as above on a 7' KVD MH Cranking stick - I like the shorter rod to rip the RES out of the grass - 


Top water - very close to the Jerkbait stuff above - except I will ALWAYS USE BRAID MAIN LINE and a mono leader. regardless of spinning or casting.  I'm ALWAYS looking for casting distance and the braid ensures good hookups.  Popper & walkers are both easier to work with braid too.  For throwing some of the heavier walkers 3/4 oz - I will use a 7' M Fast spinning rod (but it's pretty stout (an older Quantum Tour rods that may be close to some brands MH blanks - 


DROP SHOT rods - I have 3 different ones (length & actions) that I use in specific situations. 

I use only braid & flouro leaders for all drop shots presentations. (all my spinning gear is braid now that I think about it - tried flouro mainline last season - disaster for me -  major line twist.)

-First one is for my 'light' stuff - 8lb braid / 4-8 lb leader and light weights - 7 ft ML fast stick.

-Second is for mid-range - perhaps longer casts - 10 lb braid 6-10lb leader and D/S weights to 3/8's  Deeper or windier stuff - 7"1" M Fast stick 

-Third is for deeper and a little bit bigger D/S baits & weights - think 5" caffeine shad and 1/2 - 3/4 oz D/S weights -  Deep & or Stiff winds - 7-4" M Fast stick -  


*** My 2 favorite D/S rods are Fenwick EliteTech Smallmouth rods - the Green (Older) ones - with the fat cork grips.  

 I am slowing moving away from the 'tiny' D/S hooks too - starting using some models that were a little bigger & seemed to keep the bigger smallies pinned better - but they need to be used on a rod that will drive them and most ML wands are a little too whippy - more to follow once I get a handle on that.  Also, my nose-hooking days are just about over too.  I am really liking using a straight shank hook and rigging it along & out the top (back) of all shad and even craws.  


So there ya go - get back to me with what I've omitted and or all questions. 


12poundbass ~ Absolutely perfect! This answered everything, thank you!


A couple of questions I have are about weeds. Typically at what depth do weeds quit growing (I know it's kinda hard to say for sure because of water clarity)? And how much do weeds factor in to a good area and a not so good area?


A-Jay ~ Good & Good Question ~ 



 Here are my thoughts on weeds - they are a necessary evil because they hold bait & crayfish and BECAUSE they also hold the food for bait - and crayfish - and I think crayfish actually eat some weeds too.  Might be dreaming that though . . .

 Either way unlike green bass, that will often be right IN the weeds - most of my brown bass hunting takes place around, near, over, under and in-between 'the weeds.'  So Although I have pitched into 'weeds' to catch smallies - most of the time I'm probing around them.  Sometimes I need to be closer than others and often that's depended on light levels - activity levels of the fish, what the weather's been doing lately (barometer crashing) & finally water temp & direction - rising, falling or steady (it's always doing one of them).  

 As for depth, you're right depending on any number of things - basically the clearer the water - the deeper you'll find them.  

 I like to fish the 'edges of weeds'.  

 The very bottom of a deep weed line - especially a sandy bottom, can be killer if the winds right.  Often I'll need to get very close or even go into the weed (coontail for instance). 

 Boat position is key as I need to drop whatever into the first few feet of weed, get it to the bottom and work it out onto the sand - usually 8 - 20 ft deep we're talking here.  Bass will take it when it comes out into the open. 

 Another sneaky deal is to switch that around 180 degrees.  Sit back over the weeds. Cast into open water - work the bait back along the bottom and pull it right into the bottom of the weed line - bass with stalk it and eat it often right before or right after it goes into the weeds  ~ I guess 'before it gets away'.

 And finally something worked parallel to that same weedline - doesn't always have to be deep but sometimes it's best - but unless the 'line' is long & straight or you can see it clearly - it's hard to work anything with trebles along there without getting a bunch of salad every cast.  But if you can or if they are willing to pop out of the weeds and strike as bait goes by -   Swim jig w/ craw or paddle tail, vibrating jig, a standard jig & craw, Just about any Texas-rigged plastic, a plain old grub on a jig head - when there's too much weed action.   And any mid-depth crank if the opportunity presents itself.   (dig it into the bottom the whole way - it's like magic - even on super calm days) (That one’s top secret  think spro rock crawler) - I think you get the point.    


 So you're going to show up to your lake and see 'weeds' of various type at various depths and ask yourself - now what ? 

Well, there's no hard & fast answer - you have to fish it to find out.  But some of the info I passed here already in regards to structure & cover STILL ALL APPLIES just have to figure out what depth the bait & the fish are using that day 

 But here's the Great part of all of this - SMALLMOUTH are HOMERS.  When you find a place/area that has fish in April & May & then In June & Then in July & August, Then September and then October & November - unless there is catastrophic change of some kind (and sometimes there is) those (class) of brown bass can be there like clockwork EVERY YEAR at the same time.  Just waiting for you

 And when they are not - it's usually because something changed - like this past season with the Super Crazy Late Ice Out.  Jacked everything up.  But I will often stick to my guns and fish THE BEST PLACES REPEATEDLY - often starting much earlier than I "think" - just so when they do show up - I don't miss them.  I do that a ton early season and again in the late summer & early fall.  That's how I get on almost all of the Biggest smallies I catch - often means many long fishless hours days & even a couple of weeks in some places - but the reward is worth it for me - many 5's - 6's & even that 7lb smallie - I 'hunt' them down my friend - and you can too - it might not be something 'the family's' gonna enjoy a ton.   Guess you may have to pick your spots.


What else you got ??? Bring it, I'm on a roll !!! 


12POUNDBASS ~ Great info there. I'm glad I asked about the weeds, you gave some good tips, and some good ideas, also the tip 'SMB are homers' that one right there could be absolutely priceless! Oh and the Spro Rock Crawler is on this list for sure. 


Ok you said bring it on, so who am I to not oblige? You mentioned barometric pressure, and weather, lets go down this road. I haven't reached that section of Spoonpluging yet. IME after a nasty cold front rolls in the fish are very shy. What's your experience and how do you approach chasing after the brown ones after a front has moved in?


A-Jay ~


Sponplugging has quite a bit of good info - especially considering when it was written.

Pursuit of giant bass by Bill Murphy -  - even though it is centered around giant green bass helped with the mindset of 'hunting' down trophies - brought some of that with me from my days chasing stripers up & down the east coast as well.  (much of what I do now 'feels' like that). 

 Something to think about.

 OK, so weather changes then – Since retiring, I can fish mostly when I want to - I usually do not go when 'the conditions' are super bad.  But when you go when you can go is the deal, there are some 'generalities' that I keep in mind. 

  First, some supplemental info - 11 years ago (2007) when I retired, moved from the coast to the north woods, I was in a similar position you are now - just getting back into a situation (ability & opportunity) to fish for smb again.  I always loved it from the first one I caught in Massachusetts in 1970 something - yup I'm that old.  Anyway, the reason I went there is that I had to go back and read stuff & study maps and read more stuff and study more maps and all that was 'helpful'.   But what was more important, at least for me, was to get out there and fish.  

 So what does this have to do with weather & fronts and how brown bass move & perhaps where do they go ?   As I stated previously, my preference is to fish for fish that are looking to eat.  So where the general consensus is 'bass shut down' during abrupt weather changes; especially cold fronts -  IME I have to agree to a large extent.  What I cannot say for sure as to why, but fishing on the day of & for some time after a front passes, it's often tough sledding.  No way around it.  For brown bass, that often means they are 'tighter' to deep cover or suspending over deep water - However, the more IMPORTANT factor there for me is THEY ARE NOT LOOKING TO FEED !  So although I may be 'fishing for them' - that's about where it usually ends - cause there ain't a whole lot of catching going on.  

  If there are any 'bite windows' at all - they are usually Very brief and the numbers & size of fish rarely are "the best days ever". 

    So it pays big dividends to be a Weather watcher and have some knowledge of how wind & waves can affect the waters you fish and I'll tell you why.  There's often a very nice (wide open) feeding window at some point 'PRECEEDING' a cold front or weather change.  

  So being on the water then is good !  When it actually occurs is somewhat tricky to pin down - here are a few of my personal moves.

  The Bigger the 'front' is expected to be or Longer it is expected to take to pass - the earlier I like to get out on the water.  Meaning a 'big' front may mean that the smb might start looking to feed TWO full days ahead of it.  Smaller ones may mean only one day ahead of it is the time.  And this doesn't necessarily mean bass are jumping in the boat, may simply mean the 'normal' feeding areas & windows may have more & or bigger bass at them and might start a little earlier or last a little longer.  

  This is not something that is "written" in many articles or periodicals on the subject, but it's real.  And I know that MANY bassheads never get on this and miss out on it entirely - especially up here - cause I'm the only one out there.   

    Often in advance of a front - there may be wind & clouds - as long as it's safe I'm fishing- especially if the sun is peaking through half the time too.  

 "Warming" winds in advance of a front in the spring & fall can often trigger a bite.  Here that usually means something from the South or even South Westerly.   Summer may be one time when 'cooler' wind & some clouds at the lake can be a 'good bite day' especially if it continues for a couple of days.  Initially the start of it can trigger a bite but unlike other seasons - the bite can sometimes get better as it continues - as bait has to 'reposition' because of the wind or current, this makes them vulnerable to the bass - (something I learned chasing stripers - happens every 6 hours at every tide change and the fish take advantage of it to feed).

     So while many anglers will 'seek out' the leeward sheltered areas when the winds up a bit - and there's no doubt it's easier to fish - I have ALL BUT ABANDONED that in the warmer months - If I can fish it safely & effectively (which can be a bear at times - Talons help here) - and I think there's bait and or active bass in a spot - I'm fishing it. And if I find bait balled up on a windy bank - but the bass are not there - Yet; I will sit on them for a while or at the very least come back to them during 'a bite window' and see if they've moved in on them.  They almost always do at some point.  

  I do tend to look for warmer sheltered stuff early season (but I'm sure I already mentioned that somewhere along the way). 

  So if one were to look back at my videos - and take note of what time of day, and specifically - what the weather was doing while I'm catching brown bass - you may note a trend.  Usually some sun, some wind- rarely other anglers on the water - and it’s Not Raining!!!!   Topwater and drop shot bites for me are a calm water deal usually - so times when that happens I look to fish those presentations when I can.  Other than that - some wind & sun are where it's at.  If a front coming even better.  When it's sun & wind for several days - even better.  If it suddenly cools in the summer - with sun & wind - even better.   Be a Weather watcher and know the forecast 3-5 days in advance - that's how to better predict when & where to fish.  As a retired USCG Boatswain's Mate Chief, it’s a way of life. (Always had to know the weather, my & other's lives depended on it). 

Is this making sense - ??? 

btw - there's a ton of 'stuff' in this PM 


12poundbass ~

You aren't kidding there's ton of 'stuff' in this one. Bill Murphy's book it on my to get list. I chatted with Team9nine and he said the two books an angler needs is Spoonpluging and Bill Murphy's book. 


It's good to know that the feeding window before a front can be open a couple days before. I knew that just before a front or storm could be good, I just thought it was hours not days, so that's a huge help. My best day ever came on a mid October day, a front started rolling in windy, overcast, and a real light rain. Danielle and I only caught 7 or so but the smallest was just under 3 lbs and the biggest was my PB at 5-7 I believe it was. Don't worry I learned more than just that. 


Ok let's talk about bait location, wind, and current. You mentioned bait balls getting pinned up against a windy point. Does the bait try to seek shelter so they don't get pinned up against a windy point or am I giving them to much credit? 

Example: you have a wind out of the SW do you look for the bait on the north or east side of the point/ledge? Same with current (I don't fish rivers/impoundments)? I've read that bass will hang out on the non current side and ambush bait and other fish as they go by. 


Another question. The one lake (connected together) I know has SMB in it and I'm going to target frequently in 2019 has an inlet and a small damed outlet, will there be a current because of the inlet and outlet? If so would the current be enough to be a factor?


A-Jay ~



 I think the bait's number one deal is 'survival'.  They are trying to live and not get eaten. 

 Along with that is 'food', they need to eat too - can't say for sure as to why smaller bait ends up on windy banks, and at the inside turns of points - but it does. 


  And just to clarify, there are TWO types (sizes) of bait to discuss here.  First is the basses food like Perch for instance - then there's the 'bait' the perch may be looking to eat, which is rarely anything that the adult bass are eating but it plays a pretty big role.  It's this 'smaller bait' could be little minnows, bugs, whatever, it this stuff that can be largely affected by wind & current; as it lacks the ability to overcome it and is often as the mercy, if you will, of the conditions.  The whole food chain thing - 

    So whatever the perch or smaller prey fish are looking to eat, can totally be affected by the current in the lake caused by the wind.   Watch the submerged weeds in some places that are exposed to the wind - they can & will tell you if there is any 'wind current - as they ALL will be bent over to go with the flow.  Bass will use this to their feeding advantage.   Often sitting just inside whatever current break or eddy there is - bass's bait will get there too but usually tighter to whatever cover there is.  Some day’s bass will seek out the windward side of the structure / cover - other times they will be on the back side or leeward side out of the wind & current.  May depend on what they are looking to eat & where it's stationed.     

     Once I get a few I'll usually fish that side first and only check the 'other side' once a bite stops on a spot before moving on.  It has been my experience that brown bass in lakes will not sit in strong current for very long - and may completely relocate or shut down until something changes.  So prolonged days of heavy winds I'm rarely on the water (regardless of season) and usually give that lake a few days - to calm down (or clear up if the water gets turbid).    


When I am out there in the 'wind', after I've hunted most of the places & deals previously mentioned with little to nothing to show for it - I will often start looking for bass on smaller isolated cover; one boulder, a weed clump, perhaps some shallow or mid-depth wood - and it's almost always a jig & craw deal.  Toss it in there bounce it a few times, let it sit for a second or two - a couple more throws and then I'm off to the 'next one'.  I will search this stuff out while having a sandwich mid-day in July mostly (dropping waypoints as I go) - when there's no bite to speak of - It's a good time for Recon . . . SI & the 360 have proven invaluable for this. 


   Wind doesn't seem to affect much when bass are looking to feed on crayfish, only that it can make it a better bite.  If the bass are looking to hunt these buggers in 'shallow' clear water - say less than 8 feet or so, some wind on the water can obscure the surface visibility just enough that the smallies may be a little more willing to go in & feed.  Might mean they stay a little longer in the morning or go in mid-day or go in a little earlier in the late afternoon.  

 Either way, that's ANOTHER example of the bite being better with Some Wind. 



    In the end, the way I approach all this is, I do not really have to know what the bass's food is looking for, nor do I have to know exactly how or why the wind affects an area as it does - I just need to know that it does and try to use it to help determine when, how & where to look for brown bass.  

   I say it that way because much of what has been written here has been realized by my experience & bass catches.  We each may perceive what we hear & read differently.  So how I 'spell it out' appears in my mind one way, but to another basshead, it might be something different.  Once we get out on the water and start 'doing own our thing' (which is exactly what all this stuff is) and start getting on fish our own way, and are able to occasionally repeat success, then we can articulate as to why, how, when & where with our own version of 'Brown Bass Tools': which will make perfect sense to you. 


   What about water clarity?  Dirty or colored water ?- Colored water - perhaps a slight green tint can be very good.   Muddy, rain infused dirty water - especially cold / rising water - usually very bad - no bite at all - seems like the bass do not want to be in it at all and will relocate to be in clearer - probably easier to breath - water.  If the smallies live in a lake that's always tannic or has 'low' visibility - they are probably more adapted to it and it's no big deal.  But when routinely super clear lakes get muddied up - it's often no good until it clears or at the very least, I can find some cleaner water. 

 Some general water clarity 'guidelines' are; the dirtier the water - the closer to the bottom I am fishing.  The cleaner the water, the faster I am presenting my baits.  Seasons & water temps drive these choices as well.  But in colored water, I'm fishing baits on the bottom - still can be moving baits, but on the bottom; the cooler or colder the water, the more and or longer I may pause a bait.  Swing heads, crankbaits, deep jerkbaits, vibrating jig, swim jig, paddle tails, even a lipless or blade bait can be the deal.


***Old School Crankbait Tip for colored or even cold water; OVER Weight your bait so IT SINKS.  Suspending baits are good and floating cranks catch fish, but there are times when smallies will love & choke, a mid-sized crank that will sit on the bottom at rest - you can even work it like a jig over a clean(er) bottom.  Not even close to a new deal - Rapala made the Countdown (sinking) minnow like 50 years ago - but somehow - they seemed to really lose favor with bass anglers - don't know why - they catch the heck out of the bass.  I even do it with jerkbaits - Just don't talk about - Imagine paying all this money for a super suspending Megabass 110 only to really want it to sink like a rock !  Yup- Guilty as charged.  A couple of different ways to do it - Suspend strips (the little lead strips made by Storm) - or sometimes even just bigger trebles will do it - I've even used both on one bait - try it you might like it. 

 When this works - a swinghead will too.  A craw, a rage bug or a 3.5 - 5inch paddle tail swimbait are all great swinghead trailers for this. 


How am I doing ?  


12poundbass ~ You are the man! You're on such a roll you read my mind and added in water clarity which I was going to ask next. I'm going to go back through and read all these again for the third and some the fourth time and see what else I can come up with as far as questions go. 


I imagine once I actually get out on the water and start applying this information and tips I'll have a ton of questions. One thing I did catch I asked on the very first PM that went unanswered was the tube. I had to chuckle because it was so easy for you to overlook, you were like a kid in a candy store who had free reign of the merchandise when I asked about SMB! So I'm guessing you use SK coffee tubes? What size tube do you typically use, same with the tube head? When and where is the best time to use them and what presentation is best ?



A-Jay ~



Where do I start?  Such a simple & super versatile bait.  One that's been catching fat brown bass for a long time.  A bait that has perhaps fallen a little out of favor recently, something I've been guilty of the past two seasons myself.  Looking backing, that was probably a mistake.  A TUBE really is perhaps The One Brown Bass bait that I should almost always have tied on.  

  There's been a lot written about it and with good reason frankly: there's a lot to say.  

 It's common knowledge in many brown bass angling circles, just how many different ways & places a tube can be presented effectively, and how easy it is to fish.  Some may say that there is no wrong way to fish it.  Long before the 'stick bait' came along, the tube way was same deal for me:  Just whacking'em !  

 Rather than attempting to name each & every tube deal, I'm going to cover a few of my favorite & most productive.   

  First - a tube for me is almost always a hard(er) or at least semi-clean(er) bottom deal.  

  While a couple of inches of eelgrass is OK (and sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered) anything more than that, I'm usually presenting something else that will fish through (or over) any bottom cover a bit more effectively.

  And while Texas rigs are good & Tex-pose is popular - by & large, I prefer to fish tubes on the plain old tried & true, lead head, open jig.   I fish the standard 3.5 inch size the most but will do 4" and even 2.75 inch is some instances.  The SK Coffee tubes have been great.  And before that - and still, quite a bit now - the Provider Tackle 3.5 inch "Performance Series" tubes are one of my all-time favorites.  Great colors for clear water and super durable.  As for jig head weights - 3/8's get most of my fish but lighter & heavier have their place when fishing shallow & deep.  

 What a tube 'imitates' is anybody's guess - crayfish, little bottom bait - now the goby.  May not matter.  Pick one and go with it.  This one's easy to have confidence in. 

   What may not be a surprise, I fishing tubes in places & at times when brown bass are relating to the bottom.  For me - the clearer the water (better vis) the better.  Tubes can & do work when fished with a variety of "retrieves" - hop it, drag it, pop-it; whatever.  When the brown bass are looking to eat, these will all get bit.  

  I usually fish 1/2 oz & less on Medium spinning gear - 10-15 lb braid mainline and a 8-10lb  Fluorocarbon leader (AbrazX). Heavier than 1/2 oz, I'll either pump up my spinning gear (rod & line) or go to casting gear that will present, hook & land a spirited Smallie.  3/4 oz heads are reserved for deep (more than 20-25 ft) and or big wind & waves.  This size can & does get "thrown" on the jump by bass more than the lighter heads - so that's something to be aware of. 

  My standard 'way' to fish tubes is the same regardless of depth - I fish them like a jerkbait.

Meaning there's a couple of twitches & a pause.  How many twitches & how long a pause can be dictated by the water temp and the mood of the fish.  As mentioned previously, I believe smallies like to chase - so I like to offer them that opportunity - if they're willing.  I might keep a tube moving along with a series of twitches where the bait travels 2-3 inches, pauses for a split second and then moves another 2-3 inches - I may continue this for 4-5 feet and then pause . . . . . . for like 10 seconds . . . . . . and then do it again. One may need to 'practice' this in shallow water where you can watch your bait.  There's a tendency to 'move' it too far on each twitch, which seems to nullify its effectiveness.  So it's a good Idea to check first - it requires a small movement, especially with braid.  Using Fluorocarbon can make it a little easier to get the small movements, but I lose so much hook setting power on the long casts I like to make, that I don't use it; Zona swears by the Flouro for this - I can't do it.  So I stick mostly to the braid.

 So that's just an example of ONE way - there's no limit to the number of different ways to fish it - just like the jerkbait.  


  Of course, the old stand-by of 'drag & stop' can be all one needs to do to get a savage take. 

There's also what's often referred to as "Snapping a Tube", where a heavier head is used and the bait is literally 'snapped' 3-5 feet off the bottom and then allowed to fall back on a slack line.  The tube will spiral back down to the bottom - which is where the vast majority of the strikes will come from.  Can be deadly but will also twist the heck out of your line - I'll often use a small swivel between my braid & leader to help with that when doing this.


 I'm throwing tubes up & down drops - all around and up on top of humps, off the tip and both sides of points, along the bottom of deep weedlines and across a promising deepwater flat.  There's also a few times where I found some fat brown bass cruising up shallow and I'll use an 1/8 oz head and fish the tube like a stick bait (before I knew what a stick bait was).  So I'm dead sticking it more than I'm moving it.  This is in 2-5 feet of super clear water - fish can be very skittish and easily spooked.  So I'm well back from the fish, making as long a cast as I can and sort of letting the fish 'swim into the bait'.   I try to not to move the bait too far, too fast because the 'strike zone' is right there.   So the less I do with it- the longer it's there in their face.   Less is more in this instance.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it.





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1 minute ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Incredible amount of golden information. Thanks!

Thanks - 

And I'm betting you could add quite a bit to it yourself.



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Thanks A-Jay. I have been around the block a time or two for sure! But you guys have covered it all pretty well. Great job. What you need to do now is to find a publisher and co-ordinate a book writing. Guaranteed it'll become a best seller.

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17 minutes ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Incredible amount of golden information. Thanks!

And to think all I did was ask for a couple lure recommendations. ?

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14 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

And to think all I did was ask for a couple lure recommendations. ?

Sometimes that's all it takes . . . . 

You never know if ya don't ask



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1 hour ago, Janderson45 said:

Wow, thanks for putting all of this out there AJ, I’m excited to read through it all will report back with questions and thoughts in a week or two! 

You're Welcome ~

And I am just as excited to hear feed back, field questions but most importantly, To Learn what you and other members do & have success with.

Standing by 




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Sounds like this A-Jay guy knows a thing or two about smallies ?

Good read gents, sounds a whole lot like what I’m often doing over on the “other side “ of the Great Lakes. Now if this darn ice would just go away...

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Impressive exchange between you guys and I am glad you put it out here for all of us to see...Especially as I am a newer bass angler and live close to 12lbr we probably fish some of the same lakes..

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@A-Jay and @12poundbass thanks for posting this. I know I’m a long ways west from a-jay and not to sure about 12lb but I’m saving this and will continue to read. As I work through it I might have some questions that deal with a highland reservoir. Thanks again guys

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15 minutes ago, Swbass15 said:

@A-Jay and @12poundbass thanks for posting this. I know I’m a long ways west from a-jay and not to sure about 12lb but I’m saving this and will continue to read. As I work through it I might have some questions that deal with a highland reservoir. Thanks again guys

I'm about 2 hrs south of @A-Jay


I really enjoyed doing this with him, it's something I look forward to continuing once we get ice out.

Or sooner

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:12 AM, Crestliner2008 said:

Thanks A-Jay. I have been around the block a time or two for sure! But you guys have covered it all pretty well. Great job. What you need to do now is to find a publisher and co-ordinate a book writing. Guaranteed it'll become a best seller.

I agree wholeheartedly that you should turn it into a book. Your writing is very good. But I think you should go the epub route. Put it up on Amazon and Apple Books. 

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7 minutes ago, BassinCNY said:

I agree wholeheartedly that you should turn it into a book. Your writing is very good. But I think you should go the epub route. Put it up on Amazon and Apple Books. 

 Thanks & I certainly appreciate the kind words - 

If & when bassheads like yourself might be able use some of the info to catch a few here & there, I'm good.





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13 hours ago, A-Jay said:

 Thanks & I certainly appreciate the kind words - 

If & when bassheads like yourself might be able use some of the info to catch a few here & there, I'm good.





Yeah, but why not put something in print which would benefit all those newbies coming up the ranks? And for posterity! I think you should go for it. :)

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58 minutes ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Yeah, but why not put something in print which would benefit all those newbies coming up the ranks? And for posterity! I think you should go for it. :)

Thanks again @Crestliner2008

 But since the Bass Resource Forum membership is currently posted at close to 65,000 strong, (with probably 5 or 10 times that number of 'guests' visiting every day) and  is THE Premier bass fishing specific website on the Interwebz and has been for over a decade with no signs of slowing down, the way I figure it,

I just did.




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@A-Jay im not sure how to ask this but how does the presence of large palegic fish which as strippers influence smallmouth behavior and how they my relate to structure. I struggle locating them once late June-early July hits here. I’m sure the main body of the population is feeding on threadfin and/or gizZard Shad. What would you be looking for if this were your situation? 


Im still rereading again and taking notes for myself in the info shared.

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Pike, Muskie, Big Brown & Lake Trout as well as tons of Walleye, are often in waters the smallies are.

 Can't say for certain how the brown bass relates to the stripers in your area, but here the rule of gross tonnage applies.

Meaning, when brown bass are not the dominant species (or even a food source) they usually will not inhabit the 'prime' structure and or locations long if & when Old Mr. Big shows up.   They'll be else where but certainly can be located & caught.   As cooler early-season waters warm - most all of the bigger species here move to very deep water.  Only visiting the shallows to feed.  

Your Mid-summer struggles may have less to do with stripers and more to do with the brown basses usual summer habits.  If you're looking for them in the same places you found them in the spring, usually shallow(er), I'm going to say that may be where your problem lies.   Brown bass often move to their summer haunts which can and usually are, at least related to if not in, deeper water.  Deeper drop-offs,  main lake deep flats that have cover like rocks, boulders & even deep wood, can all hold summer fish.  Smallies can & still come shallow in the summer but it may only be super early & or late in the day or even at night depending on the forage they are after & perhaps the boating traffic. 

 Finding them is one thing, getting a bite is another.  Admittedly my success in the summer is not what I'd like it to be - Drop shots & spy baits are my go to quite a bit during the day.  Night ops & super early/late mid-week trips rule my routine, as the increase of recreational boating doesn't seem to inspire the fatties I'm looking for into biting.

 Still, I go when I can - but I know I may be doing more 'hunting', than actual fishing.



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Ok that makes sense what your saying. I will continue to probe that deeper water and see what I can work up. I’ve always wanted to spend time trying to figure out if the fish move out and relate to the drop offs along the main river channel or not during the summer. 


One othe question that comes comes to mind is your experience with dropping water levels in relation to smallmouth. The lake here will drop over 30’ during the course of the summer. What if any effect do you think this would have on them? Will the relate even harder to transition areas with more extreme contour changes? Steeper drops rather than long points? I know them pulling water generates current yet at the same time it’s dropping levels so I really struggle with this.


thanks again @A-Jay

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I have very little experience fishing the type of water level drops you've described.

While a couple of feet is common during the course of a season for me, a 30 ft change is just not something I've ever had to deal with.  I could only offer assumptions, which IME, are often very close to worthless.  So I'll not do that.

I will say such a drastic water loss certainly seems to offer a great opportunity to "SEE" all the shallow water cover - and I'd be taking notes & snapping pictures . . . 



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