Smallmouth Bass Facts – Fishing For Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth bass fishing offers some of the most exciting action available for anglers of all skill levels. The facts about smallmouth bass is that they are some of the most game fish for a fight and will wear your thumb out from taking them off the hook. You know when you’ve had a good day smallmouth bass fishing by how raw your thumb gets from holding the smallmouth by the lip while you unhook the fish.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Facts
|Nicknames:||Smallie, bronzeback, brown bass|
|Range:||Native to upper and middle Mississippi River basin, cool water rivers and tributaries in the United States and Canada. Found in all states except for Alaska and Hawaii. Have been transplanted and stocked across the United States and Canada since the late 1800s from their native Mississippi River area|
|Habitat:||Rivers and their tributaries, lakes and reservoirs|
|Spawn:||Springtime when the water warms into the low to mid 50s|
|Baits& Lures:||Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic swim baits and grubs, topwater lures|
|Primary Prey:||Crayfish, bluegill, minnows, leeches and surface insects|
|Supreme Fishing Times:||Springtime, mornings and especially evenings|
|Size Range:||Between 10 and 20 inches, anything greater than 20 inches is considered a trophy smallmouth in most people’s books|
|Table Fare:||flaky, white flesh with a hint of a “fishy” taste, all in all, a good eating fish|
|Difficulty to Catch:||easy to moderate|
|Initial Investment in Equipment:||low, less than $100. Spinning rod and reel combo for around $50, fishing line, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, plastics and some terminal tackle for around $50 will get you started and catching smallmouth bass.|
Smallmouth Bass Basics – Fishing For Beginners
What Do You Need to Start Fishing for Smallmouth Bass?
Spinning rod and reel, fishing line and a Mepps spinner baits…that right there is all you need to get started. Of course you might want a few more fishing lures along with you in case you get a snag, you wouldn’t want to have to cut the fishing trip short.
There’s an undeniable fact about smallmouth bass, and that’s that they love to eat crayfish. When you’re picking out your lures to go smallmouth fishing, make sure to have at least a couple lures that resemble crawfish. Crankbaits and soft plastics that look like crayfish are a must in your tackle box when fishing for smallmouth bass.
If you fish in lakes or rivers that have both smallmouth bass and bluegill, you will also want to have some lures that are colored like bluegill. Bluegill are a natural prey of smallmouth bass, and you will be wise to add crankbaits and swim baits that look like bluegill.
And to round out your smallmouth bass starter kit, you should also have a few spinnerbaits. I prefer the in-line spinners for smallmouth bass, although the traditional spinnerbaits will also work as well.
Where to Fish for Smallmouth Bass?
Most every major river system in the United States and Canada will offer some excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Smallmouth bass are drawn to rapids and current because it’s easier for them to find food there. So grab your fishing pole and smallmouth bass lures and head down to your local river and look for dams and rapids and areas on the river bank where there’s some good rocky structure or fallen trees providing good cover.
Lakes and reservoirs in your area that are known to hold smallmouth bass is also a great place to fish. Without a boat, it’s a little more difficult to fish for smallmouth, but if you can work your way around the shoreline of a lake and cast the weed beds and fallen trees, you’re sure to find some smallmouth bass. Do a little local research in your specific area and find out which lakes are known to have smallmouth bass before you go. If you’re fishing a reservoir, they will usually hold smallmouth if the reservoir is damming up one of the major rivers or tributaries that feed those rivers.
The further north you go in the United States and in Canada, the more likelihood you will catch smallmouth bass. They are a cooler water fish, and like cleaner and clearer lakes than do their largemouth bass cousin. If you’re planning a smallmouth bass fishing trip, the upper Midwest and Great Lakes area, as well as areas in the Northeast US are prime areas for smallies. Ontario, Canada is also a hotspot for smallmouth bass.
When Should You Fish for Smallmouth Bass?
Spring fishing for smallmouth bass during the spawn offers fantastic action. As the males guard the nest, they are ruthless in their attempts to protect the eggs in the nest. They will literally bite anything thrown within 10 or 15 feet of their nest.
Shortly after the spawn, smallmouth bass remain in shallower water, and are easier accessed in lakes especially. May and June are great times for smallmouth bass in most all areas of the United States, but water temperature ultimately drives their spawning patterns at different lines of latitude.
Like most fish, mornings and evenings are better times because the sun is not as hot and more areas of the lakes and rivers are in shade along shorelines. These shady areas are prime locations to target your fishing for smallmouth bass. The bass are more active when the sun is not beating down on them…in fact, not only smallmouth bass, but many fish that are located within 15 feet of the water’s surface will seek out the shady areas.
Also, smallmouth bass come up shallower in the mornings and especially before sundown to feed and search for prey. And because you’re a smart smallmouth bass angler, you will want to be out during those times as well to catch them.
Fishing is just one big active food chain. Place yourself in the food chain, and study when the best times are to find your prey. Learning the facts about smallmouth bass will help you know when to fish, where to fish and with what to fish with.