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WRangler506

How often are you using 1/2oz plus baits for northern smallmouth?

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I fish Michigan and Ontario. How often are you using baits around 1/2oz total weight and higher? What baits or techniques, time of year, depth?

 

Im usually using lighter baits for smallmouth, around 1/4 to 3/8, and just wondering when/what all heavy baits are used, that require all these MH rods I keep hearing about. 

 

I do want to fish weeds more, since I stray away from them normally. Id like a MHF rod for this but unsure how much I would actually use it in MI and Ontario.

 

 

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I am generally a guy who uses smaller baits and spinning gear for smallies. Two heavier baits that I use where I prefer a MH bait caster are spinnerbaits and Whopper Ploppers. 

 

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The smallies where I fish hit on even the size 14 Husky Jerks.  Most fish smaller baits for them, but they are anything but lure shy.  Back when I musky fished Lake St Clair, we used to hook into them regularly trolling big baits for muskies.  

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I throw 1/2 oz+ football jigs in 25' of water for smallies in New England. (7' MH Veritas with a Daiwa Fuego CT)

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Only baits I'd use are probably a 1/2 oz red eye shad or maybe a 1/2 oz spinnerbait. I'm going to experiment fishing deeper this year but plan on starting with a 3/8 oz dropshot, maybe someday a big football jig like @PourMyOwn with something like a hula grub.

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1/2 oz. spinnerbait, 3/8 and 1/2 oz. buzz bait 5/8 and 3/4 oz. jerk baits, bigger swimbaits. All this stuff fishes and casts more efficiently on equipment that is rated for it.

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In Maine I usually use 1/4 TX rigged soft plastic for smallies form shallow to 25 ft or so, but this season I'm going to try harder for smallies in deeper water (25 to 40 ft) and for that will start using a 1/2 oz football jig on the bottom, MH/F baitcaster with 40 lb braid. With the 1/4 oz setup and 12 lb test mono I had a hard time feeling the bite deeper than 25 ft. Hoping this will change things.

 

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Pretty much any deep crankbait or jerk bait I throw is 1/2 oz. or better.  When fishing tubes, I like the Big Dude 3/4 oz. tube jigs.  Drop shot weights, I start at 1/2 oz., and usually use 3/4 oz.  Jigging spoons I use are all 3/4 oz.

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3 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Pretty much any deep crankbait or jerk bait I throw is 1/2 oz. or better.  When fishing tubes, I like the Big Dude 3/4 oz. tube jigs.  Drop shot weights, I start at 1/2 oz., and usually use 3/4 oz.  Jigging spoons I use are all 3/4 oz.

Ever kill one by dropping one of these on his head?  Couldn't resist.  All the heavy stuff mentioned above is not unusual in MI, especially the lead for deep fishing in the summer.  Don't rule out small tubes, though. Last spring we found some friends who were doing well in about 8 feet along a wall using tubes.  Took me a while to catch on that they were using small tubes.  When we switched to small tubes the strike rate went way up.  

 

Also the jerks in less depth.  As mentioned smallies will take some pretty big jerks.  I think I took a small one last year with a jerk about 1/3 his length.

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I use pointer 128's, osp rudra 130sp & deps balisong 130sp jerk baits which all weight 1oz for smallies. 

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5 minutes ago, MickD said:

Last spring we found some friends who were doing well in about 8 feet along a wall using tubes.  Took me a while to catch on that they were using small tubes.  When we switched to small tubes the strike rate went way up.

You're dead on!  Shallow is a different game, especially in spring.  On Oneida, we used to throw little Tender Tubes on the shoals in early to mid May. 

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5 hours ago, WRangler506 said:

just wondering when/what all heavy baits are used, that require all these MH rods I keep hearing about.

5/8oz spinnerbaits, 1/2oz lipless cranks, 5/8oz Pointer 100's, 1/2oz jigs... all fished on various medium power rods, both baitcasting and spinning.  You don't NEED med. heavy power rods to fish these baits IF YOU'RE NOT FISHING IN HEAVY COVER.

 

oe

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I have caught smallies in Indiana with Whopper plopper 110s, 1/2 oz Chatterbaits, and 1/2 oz spinnerbaits.

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The only heavy bait I use for Smallies is the Whopper Plopper. 

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9 hours ago, WRangler506 said:

How often are you using baits around 1/2oz total weight and higher?

1/2 of the time

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Other than the Ned, I’d bet total weight of almost everything I fish is over 1/2 ounce.  3/8 ounce dropshot weight plus a bait is a 1/2 ounce total or more, 3/8 head is about as light as I go with tubes - 5/8 when I want to snap em, jerkbaits are all 1/2 or over, cranks, swimbait, etc.

 

smaller poppers and unweighted soft jerks are two other light ones that come to mind.

 

im heavier than a half ounce around 75% of the time I’d guess.

 

This is for SM fishing on st clair.

 

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95%of the fish I catch are SM and seldom over 20 feet......with the exception of rats and such, few over 1/2 ounce.

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Lake St Clair, 1/4oz on m to ml rig for smallies

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A 1/2 - 3/4 oz. blade bait twitched off the bottom is hard to beat for early season smallies, before they bed up especially. Works especially well on mature river systems. But I also use these llures all year long. I'm fishing minimum 15' of water down to 40'. I don't fish for bedding bass.

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I fish Saginaw bay and catch a lot of smallies on big 3.5 lucky craft lc square bills just burning them over rocky areas. And I do a lot of flipping along reeds and rarely do I use anything other than a 3/8-1/2 jig plus a trailer. Other than when I have a super finesse style bait tied on I’m using a 7 foot medium heavy casting set up. When it comes to top water I’m always using a 110 whopper plopper or a hollow body frog. So most of what I fish would be over 1/2oz. None of this is to say I’m doing it the right way, just my way 🤪.

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I'm mostly fishing rivers for smallmouth, but I use plenty.  Whopper Ploppers, walking baits, larger crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and even jigs in fast current with depth.  Conditions dictate pretty much everything, but it's rare that I don't have sever MH rods rigged up.  

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10 hours ago, Crestliner2008 said:

A 1/2 - 3/4 oz. blade bait twitched off the bottom is hard to beat for early season smallies, before they bed up especially. Works especially well on mature river systems. But I also use these llures all year long. I'm fishing minimum 15' of water down to 40'. I don't fish for bedding bass.

Excellent advice, but what’s a mature river?? An old one? They say the French broad river (and nolichucky and maybe little Tennessee) are older than the Appalachian mountains because they flow from Carolina back through the mountains into Tennessee. 

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15 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Excellent advice, but what’s a mature river?? An old one? They say the French broad river (and nolichucky and maybe little Tennessee) are older than the Appalachian mountains because they flow from Carolina back through the mountains into Tennessee. 

A mature river system is like our Connecticut River here that flows from the Canadian border down though Vt, NH, MA, and CT before dumping into the ocean. Usually they have water that always has current, a few dams and few, if any, rapids. Sometimes about a mile across with both deep and shallow water areas.

 

Ours is not as big as the Mississippi, but with similar features on a smaller scale. The In'Fisherman defined all the various river system types in their books and articles. I do not recall their exact definition of "mature", but at the time I read it, I concluded that the CT. River system was/is this type of river.

 

You may need to do an online search of the In'Fisherman's Concepts to narrow down your specific river system. Another gauge of maturity of a river system is in the diversity of it's fish population. Our river contains LM & SM bass, walleye, panfish, sturgeon, catfish and others.

 

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17 minutes ago, Crestliner2008 said:

A mature river system is like our Connecticut River here that flows from the Canadian border down though Vt, NH, MA, and CT before dumping into the ocean. Usually they have water that always has current, a few dams and few, if any, rapids. Sometimes about a mile across with both deep and shallow water areas.

 

Ours is not as big as the Mississippi, but with similar features on a smaller scale. The In'Fisherman defined all the various river system types in their books and articles. I do not recall their exact definition of "mature", but at the time I read it, I concluded that the CT. River system was/is this type of river.

 

You may need to do an online search of the In'Fisherman's Concepts to narrow down your specific river system. Another gauge of maturity of a river system is in the diversity of it's fish population. Our river contains LM & SM bass, walleye, panfish, sturgeon, catfish and others.

 

Gotcha thanks. The French broad has all those species 

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10 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Gotcha thanks. The French broad has all those species 

 

An important thing to add: The In-Fisherman classification pertains to stretches of rivers, rather than entire rivers, so a single long river will tend to progress through the "ages" as you go downstream.

 

FYI, A synopsis of the river and lake classifications, as pertain to smallmouth, can be found in the IF Smallmouth Handbook, of which used copies can usually be found dirt-cheap on Amazon. It's an excellent bang-for-the buck buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Smallmouth-Bass-Fisherman-Handbook-Strategies/dp/0960525432/

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