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Minnesota Bass Angler

What are your favorite techniques for finicky smallmouth on beds

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Throwing a Large live shiner directly onto the bed.

 

That smallmouth will try to destroy it or remove it immediately.

 

I used to have this spot in a crystal clear river. A Bridge was directly above an area with a bunch of beds. So you could easily look down and see the bass on the beds. I used to try every artificial bait. Some they would ignore, and some they would suck in and blow off the bed quicker than you could blink. It was very hit or miss that way. 

 

But a big Shiner they would not tolerate one second. They’d attack it. It was almost guaranteed. I’m thinking that a live Crawdad might work just as good. Not sure though, haven’t tried it.

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You lost me at "finicky".  If a Smallmouth is locked on a bed I have seen them caught on shoestrings (it was a bet and I lost).:lol:

 

If they are not locked on then you either move on and find one that is, or try to coax a bite.  They are not eating so really the type of bait is not relevant as long as you can see it.  You are trying to get a reaction strike.  I have found that the picky ones require you to put the bait on just the right spot on the bed.  You can be off 3 inches and they won't even look at it.  The other thing is that you have to be willing to soak your bait for an extended period of time on the bed.  They may even swim off when you pitch into the bed and you have to be willing to wait for them to come back.  My favorites are a dropshot, Senko and a DShad.  I'm sure a Ned or shakeyhead will also work.  Some like to twitch a jerkbait over their head but I have much better luck with plastics than hardbaits.  

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Crosstail shad on a drop shot . Deadly

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7 hours ago, TOXIC said:

You lost me at "finicky".  If a Smallmouth is locked on a bed I have seen them caught on shoestrings (it was a bet and I lost).:lol:

 

If they are not locked on then you either move on and find one that is, or try to coax a bite.  They are not eating so really the type of bait is not relevant as long as you can see it.  You are trying to get a reaction strike.  I have found that the picky ones require you to put the bait on just the right spot on the bed.  You can be off 3 inches and they won't even look at it.  The other thing is that you have to be willing to soak your bait for an extended period of time on the bed.  They may even swim off when you pitch into the bed and you have to be willing to wait for them to come back.  My favorites are a dropshot, Senko and a DShad.  I'm sure a Ned or shakeyhead will also work.  Some like to twitch a jerkbait over their head but I have much better luck with plastics than hardbaits.  

The only reason I said "finicky" was because I had a smallmouth that was easily over 5 pounds right in front of me on a bed and I threw everything I had at her and she never committed to any bait. I did this for 2 days at different times of the day. She must have been the smartest fish I have ever seen!  :(

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Drop shot would be my go-to, but I rarely fish beds anymore and even more rarely encounter "finicky" females. :)

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Smallies on beds will hit anything. They murder my calves and ankles when I help my neighbors put their docks in the water.

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You must have senkos for calves. 😂

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Short leader dropshot, tube, trigged craw, Ned.   Like Toxic said, if they are locked on you can typically get a bite.   One of my favorite days in muscamoot last year I caught a bunch on a Sammy.  

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For a big fish that won't look at anything I will go to a big jig.  I've done that twice for big smallies (4.8 and a 5.1) I'll also try to get the line to hit their back.  That seems to tick them off.

 

The most consistent bait I have found for bedding smallmouth is a Zoom Dropshot worm which is comparable to a crosstail worm.  I'll also cycle through a Ned Rig, Hula stick with a 1/10th jig so it hits the bottom quickly and I can drag it through the bed, or a wacky 4" Senko.  Another month or so....

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On 3/27/2019 at 7:05 AM, TOXIC said:

You lost me at "finicky".  If a Smallmouth is locked on a bed I have seen them caught on shoestrings (it was a bet and I lost).:lol:

 

If they are not locked on then you either move on and find one that is, or try to coax a bite.  They are not eating so really the type of bait is not relevant as long as you can see it.  You are trying to get a reaction strike.  I have found that the picky ones require you to put the bait on just the right spot on the bed.  You can be off 3 inches and they won't even look at it.  The other thing is that you have to be willing to soak your bait for an extended period of time on the bed.  They may even swim off when you pitch into the bed and you have to be willing to wait for them to come back.  My favorites are a dropshot, Senko and a DShad.  I'm sure a Ned or shakeyhead will also work.  Some like to twitch a jerkbait over their head but I have much better luck with plastics than hardbaits.  

This ^^^^^

 

Except I won't even monkey around with the ones that are not locked.

 

@bclark7B and I were bed fishing one day a few springs ago, and I was tuna hauling them BEHIND guys fishing for them who were not getting bit. All it takes is a little more than a pulse to catch locked on ones. I have no idea what these idiots were doing, but there were 1/2 a dozen or more boats with two guys in them just not catching anything while being right on them. At one point in the day I wanted to get Ben a good one, so I pulled up to where I knew a 4lber was, had him cast to it, and it broke him off. I told him not to worry, we'll come back in an hour. We did, and he caught it.

 

Another time I bet a good friend of mine that I would go behind him and catch a 20+ bag in an hour on a strip of drop shotted beef jerky. I gave him a 200 yard area with A LOT of big bedding fish in it, kept my eye on him, watched him for an hour while I just fooled around with rock bass. After his hour was up he, seemed pretty sure he was going to win the bet because he could only manage a few small ones. Hold my beer and watch this......I didn't even need the full hour, but I did run out of jerky. He's been mad at me ever since LMAO

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Another tactic (one I can't make myself do) is to chase the fish off the bed.  I have seen one guy take a paddle and slap the water right over the bed to get the fish to swim off when it wouldn't bite.  Then wait for it to come back and drop a bait in.  If it doesn't bite, he will spook it off again.  More times than not, eventually the fish will get so pizzed, it will bite.  

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Tube Jigs of various size and color and the Yum Crawbug

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Did this out west on Lake Powell very successfully.  Would drop tubes on the beds with a light weight.  If ignored would put Smelly Jelly on and "Bingo"....on to next fish.

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Where to look for smallie bedding areas on streams that don't have much slack water areas? I fish a couple small streams that don't offer any quiet eddies. I'm picturing typical largemouth beds I see on lakes/ponds in shallow areas and can't think of similar locations on these streams I have started to fish....???

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On 4/3/2019 at 8:50 AM, susQbassman said:

No finesse just toss a deps buzzjet jr and hold on tight to your rod,

Shhhhhhh keep that one a secret. They demolish them with extreme prejudice lol

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