Smallmouth bass or brown bass is a popular gamefish, a pervasive and favorite one of most anglers. Many often confuse it with the largemouth bass, which is pretty normal because both the fishes are not too distinct in their appearance. However, as they are both two very different beings, there are ways to distinguish the features.
Smallmouth bass are small in size, is known to put a more feisty fight than the largemouth bass when hooked, and as the name suggests, has a small mouth, and its upper jaw aligns with its eyes, unlike the largemouth bass, where its upper jaw goes past the eyes, making its mouth wide, hence the name. Smallmouth bass is prevalent among the anglers even though its size is not as big as the largemouth. They compensate with the fight they put against the anglers, taking the thrilling level to a higher pitch, it seems. Any game fish that puts a tough contest is tough to catch and get hold of.
So, to make things easy, many anglers, especially beginners, try to gather as much information and tips on capturing the smallmouth bass. All the tips make the angling adventure a sure shot success, super fun, and supremely enjoyable. Smallmouth bass Fishing tips we have for you will fulfill that purpose only. So, let’s get to the tips one by one.
12 Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips
Tips #1 – More Detail To Recognize The Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth bass is known as brown bass. So, most of the time, you see a brown bass, not a greenish one, then be sure it’s the smallmouth. It will have vertical lines all over its body. The next thing you must notice is its dorsal fin, where you will see no gap or break in between, other than one whole dorsal fin.
Tips #2 – The Type Of Water They Prefer Residing In
Smallmouth bass loves living in clean water. If the water is dirty, full of pollutants, there will be no smallmouth bass for sure. As soon as the water condition of the hotspots of smallmouth bass starts deteriorating due to dirt and pollution, the fishes will change their habitat in no time. For them to reside in a water body, the water there has to be clearer and cooler.
Clean water also means it is highly oxygenated. So smallmouth bass also feels the most comfortable in highly oxygenated water. If the water body has smallmouth bass, that indicates the water is in excellent condition and super clean there.
Tips #3 – Smallmouth Bass Habitat
It is a freshwater species, so quite obviously, you will look for it in lakes, streams, ponds, rivers, and similar freshwater sources. Also, as the above discussion clearly states, the water has to be clean and cool. You can be a little more specific by searching for smallmouth bass in rocky areas of such water bodies. They are found in the sandy bottoms and deep in the water around the stumps as well. Smallmouth bass like covers and don’t like entering those covers.
Instead, they prefer roaming around it. Even if there is their forage, they will mostly avoid entering the covers and wait for the fast current to bring them their food, some way or the other, by filtering through the narrow spaces. They prefer being a predator to their forage in open water. Therefore, rivers with narrow creeks and crevices where the water is moving pretty fast, the wind blows heavily are the best spot to get smallmouth bass fishes as that’s the easiest place for the lazy smallmouth bass to get their meal filtered.
Tips #4 – The Best Size Smallmouth Bass
Most of the smallmouth bass are half the size of their largemouth bass cousins. So, if you have ended up with an 8-10 inches smallmouth, do not get disheartened. It’s a great size to catch when it’s smallmouth bass. If you have somehow acquired a smallmouth as big as 15 -18 inches, do not mistake it as some other fish species or largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass fishes can be pretty big as the largemouth bass. Hence, the confusion intensifies while differentiating between the two.
Tips #5 – Set The Time And Maintain It
We prefer setting a time to catch this gamefish. The period where smallies are the most active, searching for food and feeding themselves. In the whole 24-hour time span, it’s right before sunrise, and a couple of hours after dawn when the light condition is pretty low is the best time to catch smallmouth. It is when you are going to get big-size smallmouth bass.
Your second-best option will be trying angling the smallmouth before, during, and an hour or two after sunset. Other than that, whenever it’s not too sunny, say, rainy, cloudy weather, the water is not warm, the atmosphere tends to be pretty windy, the light condition also turns low, you know it’s an excellent time to prey on some smallies.
Tips #6 – Try The More Favorable Season Of The Year
Smallmouth bass prefers cooler water. Not too cold, like, say, the icy cold water in winter. The water temperature anywhere between 40-50 degrees is comfortable for the smallmouth bass. And water remains the perfect temperature, ideal for the smallmouth bass in early spring. They are busy spawning in this season, too, so the angling becomes much more fruitful.
The more summer comes closer, and the water starts getting warmer, the smallmouth bass tends to move to deeper water. And they are not a specimen that loves shoaling. So, they are pretty hard to find. Targeting a spawning smallmouth from April till June is the best option for you to hook this aggressive little creature successfully.
Tips #7 – Fishing Rod
You need a 7-8 inch light to medium action fishing rod to catch the smallies. Keep it as high quality and sturdy as possible, as the fish you are targeting will hardly give up even when it’s hooked. You will need a long rod that bends pretty well, as you might need to cast at a distance to search for the smallies. Also, such rods will make sure to keep the mainline intact with no breakage with all the fighting a smallmouth will put to escape.
Tips #8 – Fishing Reel
Pair the fishing rod up with a high-speed baitcasting reel. It handles the fluorocarbon line, basically sturdy lines very well, better than the spinning reels. The high-speed reel is crucial while putting up a fight with the smallmouth bass and continue it as long as it doesn’t exhaust itself. Then, the lure we prefer using to catch the smallies suits the best with baitcasting reels. One needs to keep the rod tip down in the water, but a little angled to the side to walk the dog with a Heddon spook, which a baitcasting reel does effortlessly.
Tips #9 – Fluorocarbon Line
Smallmouth bass is very clever when it comes to noticing heavy fishing lines. And they are not even too big to fish using heavy lines. However, it’s an aggressive fish, way more aggressive than their largemouth cousin. So, the line has to be very high-quality and low stretch so that the fish fails to break it with all its combatting skill.
In angling smallmouth bass, we like to use fluorocarbon fishing line as the mainline, 6-8 pound line, no leader with mono or braid. It’s super thin, has low visibility, even lower than the monofilament, has high sensitivity, is abrasion-resistant, hardly stretches with all the pulls and drags. Thus will survive the fight between you and the smallmouth.
Tips #10 – Fishing Hook
The hook size always depends on the fish size you are targeting to angle. To catch an average size smallmouth bass, you can use several different size hooks. You can keep the hook as small as size 2 or keep it pretty standard using size 6. You can also use the 3/0 or 4/0 hooks. We prefer both circle hooks and J hooks for angling smallies but will admit giving a hair more priority to the J hooks.
Tips #11 – Best Bait
Though we do not really prefer catching smallies with live baits as they are not as effective as the artificial lures, still, if you want to angle this specimen with live baits, try minnows, nightcrawlers, leeches, or crawfish. They all work and will get you the bites you are expecting.
Tips #12 – Let’s Talk About The Heddon Spook
We have already mentioned it while talking about the reel. Smallmouth bass can be angled with almost every type of artificial lure. However, if we need to choose one, we will go with the Heddon Spook, and you should too because it’s the lure that works really well 5 feet deep in water, in windy, fast current water conditions.
The smallmouth bass feeds itself in open water and doesn’t stay too deep in the water while doing that. The Heddon spook makes a fair amount of noise to attract the game fish towards it. So, tie your fluorocarbon mainline to the Heddon spook, walk the dog, and catch some feisty smallies.
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Consider smallmouth as the more intimidating game fish, or give it its due, accepting it as the more delicious one than the largemouth ones; no wonder many anglers prefer hunting for smallmouths way more than the largemouth. You can enjoy the fight, show it off, land it back or turn it into a delicious platter; a smallmouth has a lot to offer. Make angling this toughly a little easier, well-planned, and an incident that happens more often with all the tips we shared and have great fun.