Smallmouth Bass – Everything You Want to Know About Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Meet one of the most loveable fish of the bass family! Smallmouth bass is a popular game fish sought by anglers throughout the North America and many cool-water tributaries and lakes in Canada. Known as an incredible fighter, this fantastic fish has many common names such as smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, bareback bass, or bronze bass. You can call them however you want, but one is for sure, you will enjoy catching these beauties!

smallmouth bass fish

Table of Contents

Where to Find Smallmouth Bass?

Smallmouth bass are native to the Saint Lawrence River–Great Lakes system, the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, and up into the Hudson Bay basin. This popular game fish live on lower temperatures and clearer water than the largemouth, especially rivers, streams, the rocky areas, stumps and sandy bottoms of lakes. Smallmouth bass are a good indicator of a healthy environment because it is intolerant of pollution, and they can better adjust to changes in water condition than trout. So, when you know where they live, you can be sure that they will be a great fantastic part of your healthy diet.

But where are they when you come to water to fish them? The best spots in rivers to fish for smallmouth are behind rocks or in places where water swirls around. But when the weather gets colder, smallmouth often migrate to deeper parts in which they enter a semi-hibernation state. In that period they are moving sluggishly and feeding very little until spring.

Can you eat smallmouth bass?

Of course! As I’ve already said, smallmouth are some of the best panfish you can get. With a soft white flesh, they are often caught to eat, although catch and release is getting increasingly popular. One fillet of bass has about 125 calories, 23.77 g of protein and 2.58 g of total fat. Smallie is low in calories and contains a high amount of selenium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It lowers the chances of cardiovascular ailments, blood pressure and level of cholesterol. As an excellent source of selenium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and other minerals it is perfect for the strength of our bones. The high presence of minerals is essential for maintenance strength and health.

What Is The Biggest Smallmouth Bass Ever Caught?

The world’s biggest smallmouth bass was over 11 pounds, caught in the lake Dale Hollow, on the Kentucky, Tennessee border. Are you the next one to catch the biggest one in history? It depends on your knowledge about this fantastic game fish, and luck of course.o.

Smallmouth Bass Spawn

Spawning happens in spring when water temperatures approach 60°F. Males move into spawning areas with the nests often located near shore in lakes, and downstream from some obstruction that offers protection against a strong current in streams. The spawning area must have direct access to the sun’s rays, so look for shallow flats protected from rough water. Smallie spawn next to solid objects such as wood, boulders and weeds. They spawn in water 3-15 feet deep. Generally, the bigger the bass, the deeper the water and the earlier they spawn. After the spawn, some of them remain shallow around flooded bushes or stumps, while others move off to the first available deep water.

What Do Smallmouth Bass Eat?

So, let’s see what they eat! Adult smallmouth feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, fish and crayfish. Because they feed on the water surface, in the water mass, and off the bottom, and consume such a wide variety of foods, they are one of the favorite game fish for most anglers.

Best Live Bait for Smallmouth Bass

The best live bait for smallmouth is definitely a crawfish and there are several reasons for that. There are plenty of them near rocks, which is the same place that smallie prefer. They are fairly large and make a substantial meal high in protein. Other delicious treats for smallies are minnows, shad, madtoms, and hellgrammites. Try them out and see what is working best for you.

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass?

  • Look near deep underwater points, weed edges, rocky shoals, submerged islands!
  • The best fishing time is in the early morning and late evening!
  • If smallmouth aren’t biting, change your lure and your tactic!
  • The best technique during hot summer days is split-shotting. Use small worms, reapers and light colors for best results.
  • Topwaters can make you very productive, especially in low-light

Smallmouth bass are very popular game fish. They are one of the toughest fighting freshwater fish in North America, and is commonly the targeted species in many fishing tournaments. Anglers usually use conventional spinning and bait casting gear, as well as fly fishing tackle. Smallmouth are highly regarded for their fighting ability when hooked – old fishing journals referred to the smallmouth as “ounce for ounce and pound for pound the gamest fish that swims”.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Gear

Get high quality fishing equipment that will last for many years during all seasons. Our advice for smallmouth bass fishing tackle is to get a light spinning rod and reel and a good selection of lures.

Smallmouth bass can be successfully caught on a wide range of natural and artificial lures or baits, including plastic jerkbaits, crankbaits, hair jigs, spinner baits, artificial worms, and all types of soft plastic lures, including tubes with lead head jigs or curly tail grubs.

Spinning reels or baitcasting reels may be used, with line strengths of 6 to 15 pounds typically utilised. According to many, smallmouth typically put up a better, more exciting fight than any other black bass.

It’s good to have a couple of different rod and reel combinations that will match the conditions and every smallmouth fishing situation. There are ultra-light and a medium-light spinning outfit, and a medium-light bait casting rig. The most used is a medium-light spinning rod, long between 6 and 7 feet that is matched with a 2000 series reel, with a 10-pound braided line or 8-pound monofilament. This is a great choice for all who want to have one outfit to cover the majority of smallmouth bass fishing situations. Every serious angler should have an ultralight spinning outfit (a 6-foot ultralight rod with a 1000 series reel and 10-pound braid or 4-pound monofilament) for fishing on small to medium-sized rivers. This combination is ideal for casting very light lures.

Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass

Brown bass may also be caught with a fly rod using a dry or wet artificial fly, streamers, nymphs or imitations of larger aquatic creatures, such as crawfish, or leeches. Floating topwater popper fly patterns and buzz baits are also popular for fishing this amazing fish. For river fishing, fly tackle or spinning tackle has been the most popular angling equipment for smallmouth in North America for years now.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

What are the Best Smallmouth Bass Baits? When fishing in colder water, many anglers think that it is more effective to fish with smaller lures like small spinners or hair jigs. When talking about catching smallies during the winter, vertical jigging with 3/4-ounce slab spoons, finesse jigs or bumping tube baits along the bottom are effective tactics. During the rest of the year, you can catch smallie using soft plastic tubes or spinnerbaits.

In their prespawn period, the best baits for smallie include medium-diving crankbaits in crawfish, jigs tipped with plastic chunks, fire tiger hues or plastic grubs. When nesting, try 6-inch plastic lizards or a Mojo rig with French fry-style finesse worms.

After the spawn, smallmouth move into the 8 to 10-foot range along pea gravel points where they can be takin on the Mojo rig or small crankbaits. Summertime smallmouth bass fishing include humps and drop-offs of pea gravel points where the fish hold at depths of 15 – 25 feet. The best for catching smallmouth in the heat of summer is a Carolina-rigged French fry or plastic lizard.

When fall arrives, brown bass move back towards the shallows and can be caught anywhere from the bank out to 20 feet deep. The fish will scatter along the gravel banks of the creeks and on the main lake so try lures that are fast – moving such as spinnerbaits in white or chartreuse or medium-diving crankbaits in crawfish, bluegill colors or fire tiger. Wind-blown banks usually produce the best action for reservoir smallmouth in autumn.

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