“Small lures and finesse presentations is what I tend to use for smallmouth bass“. This is a topic of discussion that we often hear anglers mention when smallmouth bass fishing. But there are certain times of the year when these subtle presentations can do more harm than good. Smallmouth bass can be caught year round. Many anglers choose to target smallmouth bass only during the summer months, but winter months can be very rewarding. Fishing in December, January, or February may not hold the numbers that are common during summertime, but every fish caught will most likely be bigger than average.
Follow along to learn more about our top 5 best smallmouth fishing lures to catch more smallmouth bass at your favorite smallmouth fishery. We are saving the best for last but don’t underestimate the the latter!
5. Grub. There are two types of grubs that work very well for smallmouth. The 4 inch grub and 3 inch grub. While there are many different colors to choose from, there are 3 basic patterns that we like to stick with.
- Baitfish: white, pearl, transparent, or white with black fleck
- Crawfish: orange, yellow, red, watermelon red fleck, watermelon black fleck
- Leaches: black, purple, dark brown
Use grubs with a 3/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce jig head with a 1/0, 2/0, or 3/0 jig head. Lighter jig heads are best used as a search bait on shallow flats where there are more hang-ups including rocks, logs, weeds etc. Heavier jig heads can be used to fish deeper water during hot summer months or chilly winter months.
4. Pop-R. The popperwill cause erratic surface movement that lure big smallmouth out for an explosive fight. Smallmouth will commonly follow a popper all the way to the boat before taking the bait. This lure works very well in the early morning as the sun is still rising and the fog is hugging the water. Follow these three popper colors for success on the water
- Chartreuse/ silver or gold
3. Senko. Many senko type baits work well, but Gary Yamamoto has perfected the action for these baits. These baits can be fished in a variety of ways. You can jerk these baits for an erratic movement, slow sink these baits weedless, or use the wacky rig behind eddies. Follow the color choices below for using a senko year round.
- Spring: black, blue, green pumpking, purple
- Summer: white, green, black, transparent speck
- Fall: brown, orange, red, green pumpkin red fleck
2. Spinnerbait. A spinnerbait is a staple in the smallmouth bass arsenal. With plenty of flash and lots of movement the spinnerbait excels in open water and 1-8 foot deep river channels. Using the spinnerbait to mimic bait-fish pods, there are only a couple color choices that we use regularly. Using a tandem blade instead of a colorado blade will work better, as smallmouth are looking for flash instead of using their lateral line to detect movement. We prefer the small colorado blade with a medium sized tandem blade for the full effect.
- White skirt/silver tandem, gold colorado
- White and chartreuse skirt/silver tandem, silver colorado
- White and blue/pink skirt/silver tandem, gold colorado
1. Fluke. This is a given, and we know you’ve been waiting for it! The white fluke is probably the most common river smallmouth bait in the United States. It has proven time and time again to land trophy sized to juvenile smallmouth. There are many color variations that are proven to be effective, other than pearl white. There are many ways to fish a fluke other than the jerk, jerk, pause method. Try slow sinking flukes to deep holes to pull out bigger fish. After your first jerk out of a big hole, give your bait 2-3 pauses and watch your line. If your line hops, reel your excess line and continue to perform a reel-set. Take a dive into our color choices to see if you can land more trophy sized fish!
- Pearl white
- Watermelon Red
- Watermelon Purple