Smallmouth bass are a beloved target among North American anglers, and you’ll even find smallmouth in areas you may not have expected. Catching them in summer can be a bit trickier, however, since they tend to prefer deeper haunts, and with that in mind, we consider six summertime tips.
1. Identify the Ideal Depth
How deep smallmouth bass like to go during summer depends on where you are, and it can help to research this data as well as maintain notes if this is a spot you frequent regularly. If there are shallow and vegetation areas, you may check there, but smallmouth will generally gravitate to cool, deep water. If available, you can use the 30-to-40 feet range as an excellent starting point and then adjust accordingly.
2. Use Your Lure Choice to Your Advantage
You may file this one under obvious initially, but consider that smallmouth see exceptionally well in clear water, which is something many anglers new to smallmouth don’t realize. These fish will also come great distances in order to grab your lure, and you can use this to your advantage. Lure choices should be as realistic as possible and disguised to match the size, shape and color of local plants.
3. You May Have to Provoke Bites
Something else to be aware of is that smallmouth bass can become lazier than normal during summer, and for novices, lazy in this sense means less active and motivated. If you sense that the smallmouths in your area are lazy, then you’ll need to provoke them. The pros often recommend using a tube to attract the fish suspended near the bottom. Jerk the tube at about 4 to 8 feet and then let it fall back again.
4. Line Type and Size Matter
A long line size is important because you want the longer casts since the water is clearer. Ensure that the line isn’t too heavy—such as more than 14-pound—because it can stifle bait action. A lot of experts recommend fluorocarbon because it’s less visible and allows for a heavier line.
5. The Speed of Your Drop is Super-Important
Drop is a matter of feel, and when you get it, you’ll double your bites. In the meantime, note the wind, current speeds and water depth and adjust accordingly. This will become second nature to you in time. Be mindful that these factors will change even on the same river.
6. Embrace the Rain
Some anglers don’t like fishing in the rain, but some of the best fishing for smallmouth bass in the summertime happens when it’s raining. The fish will be more active in general, and it’s a great opportunity to dial in those skills that will pay off during non-rainy days.