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How to convert with smallmouth follows into bites?


@reelChris

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Today I spent a load of time trying to convert follows into bites without success.  Was it the lure choices?  Colors?  Time of day?  

 

Environment:  Bright, sunny day, 78 degrees, 1:30 pm.

Water:  10 FOW, 68 degrees and ultra clear - you could see down to the bottom.  

Bottom:  Sandy with scattered boulders

 

After making long casts with a silver super spot lipless and a bite delight jackhammer with green pumpkin/white zako trailer, I got multiple follows back to the boat from 2-3 lb small mouth.  Some followed closely behind the lures and abruptly changed directions when they saw the boat, others just kind of appeared and idled around the front of the boat without committing.  I tried hopping and dragging a green pumpkin senko neko rigged and a purple dream shot on a drop shot rig in the area, including directly in front of the lurking fish, with no luck.  Earlier in the day I landed a 3 pounder on the jackhammer so I know it was effective at one point.  

 

What's the secret to getting them to bite?

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  • Super User

This is a great question and a situation I’ve come across many times also. I don’t have the exact answer to this. I run across it crankbait fishing and jerkbait fishing. Your water clarity is a lot clearer than mine and I wonder if this is more common in clearer water. There were times that I brought a crankbait to a complete stop or burned it faster to get a strike. Majority of the time I can’t get the hook up. I’ve had a handful times over the years in that situation where two smallies hit it for a double header. 
 

I never made it out to mean very much that I wasn’t getting the strike. When it happens I will continue to CB fish with maybe a change up of color or shape or style. I don’t make that situation out to be a real negative. Fish are clearly there. Fish are active. Stay on that area and fish, pull off of it and then go back through it again.  
 

You have a great post. Good fishing. 

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  • Global Moderator

There is no magic wand, wild creatures are unpredictable. Keep cycling through baits and retrieves until they hit. I would try a fluke or a jerkbait  for a reaction strike

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  • Super User

Common knowledge is that if fish are following and not committing, you have the style of bait right but the wrong color.  

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I've had luck keeping either a 2.8" or 3.3" Kytech ready on a 3/16oz head - pitch it out and just let it pendulum down.  But, like TNRiver46 said they're unpredictable. 

 

21 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Common knowledge is that if fish are following and not committing, you have the style of bait right but the wrong color. 

I had never heard that, so maybe it's only common knowledge among good fishermen? lol    Or perhaps common knowledge has become as scarce as common sense.?

 

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21 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Common knowledge is that if fish are following and not committing, you have the style of bait right but the wrong color.  

 

Yeah, this is where I'd start.  You've grabbed their attention but something turned them off.  For plastics (like your zako) I would say to tip whatever you were fishing with a chartreuse tip.  For hardbaits in that clear of water, throw some flash onto it or take some flash off of it (chrome sexy shad vs regular sexy shad for example).

 

Also sudden erratic speeding up and stopping can also trigger them.  Gotta try that too.

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My go to is a Zman TicklrZ in a minnow color such as Smelt or The Deal in clear water. Fished on a 1/16 jig head and allowed to just skim and bump bottom gives the Smallies an erratic offering that drives them nuts. I have lots of followers as well but more often they take it.

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