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How to target smallmouth


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I fish in a lake that has many different species of fish, from catfish, carp, largemouth, bass, bluegill, sunfish, and some sort of a schooling baitfish that i have only seen once. But anyways, the carp are everywhere and i assume easy to catch, though i have never tried. The largemouth bite can be pretty decent, and there are good size ones in the lake. However i want to catch a smallmouth bass, but have not had any luck thus far. Is there any way to target them specifically? How would i go about doing that? Right now my go to bait is a 5 inch senko worm, which works well the the lmb. The lake is new to me, and i will be fishing it more over this summer, and hope to catch my first smb

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  • Super User

How sure are you that there are brown bass present in this lake?  Your original list of species doesn't include smallmouth bass.

 

Here in MN our state resource agency conducts fish surveys every few years and then posts their results online.  I don't know if NJ does something like that, but it may be worth looking into to make sure there is a reasonable population of smallmouth bass even present there.

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If it were me I would start on rocky points and shores, or sandy gravelly areas. In my experience, smallies like rocky cover more where largemouth seem to prefer wood and heavier weeds. Though rocks with sparce grass or reed edges have done well for smallies.

 

I'd start with wacky rigged stickbaits, tubes, or cranks. Under the rught cinditions topwaters like poppers. Torpedos abd Ploppers have done well

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Recently caught smallmouth on pumpkin green NED rigs. They weren't hitting on much else.  Worth a try. 

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  • Super User

Look for sharp, rocky drop-offs, islands, points, sand bars, rock piles, riprap, and boulders. 4” wacky senkos, small poppers and hula grubs on a finesse jig head are effective smallmouth baits.  

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I meant to include smb on the original post, just forgot. I know they are in there, i have seen pictures of people catching them in this reservoir. The lake is decently big, and spans across many different towns. It is sort of shaped like a football and has some spots that have rocks with others having sand. I have had luck with lmb on the sand, and i have found bluegill beds all over right on the shore. I have not fished any other sections much yet, but i will have to try the rocky parts. 

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Echoing the other comments, I can say rocky points and dropoffs have proven to be effective as well when fishing for both Smallmouth and Rock Bass, in my experience. I even caught both my PB Smallmouth and Rock Bass along rocky dropoffs near shore. :D

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  • Global Moderator

Smallmouth love your go to bait, the 5 inch senko. Carp are most often quite difficult to catch. I’ve seen a million at a marina getting fed and they all disappeared instantly when a fishing boat came toward them 

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5 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Smallmouth love your go to bait, the 5 inch senko. Carp are most often quite difficult to catch. I’ve seen a million at a marina getting fed and they all disappeared instantly when a fishing boat came toward them 

Yeah carp are definitely pretty smart. Even though they hang out in big numbers if anything spooks them they gone. I have tried going for them a few times and only had luck once with bread, but i know a bunch of spots where they hang out

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Lots if people mentioning the relevance to structure here. I personally try to target them off shore. They will hang around in water much deeper than largemouth. I have see. Them pulled out of 45ft of water in the colder months (I live up north) and even in the spring time I find them in around 8-18ft while all the largemouth are up in the shallows.

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3 hours ago, Nick-CFH said:

Lots if people mentioning the relevance to structure here. I personally try to target them off shore. They will hang around in water much deeper than largemouth. I have see. Them pulled out of 45ft of water in the colder months (I live up north) and even in the spring time I find them in around 8-18ft while all the largemouth are up in the shallows.

Ahhhh. This unfortunately makes it difficult for me to target them because I only have bank access. 

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Since nobody else has pointed it out that I saw, smallmouth like current and cooler water Tyan largemouth do, rocks, current, cool water, all these words are perennial favorites to describe smallmouth habitat. If you feel the need to change your bait grab a tube, though a senko will be perfectly adequate for the job. 

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2 hours ago, Sphynx said:

Since nobody else has pointed it out that I saw, smallmouth like current and cooler water Tyan largemouth do, rocks, current, cool water, all these words are perennial favorites to describe smallmouth habitat. If you feel the need to change your bait grab a tube, though a senko will be perfectly adequate for the job. 

Awesome!! I will have to scout out the lake and see if any spots match.

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On 6/24/2022 at 12:06 PM, Gregorym38 said:

Awesome!! I will have to scout out the lake and see if any spots match.

If your running electronics and find a fee spots, target the ones with the most baitfish on screen, more food means probably more bass

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