Three smallmouth fishing secrets for the beginner

Many anglers love to fish for the smallmouth bass, which is why they’re a very popular game fish sought out by all types of anglers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert, a young child or an adult, fishing for the smallmouth bass is a fun and rewarding experience for all. This species is a hot topic when it comes to tournament fishing and for the weekend anglers.

Identifying a smallmouth bass is pretty easy once you know their character traits. This species is usually a brown color or less commonly a dark green and there is a contrasting dark band that extends vertically down the body.

When looking at the dorsal fin, you should see between thirteen and fifteen soft rays. When looking at the head of a smallmouth bass, you’ll notice the upper jaw extends back to about the middle of their red eyes.

A female smallmouth bass will be between three and six pounds whereas a male will only weigh in around two pounds. This is a very lively fish that will put up a strong fight when you hook one. They will pull hard against your line to try to free themselves, often becoming successful in their attempt.

If you’re not careful and don’t pay close attention to your line, you can lose your bait and the fish but that adds to the excitement of fishing for this species. Keep reading for 3 smallmouth bass fishing secrets for the beginner.

Learning a few good fishing secrets to help you reel in this fish can help ensure you have an enjoyable experience.

Secret Number One: Where to Find the Smallmouth Bass
The first thing that you should know is where to find the smallmouth bass. This species is a little more resourceful than other species and they can adapt to different areas when needed. However, they still have certain preferences and when you know what these are you’ll know where to begin your search.
One of the best places to find the smallmouth bass is in clear, cool water that has lots of shade. They also prefer fast moving currents so an area where the current flows steadily is another great place to start your search. The ideal water temperature is between 66 and 72 degrees.
This bass tends to be more at home in these conditions so looking for areas that match this description is the best place to start but it’s not the only place to find them. They can thrive in other types of water conditions and you can search for them around drop offs, rocks sunken logs, trees, Islands, grassy areas and other underwater structures where they can hide out and wait for food.
Secret Number Two: Choose the Right Bait
Once you have found the best location, choosing your bait is the next step. You can use both live bait and artificial bait with excellent results when fishing for the smallmouth bass. One of the first things that you’ll notice when searching for bass fishing lures is that the selection is huge. In fact, there are probably more bass lures available than for any other species.

Eventually, you can add all types of smallmouth bass lures to your collection but when you’re first starting out, some of your best choices include spinnerbait, crankbait, jigs and soft plastics that resemble worms, minnows and crayfish.
Take along a variety of colors and sizes with you each time you go fishing to accommodate all of your needs when you hit the water. You never really know what to expect so the lures that you think will work the best, may not be what is getting the most action. If you have a collection of them with you, then you can try different things until you find what does work.
The main thing to remember is to present your bait in a natural way. Anything that appears unnatural or out of place will be ignored by this species. You should also avoid getting your scent on the bait. If they smell you, they won’t strike.
Secret Number Three: Have Lots of Patience
One of the main things that beginners have to learn is patience. There will be times when these fish will not bite no matter what technique, bait, lure or presentation you use. That is just the way it is when you go fishing and there is nothing that you can do about it. During these times, you need to enjoy the scenery, fresh air and sunshine. Then on the days when they are biting, you’ll have a blast reeling them in.
These three secrets are the foundation that any new angler needs to build on when fishing for this species. Once you know where to fish, which baits to use and you understand that you must have patience, you’ll be on the right track to becoming a successful fisherman. Smallmouth bass can be a hard species to catch but that’s part of the fun. It’s the challenge that makes it all worth the time and effort you put into it.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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