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kajun

Smallmouth Questions

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This coming January I am moving to western Kentucky and I want to catch some of their lunker smallies I've heard so much about but I know absolutely nothing about Smallmouth Bass. ??? Could someone please give me a few pointers to get me started.  

                   Thanks

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I hardly qualify as an expert, but...

They generally are found in somewhat cooler, clearer and deeper water than largemouth, and are not as cover-oriented. Often found around rocks and on rocky bottoms.

They'll take a full range of lures. Good results can often be had using exposed-hook grubs on jigheads and internal heads on tubes. The latter are commonly dragged along bottom, drifting with the wind, in the Great Lakes area and probably other areas too.

Don't forget topwaters, they will often come up from the depths to take them.  

Smallies to me always seemed to have an affinity for chartreuse. Burning spinnerbaits of that color is good.

Their fighting qualities are great. There's a reason that they have been called, "inch for inch and pound for pound, the gamest fish that swims."

Good luck.

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I'm hardly an expert either but I've fished many of those lakes including Dale Hollow, Cumberland, Kentucky, and Norris.  I'll add these two things:

1.  Don't think like a large mouth, smallies are almost completely different fish, with the exception of a few times of the years.

2.  Those deep canyon reservoirs can be extremely difficult if you've never fished them before.  I recommend a local guide your first time out.  Most of the guys in that area are extremely friendly and will do they're best to educate you and not just "put you on fish".

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Ive found when hunting smallmouth on the average, worms not larger than 6 inch, grubs,1/8 to 1/4 oz spinnerbaits. and small baits  but this is just a general rule, but rules are made to be broken. I find it best to make long cast and be as quit as you can. smalles spook very easy.

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Find current and rocks! Smallmouths love them! Lures depend on the mood of the fish i have caught them on jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, tubes, plastic worms, topwater, and most of the tackle i use for largemouth. Just scale down a little unless the place is known for larger smallmouths.

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    I do not have much advice on how to catch them in your lake. It might help to go to the local bait shops and ask them how. I do know that once you do catch them you will have fun. ;)

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I fish for smallmouths on a regular basis. I use 3/8 or 1/2 oz Stike King Pro Model Spinnerbaits, double Colorado blades, Power worms 7in., and They sure to do love Tiki Sticks/Wave Worms Watermelon/red. Also smallmouth bass loves Pumpkinseed or green tubes dragging in spurts, with the lightest weight possible. In a couple days, I'll post my method of tubing and dock fishing for bass that might interest you.

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You are moving near the finest smallmouth fishery in the world. The next world record will most likely be caught on the Tennessee River: Pickwick Lake or Kentucky Lake. (1) Hire a guide; (2) fish structure in FAST current; (3) use live bait; and (4) NEVER keep a smallmouth unless it's the ONLY one you are EVER going to mount.

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You should probably try all of the lures that you use for Largemouths. A lot of guys will tell you to downsize your lures, but in my opinion, you only downsize your catch. The one major pointer that I can give you is to keep your colors natural, and adjust your patterns seasonally. In the spring season, try swimbaits and senkos for explosive strikes from big prespawn smallies, and also toss a few smaller spinnerbaits or grubs on jigheads with beetlespin type spinners attached. Throughout the summer, you should stick to a crawfish pattern using a tube, trailered jig, or even a crawdad shaped crankbait, (with rattles for more action) but bring those swimbaits and senkos with too, because they almost never fail. Early June is my oficial "Topwater" time. I've caught huge Smallies on hula poppers, plastic frogs, torpedos, and various chuggers. The beginning of the summer was the best topwater time for me but also throughout the dog days of mid summer, topwaters were also a good choice for early morning and late evening hours. Topwater baits also work year round if you are fishing shallow waters, because the fish will be closer to the surface and they may tend to give territorial strikes. For the fall, I'd advise you to try every lure you have and just pull 'em in one after the other. I've learned that in the fall, Smallies will start tearing into the baitfish again, so senkos and crankbaits are killer, but you must keep in mind that crawfish are their favorite food. I was recently fishing in October, catching Smallies with live fatheads, about twenty feet down. Thet were inhaling the minnows, but in one of the Smallies' mouths was a crushed up crawdad, indicating that they were still rustling up crustaceans in the depths. I could probably type on this post forever because I've learned alot this year, but I better wrap it up. The best advice I can give is to use natural colors, fish rocky structure with definite current breaks or deep points, and always fish deeper if you can't find 'em shallow. Sometimes when your pounding the shore, cast after cast to no avail, the fish are actually straight down below you, in 6 to 12, or even 20 feet of water. Good Luck!

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Not much to add to what everyone else said, besides smallies love jigging spoons. Give them a go on drop offs and humps and just watch the results! The best part of this tactic, is it works pretty much all year and it's easy to do. Drop your jigging spoon, and jig every few seconds. Have fun and good luck.

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Smallies in Kentucky can be tough lots of times, but this time of year lots of guys go to the float n fly in the clear impoundments.             Road Warrior had good ideas.                   Several posts come from Northern anglers where numbers of fat smallmouth are much easier to catch most days than they are in the South. I do know that to catch a real monster down south night time and cold water periods are highly preferred. I would join a bass club to get my learning up to speed also.

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I know clear water can be tough, I fish Bull Shoals and the White River quite a bit.  The big smallmouth I catch live in the Tennessee River which is never really cold or clear.  The temperature ranges from around 40 degrees in the winter to 85 or so in the summer  and the water is stained.  That combination makes it much easier to catch trophy fish. The best time of year is NOW!  The water is 64 degrees and the fish are aggressive.  And I NEVER fish at night...nightime's for drink'in.

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Okay, I have to add to this last post. Night time can offer some of the best Smallie fishing in the world. Expecially in highly pressured waters, or waters with a lot of recreational activities. Most people think that smallies are a "cold water" fish but their metabolism is affected by the water temp just like a largemouth. If the water in your neck of the woods is exceeding 80 degrees in midsummer, then the night time is the right time. The fish move in to the shallows at night to feed, and are usually near the same haunts that you find them at during the day.

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You're probably right.  I don't actually fish for smallmouth in the summer, I'm after big stripers then.  

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