What do smallmouth bass eat? try these baits

When you mention bass fishing, the smallmouth bass almost immediately comes to mind. Anglers of all skill levels can catch this very popular game fish, which is one of the reasons why they are such a popular species. You can fish for them with your kids or fish professionally so they suit all types of anglers.
They’re a spirited fish meaning they will fight hard when you get one hooked. In fact, they have even been known to jump into the air a few times to try and get loose when hooked, which is an amazing sight to see. However, it does make it hard to hold onto your gear while they’re being so active so keep this in mind just in case and you won’t be caught off guard. They also make a great meal so this is another reason why so many fishermen like to seek them out.
You can find the smallmouth bass in different types of water but they do prefer clear, calm waters. The perfect temperature for this species is somewhere around 66 to 72 degrees. They will usually be close to some type of structure because they don’t like to be out in open water. Therefore, start your search around areas with structures that can provide them a place to hide out. This includes logs, brush, piers, islands, rocks, drop-offs and grassy areas.
When fishing for the smallmouth bass you can use lures if you prefer. However, serious anglers like to fish with live bait because it seems to get the attention of the larger fish faster. In order to choose the best live bait to use, you need to know what the smallmouth bass likes to eat.
What Do Smallmouth Bass Eat?
The smallmouth bass eats a variety of foods and learning more about what they are attracted to naturally, will help you decide which baits to try when you go fishing. When this species is small, they feed on water fleas, copepods, aquatic insects and other types of small floating animals.
When they mature, they begin feeding on the following:
* Crayfish
* Minnows
* Darters
* Sunfish
* Yellow Perch
Any one of the baitfish above would be an excellent choice to try when fishing for smallmouth bass but crayfish makes up a big part of their diet. Therefore, the crayfish is the best bait to try when you first start fishing followed by minnows. Both of these usually result in strikes.
It’s still a good idea to look around at the baitfish found in the area naturally when trying to decide which baits to use and pick something that’s similar to what you see. This normally yields the best results because fish have a tendency of striking at what they’re familiar with and avoiding something that seems strange or out of place.
Keep in mind that the baitfish in the area will change depending on which season you go fishing. That’s why it’s so important for you to spend a few minutes looking around before you start fishing. It will help you make the best choice.
Tips for Catching Smallmouth Bass
When using live bait, it’s important to keep it as fresh as possible. The best way to do this is by having a baitwell on your boat where you can keep them. If you have a small boat or if you’re fishing from the shore, the next best thing is to have a cooler filled with water. If you’re on a long fishing trip, you can change the water in the container with the water in which you’re fishing and this will help to keep them livelier for a longer period of time.
Presentation is very important when fishing regardless of which bait you choose to use. For this reason, it’s a good idea to practice every chance you get. The better you become at presenting the bait the more fish you’ll catch.
Smallmouth bass travel together in groups and the fish in each group will be about the same size. This information will help you know if you’re in the right area when you hook your first fish. If you were hoping for a larger size, you may want to seek out another school.
This species will respond to your bait differently depending on where you’re fishing. When they’re being aggressive, you can use most any method successfully. However, when they’re being picky, you’ll need to slow down your presentation and try to entice them to strike. Where you fish will also determine when the best fishing time will be. Sometimes, they’re more active in the morning and other times, they may be more aggressive in the late evening.
Smallmouth bass do spook very easily so you must be quiet when fishing or you will scare them away. You can talk but it’s best to keep it at a whisper and always cut your motor when approaching a strike zone.


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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