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Best Smallmouth Bass Lures


What is the best technique to capture smallmouth bass? Here are six examples of effective smallmouth bass lures and how to fish them. The list is arranged by season, beginning with what lures perform best in early spring and what attracts work best in late fall. Of course, this is directly linked to water temperatures. Door County is a unique location that offers world-class smallmouth bass fishing.

6 Type of the Best Smallmouth Bass Lures

Blade Baits

Smallmouth fishing blade baits are an excellent cold-water technique, but they may also be quite successful during the summer. It’s a bait that seldom catches the attention of fish, which is always lovely.

When bait fishing a blade, raise the rod tip and lower it as you reel in the slack. This motion makes it swim and vibrate up towards the surface before fluttering down as it sinks. This replicates an injured baitfish that is frequently smashed when it enters the fall.

However, if you’re trying to catch bass in icy water, this bait should be worked at a slower speed. The goal is for it to sink to the bottom and sit there. Then, you should lift it out of the water and shake off any loosened dirt every so often. However, if you want to target bass in very chilly water temperatures

Small Soft Plastics

For the most part, these soft plastics are finesse fishing lures, at least for the ones we’ll be discussing. These are generally fished in the same way, by dragging and hopping them along the floor. Here are the ideas to get you started: tubes, Ned rigs, and Kietech paddle tails.


Baits like these are ideal for rocky and sandy bottoms where smallmouth bass cruise in search of gobies. The only issue is that they get trapped between rocks from time to time, so they’re best fished from a boat to save themselves the trouble.

These soft plastics should be tied down with a jig head to keep them from floating on the surface. This also marks the bait’s front end facing upwards and its rear end facing down. The appeal of this presentation is that it mimics a goby or crayfish, which is what a smallmouth believes they are seeing. Depending on where you’re fishing, you may rig these baits weedless if necessary.


All soft plastic finesse lures should be fished in the same manner, dragging and hopping the bait across the bottom. They’re fantastic for seeking out smallmouth bass cruising for gobies on rocky ledges and sandy flats.

When fishing tube baits, tube jigs with a 60-degree tube head can be used to drag and drift them, so the tube flails the bottom as it plows ahead. You may use either a 90-degree or 180-degree head for increased cracking displays when vertical jigging by rigging it with a 90-degree leader.

The bright hue of this bright Pinkfish Soft Plastic makes it popular among anglers. They’re best fished from a boat so that you can grab them without getting caught between rocks. To keep soft plastics on the bottom, they should all be rigged with a jig head. This arrangement also keeps the head down, and the tail ends up imitating a Goby or crayfish. When circumstances demand it, they may all be weedless rigs.

Water Temperature

When dealing with sluggish fish, these lures are a great way to catch them in cold water and warmer temperatures. Even the most lethargic fish will succumb to these baits in most situations. So, if you’re having trouble obtaining a bite using other lures, whether it’s because it’s icy water or more temperate zones, the baits that sink to the bass level and rise off of the bottom are likely to work.


For two primary reasons, jigs are the most widely used and effective smallmouth bass lure. A jig for smallmouth fishing can be fished at any time of year. Jigs also have a high potential of landing a trophy smallmouth due to their reputation as large bass producers.

The most frequent jigs used by anglers are a rubber-skirted bass jig and a hair jig, such as a bucktail jig. This is when baitcasting equipment begins to come into play. Once you start using 3/8 ounce and heavier jigs, it’s time to break out the baitcasting gear. However, finesse jigs weighing 1/4 ounce or less should be handled with a spinning tackle.


Jigs are most effective in waters between 4 and 12 feet deep. When using jigs weighing 3/8 ounces or more, baitcasting equipment is preferable. However, for finesse jigs weighing 1/4 ounce or less, spinning gear is preferable.

Water Temperature

Jigs are a valuable tackle item to have in your bag on every trip, whether it’s during the winter or summer. Overall, jigs are the most widely used and successful smallmouth bass lure. Because there is no incorrect time of year to use one when fishing for smallmouths, they are pretty popular smallmouth lures. They also have a reputation for attracting large fish, so if you target a jig while smallmouth fishing, the chances of landing your next trophy smallmouth bass are excellent.


The jerk bait is a popular smallmouth bass bait in the early spring. Jerkbait is excellent cold water baits, and they’re especially effective for catching smallmouths in the early spring when water temperatures are more relaxed. It works because they can be performed slowly, which is particularly true with hanging jerk baits.

Water with artificial hues is the most effective, significantly if you can predict which species of little baitfish mouth will consume in that region—the ability to get reaction strikes when fishing jerk baits is an added benefit.


Suspending Jerkbaits can be fished on rocky and sandy bottoms that plummet dramatically from 5 feet to 20 feet. Natural hues are typically preferable, and they need to be worked slowly when fishing in frigid water temperatures. Jerkbaits are fantastic for producing a response strike in general.

Water Temperature

Jerkbait fishing is excellent in cold water, making it an outstanding fall and early spring activity.

Crankbaits and Spinnerbaits

We combine these two lures because they are both powerful fishing lures with a lot of power. When fish are active, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are two of the most popular smallmouth lures. It’s pretty successful in burning these baits along rock ledges and weed margins in deeper water. These are superior choices for depths from six to thirty feet or more.

If fishing a rocky substrate, try to have a crankbait fall into the rocks, deflecting the bait off of them with the lure’s bill. These are also fantastic choices if you’re fishing a grassy bottomed lake. If you ride the crankbait along only the tips of the grass, you’ll frequently catch a smallie ambush it. If you use a spinnerbait instead of a crankbait, it’s less likely that it’ll pick up weeds.


The bodies of these lures are buoyant, allowing them to deflect cover. Smallmouth anglers should turn them over rocks, gravel, or vegetation where the smallmouth usually feed depending on the fishery.

The rod tip should be raised and lowered to reel in the slack when fishing with a blade bait. This motion vibrates and sends the bait swimming up and down, then flutters down as it sinks, imitating an injured baitfish. In the fall, these are very popular smallmouth lures.

Water Temperature

While blade baits are fantastic for smallmouth fishing, they may also be utilized in the warm months.

Topwater Lures

Smallmouth bass is known for being aggressive feeders, which makes largemouth bass appear like slugs. Topwater lures are the ideal method to catch them when they’re attacking. The best time of day to fish topwater lures for smallmouth bass is in the morning and late afternoon. Unless it’s overcast with a light chop on the surface, mid-day can also be quite productive.

Walk the dog lures are a few of the most excellent topwater baits for smallmouth. In clear water, natural patterns that are barely translucent are ideal. This will appear to be a baitfish struggling on the surface and an easy catch. The Gunfish is one walk the dog lure that works well for smallmouth.

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With long, continuous drags, a spook may be cast as if it were a snake swimming on the surface. Even modest tugs will bring these topwater lures to life, landing that smallmouth trophy. There’s nothing better than a firm topwater strike from an aggressive smallie for an angler. Any dog lure walk will suffice since they all seem like struggling baitfish, making them an easy meal.

Water Temperature

The best topwater bite is thought to be when the water temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, any temperature range of 55 to 72 might result in a uniquely memorable topwater bite from an aggressive little one.

Final Thoughts

When smallmouth bass is feeding, they can make a largemouth bass appear to be a slug. When targeting smallmouths, keep in mind the locations where they prefer to live. The largemouth bass is most often found in thickly vegetated areas, whereas smallmouths prefer rocky and sandy bottoms. Smallmouths are also more likely to be seen in more significant numbers in clean water than stained water.

If you’re looking for a go-to bait, jigs or soft plastic lures with natural patterns are the way to go. Smallmouths are frequently looking for crawfish on rocks, which is what jigs and soft plastics imitate.

A smallmouth bass lure does not have to be as weedless as a largemouth lure since you will be on a rocky bottom most of the time. Smallmouth lures are also frequently smaller.


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