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Finally making the transition to lures. Any suggestions for a good resource for learning how to use all of the essential smallmouth baits?


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19 hours ago, Ohioguy25 said:

Tbh it’s been slow going, I like the idea of lure fishing and I really want it to work but it’s just not anywhere near as productive. There is no possible way I will be able to catch close to the quantity or quality I am catching now using lures. I’m going to continue practicing every time I’m out, but I’m not going to leave the minnows at home as my primary goal is catching fish not being challenged. Catching them with live is challenging enough some days.

There is nothing wrong with your approach. That transition is not easy. I take it the bite (hookups) fell off drastically during this attempt and learning curve. It’s understandable that you want to catch fish and not go home dejected for your efforts. Fishing is suppose to be fun. 
 

Switching to lures is going to be a whole change in mindset and struggles will come with that. And during that transition something will have to give. The rewards will be there. Try to revisit the use of them at a later date. 
 

But let’s say minnows are your bait of choice. Your plan is to go out for a few hours and you are bringing a dozen and a half with you and a few Shad raps a few Zman Neds and a some Booyah mini spinnerbaits. These might get throw but the mindset is not there. Why? The crutch (the minnows) are in your possession. Your fall back to them is there. The day you leave them at home will come. Probably part of the transition and learning curve. 
 

Stick with what is working for you. Keep at it with a few basic lures in between casts. It will come together. You are addicted to the Smallies. That’s the most important thing. 
 


 

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My area is large & full of all water conditions.  The heavily fished areas do get to remove all the daytime, easy to catch fish.  As I have found out this year.   So I am going back to MEAT ! Alive or dead.  Barbs crushed down. My spinning reel allows me to keep constant pressure on the hooks.  

The water conditions do / can dictate which method is more productive. What way has worked for decades does not anymore. In a rapid DECREASING weeds area The area has been converted to CITY SEWAGE SYSTEM.  That has reduced loads of plants growing & supporting a great fish population.

In all likelihood I will be forced to fish islands with raw sewage dumped into the river.

 

My rule of......... No fish in some areas are very difficult to catch & release. 

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I see it like this also. You are a die hard for these Smallies. You have asked countless questions in regards to live bait. Probably have mastered it. You have caught plenty of Smallies and can do it on any given day in the right conditions. You have clearly established yourself in your home waters. This is a given. 
 

Your fish are there. They are not going anywhere. They are there today, next month and for you next year and the year after that. Knowing that the fish are there is half the battle. 
 

If you sacrificed the numbers game for a season. Put the live bait to the side for that season. And looked at it as heck I’d rather catch one Smallie on a (ex. Shad Rap) than 6 on a minnow or use a pop-r type to pick off a couple before sun up. A 10” Smallie will hit that Pop-R as well as a 17” fish. Take what you get and build off of that. Throw some tubes, see how that goes. No good? Throw a light Trig, bam you pick on off. Build off of that. Swim and hop some Mr. Twister grubs. Crank a few WeeCraws. You know the fish at there. Fishing that live bait may be the best thing you ever got started doing. It found fish locations for you. Those locations will alway be good. Half the battle is won, took away half the guess work. 
 

This time will come. When you are ready. Keep enjoying it the way you are going about it. It has to remain fun to keep you going. Good luck. 

11 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

My area is large & full of all water conditions.  The heavily fished areas do get to remove all the daytime, easy to catch fish.  As I have found out this year.   So I am going back to MEAT ! Alive or dead.  Barbs crushed down. My spinning reel allows me to keep constant pressure on the hooks.  

The water conditions do / can dictate which method is more productive. What way has worked for decades does not anymore. In a rapid DECREASING weeds area The area has been converted to CITY SEWAGE SYSTEM.  That has reduced loads of plants growing & supporting a great fish population.

In all likelihood I will be forced to fish islands with raw sewage dumped into the river.

 

My rule of......... No fish are very difficult to catch & release. 

Man I don’t know if you are happy or sad   about your current situation. Maybe a little of both. Raw Sewage. Bottom contact baits better or Topwater bite?

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2 minutes ago, Spankey said:

I see it like this also. You are a die hard for these Smallies. You have asked countless questions in regards to live bait. Probably have mastered it. You have caught plenty of Smallies and can do it on any given day in the right conditions. You have clearly established yourself in your home waters. This is a given. 
 

Your fish are there. They are not going anywhere. They are there today, next month and for you next year and the year after that. Knowing that the fish are there is half the battle. 
 

If you sacrificed the numbers game for a season. Put the live bait to the side for that season. And looked at it as heck I’d rather catch one Smallie on a (ex. Shad Rap) than 6 on a minnow or use a pop-r type to pick off a couple before sun up. A 10” Smallie will hit that Pop-R as well as a 17” fish. Take what you get and build off of that. Throw some tubes, see how that goes. No good? Throw a light Trig, bam you pick on off. Build off of that. Swim and hop some Mr. Twister grubs. Crank a few WeeCraws. You know the fish at there. Fishing that live bait may be the best thing you ever got started doing. It found fish locations for you. Those locations will alway be good. Half the battle is won, took away half the guess work. 
 

This time will come. When you are ready. Keep enjoying it the way you are going about it. It has to remain fun to keep you going. Good luck. 

Excellent post.

This thread has been full of excellent advice and suggestions

 

Yes, you can catch smallmouth on topwater toads.

The toads can be rigged weedless/snagless to reduce hangups and are awesome to skip under anything

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You are right about my 2 hang ups. Problem is intensified By EVERY new & used boat now not in boat yards. The number of people fishing with deadly minnows is very high. So there ARE LESS fish this spring. Record low water caused new spawning areas.  The weeds are the invasive ones. And they are still small patches. 

 

No cormorants  or herons for the first time in 40 ? years.  There are some fish  BURIEDin the weeds that wintered over. But they are super smart about lures. I have had to remove ALL the trebles. Remove the clear plastic lip.  Put on a # 6 or 8 black treble on a 4" floater with a heavy enough split shot to get them out of the weeds.

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2 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

You are right about my 2 hang ups. Problem is intensified By EVERY new & used boat now not in boat yards. The number of people fishing with deadly minnows is very high. So there ARE LESS fish this spring. Record low water caused new spawning areas.  The weeds are the invasive ones. And they are still small patches. 

 

No cormorants  or herons for the first time in 40 ? years.  There are some fish  BURIEDin the weeds that wintered over. But they are super smart about lures. I have had to remove ALL the trebles. Remove the clear plastic lip.  Put on a # 6 or 8 black treble on a 4" floater with a heavy enough split shot to get them out of the weeds.

I sort of get your drift now. But your condition will change. Mother Nature casted a bad shadow on you. Your water conditions will change. Maybe this will be a once in a 25 year condition. I take it you are out west. 

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As a side note about minnows.  The bass can hit coming straight at you. So you do not feel them right away.  Oh well.  I know he swallowed the minnow & hook into his throat & out of sight.  But I am going to pull out MY HOOK  !!

I am at the junction of Lake Ontario outlet & the start of the St. Lawrence going to the Atlantic Ocean. 

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28 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

As a side note about minnows.  The bass can hit coming straight at you. So you do not feel them right away.  Oh well.  I know he swallowed the minnow & hook into his throat & out of sight.  But I am going to pull out MY HOOK  !!

I am at the junction of Lake Ontario outlet & the start of the St. Lawrence going to the Atlantic Ocean. 

I can be pretty dense. Correct me on this if I am wrong. You are tying in Bass mortality to live bait and it’s use. How they are handled and hooked presenting this mortality rate. 
 

If so I’m with you 100+%. “Live Bait” The reason I’m not into it for bass fishing. I pride myself in releasing bass and handling them with kid gloves. I don’t want to kill any or see any killed. I’m human and can make a mistake. Not looking to make any though. “Bass Lives Matter” to me. 
 

But if a guy fishes live baits and is supposedly into catch and release or it is implied that’s their way of fishing, that person should possess a half decent set of skill to remove and cut hooks as necessary. Better own some decent tools and treat the fish carefully. If you don’t want to do that take him home and eat him or give him to the neighbor. 

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Your logic on live bait is perfect.  Victor my 89 year neighbor Prepares any  IFFY   survivors I catch on lures. Yes I have had a BIG bas suck the 1.5" Rapala floater out of sight. I club the fish to death & Bring it to him for surgery. The Perch are far better eating than the best bass.

 

As good as perch are.  A local restaurant has fantastic deep fried shrimp & fries. ??

 

Enjoy the fish in all the ways.

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5 hours ago, Spankey said:

I see it like this also. You are a die hard for these Smallies. You have asked countless questions in regards to live bait. Probably have mastered it. You have caught plenty of Smallies and can do it on any given day in the right conditions. You have clearly established yourself in your home waters. This is a given. 
 

Your fish are there. They are not going anywhere. They are there today, next month and for you next year and the year after that. Knowing that the fish are there is half the battle. 
 

If you sacrificed the numbers game for a season. Put the live bait to the side for that season. And looked at it as heck I’d rather catch one Smallie on a (ex. Shad Rap) than 6 on a minnow or use a pop-r type to pick off a couple before sun up. A 10” Smallie will hit that Pop-R as well as a 17” fish. Take what you get and build off of that. Throw some tubes, see how that goes. No good? Throw a light Trig, bam you pick on off. Build off of that. Swim and hop some Mr. Twister grubs. Crank a few WeeCraws. You know the fish at there. Fishing that live bait may be the best thing you ever got started doing. It found fish locations for you. Those locations will alway be good. Half the battle is won, took away half the guess work. 
 

This time will come. When you are ready. Keep enjoying it the way you are going about it. It has to remain fun to keep you going. Good luck. 

Man I don’t know if you are happy or sad   about your current situation. Maybe a little of both. Raw Sewage. Bottom contact baits better or Topwater bite?

Thanks man, great point about locating the fish! I now feel confident on any waterway catching smallies, and I continue to explore new stretches and rivers and catch every time. 
 

I think you’re right about the crutch but like you said I gotta keep it fun. I’m ok with the gradual transition, as this allows me to continue enjoying my time on the water in the meantime.

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