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Why do I only catch little ones?


dmac14

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Ok so my cottage is located in ontario, there are some huge smallmouth (I went snorkeling and saw a few 5lb+) My question is why am i only catching the little ones? I found an off shore structure that comes up to a flat that is about 5ft deep and on both sides it drops to 20 or 25 feet, I thought this would be wonderful, I could fish this thing forever but cant seem to pull out a huge fish. There is both walleye and largemouth and I have caught several at this location. Where do I find the big smallies? Ik their int here its not a pressured lake and I see a ton of smallmouth, I just don't know where the lunkers hide.

Any help?

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  • Super User

I'm assuming you fishing from a boat. Do you have a sonar onboard? If so, your approach to finding structure is OK, but you also must find BAIT on that structure. Determine the depth or positioning of that bait and present your offerings accordingly.

Tubes, drop shotting, hard jerkbaits, large spinnerbaits - you'll get bit!

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What kind of lures are you fishing? Whatever you are using, upsize. When the water is still cold, big smallies (and fish in general) don't want to exert as much energy on a single meal so they wait until large prey items come along. I'm inclined to think there are large smallmouth where you are fishing and that you just aren't presenting what they want. Some baits are better big fish baits than others. I catch my biggest smallies on big jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits so you might want to give them a try.

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I think my issue is finding baitfish, but on my lake I am not sure what they are, we have perch and bluegill. But also little minnows but the minnows often swim near the boat and yet I see no increase in catch rate. I know there are plenty of crayfish, and I think that might be their main food source.

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  • Super User
I know there are plenty of crayfish, and I think that might be their main food source.

Bingo, IMO crayfish are the main source of food for smallies just about everywhere. If you are not throwing a jig and trailer, try it. I catch more quality smallies on jigs and trailers 3/8 ounce, than on any other baits I use period. I can float the river using tubes and grubs and catch close to a hundred fish, and the biggest may be 16 inches. I can float the same river using a jig and only catch 10 fish the difference is the smallest fish will be around 2lbs. For me it has always been a quantity versus quality thing. FWIW I have found that using smaller jigs 1/8 to 1/4 ounce will result in more fish, better quality than what I catch on grubs but not the quality I get when using larger jigs. good luck

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Alright, but still need to find some more fish, I was thinking of sinking some rocks out in the lake to attract fish, would that work?

Most of the lake is flat other than a few huge points so I think a rock pile would attract fish.

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From what you have described I'd say your problem isn't the bait your using or where you are fishing. I think your dealing with clear water, and big smallies are very cautious in clear water. In a river system you have light diffusion caused by ripples from the current so stealth isn't quite as important. But on a lake, unless it's pretty windy you stick out like a sore thumb. In most cases they will see you long before you see them. Once they see you it's dang tough to get them to bite. My advice, spinning gear, clear or light green 6lb test line, move quiet and LONG casts. Good luck, keep trying.

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  • 14 years later...

I've been catching 6 inch smallies out of a small hole and I know one of the parents is there so I had the same question. Now I'm on small water but being used to trout fishing the size of hooks and baits used for smallmouth are hard to comprehend. My hand hovers over the hook tray too long and goes too small. But one fruitless throw with a 1/0 and I"m like "I knew it". Working on it. Going back today, going big.

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