The Smallmouth Bass
The smallmouth bass is generally brown (seldom yellow) with red eyes, and dark brown vertical bands, rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13–15 soft rays in the dorsal fin. The upper jaw of smallmouth bass extends to the middle of the eye. Males are generally smaller than females. The males tend to range around two pounds, while females can range from three to six pounds.
Their habitat plays a significant role in their color, weight, and shape. River water smallmouth that live in dark water tend to be rather torpedo-shaped and very dark brown to be more efficient for feeding. Lakeside smallmouth bass, however, that live in sandy areas, tend to be a light yellow-brown to adapt to the environment in a defensive state and are more oval-shaped. Drop-off points and rock shoals are typical places to find Smallmouth. However, they can also be found in deeper waters where schools of baitfish are found. Calm days and late summer are usually the times to fish deep. The baitfish feel more vulnerable on calm clear days in shallow water, so they seek the protection of deeper, darker water. Look for bottom structure and bounce a jig with a twister tail or worm off the bottom.
Windy and sunny days are best for Smallmouth Bass fishing. Fish the backside of rocky shoals and points. Try throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits, fishing in around 5 to 10 feet of water. You can also try another tactic for Smallmouth fishing: Cast a nightcrawler on a hook (no weight) towards the shore, slowly jerk the nightcrawler back in. The Smallmouth will typically hit while the nightcrawler is falling. If the Smallmouth are hook shy, cast your nightcrawler and leave your bail open. Any tension on the line can scare them off, so be patient and wait before setting the hook.
Although Smallmouth feed on minnows and aquatic insects, crayfish typically consist of two-thirds of their diet. Smallmouth Bass have a natural trick to hunt crayfish – they excrete a chemical through their skin which smells like crayfish. Upon smelling the intruder, the crayfish will come out of hiding to protect his territory, only to find a Smally waiting for him!
Rod: Medium to Light
Filament: 8 lb Copolymer
Bait: Minnow, Nightcrawlers, Crayfish, Leeches, Gulp
Lures: Twister Tails, Crankbait, Spinnerbait and Jigs
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