Smallmouth bass fishing on the creek

This picture along with the rest of the pictures in this article were all taken by me and are of fish i caught in 2011 unless otherwise stated.
This picture along with the rest of the pictures in this article were all taken by me and are of fish i caught in 2011 unless otherwise stated.

I can't wait for smallmouth bass fishing!

As this new year kicks off, I find myself getting more and more antsy as smallmouth bass fishing season creeps ever so slowly closer and closer. I cannot wait to hook my first one, and I don't care if its the size of a minnow! Come on Spring! Come on warm weather! Let's do this thing already!

Some people claim to have luck catching them in the cold of winter, but I am not one of them. I mostly fish a small creek that runs through my backyard, and I have heard of locals fishing in winter with some success but I don't know where or how. I can only assume they must use some particular bait and fish deep holes.

So since I can't load my gear up and going catching smallmouth, I am doing the next best thing... Writing about going smallmouth bass fishing.

My first smallmouth bass of 2011
My first smallmouth bass of 2011

Now don't get me wrong, I love all types of fishing. I grew up fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, and anything else that would bite in any pond, river, or lake I got a chance to fish. Now days though I spend most of my fishing opportunities on the small creek in my back yard and the many float trips I make each year in a canoe or kayak. Given my setting, the most common game fish i catch are smallmouth and spotted bass.

As soon as it starts getting warm enough for them to be active, I will find myself spending most of my free time with a line in the water trying to catch one these elusive little black bass. Throughout the spring, summer, and early fall they can be found readily in my little creek and I certainly try to make the most of it.

Why the smallmouth bass craze?

The smallmouth bass is a type of black bass and is often referred to as a brownie. It just depends on which of us hillbillies you are talking too. As i stated before, I grew up catching largemouth bass and catfish and i wouldn't pass up a chance to catch either. However, over the past couple years I've grown to appreciate fishing for smallmouth bass even more.

Although some die hard largemouth bass fisherman might take offense to this statement, I'm going to say it anyway... Fishing for smallmouth bass is much more challenging than fishing for largemouth bass and that makes it more fun.

Sure any random person with a fishing pole can land a few good large sized smallmouth. However, to successfully continue landing decent sized smallmouth bass in great numbers requires a special skill set.

Many fisherman are of the opinion that smallmouth bass are much more canny and can see fisherman through the clear waters they generally frequent. I personally have noticed that if you can see them they will rarely bite. Also, I've noticed that if you catch one in a certain spot then I don't have any luck in that same general vicinity for at least several minutes.

The biggest challenge of catching smallmouth bass is landing them. Most fish fight in the water when they are hooked. Largemouth bass rarely jump up out of the water more than once if they are hooked. Smallmouth bass on the other hand will jump out of the water several times and are often very successful at dislodging hooks. Many fisherman say that pound for pound they are the hardest fighting fish in the world. I won't argue with that statement. They hit like titans. Even the smallest smallmouth bass feel like a behemoth when you get them on your line. I along with most people have felt the horrible gut wrenching feeling when one of them pops them self off the line right as you bring them in the boat. It didn't take me long to invest in a net. When in a net isn't available I learned to grab on to them like a bucking bull and don't let go. You have to get them up in the boat or on land with you and hang on for dear life or they will get away. Of course you don't want to hurt the fish, especially when you are catch and release fishing, so getting a hold of them quickly and gently is critical to keeping them from smacking against the boat or land.

My good friend Pat and his impressive catch. I removed his face because I wasn't sure he would want it published in my hub. Trust me... you aren't missing anything.
My good friend Pat and his impressive catch. I removed his face because I wasn't sure he would want it published in my hub. Trust me... you aren't missing anything.

Smallmouth bass fishing tips

The process of actually fishing for smallmouth differs from fishing for largemouth. In my experience largemouth bass usually bite more frequently in calmer deeper waters. Being raised fishing largemouth, I always had a tendency to work these areas. Smallmouth bass will bite in calmer deeper waters, but they also bite just as well or better in fast moving waters. I've caught impressive smallmouth in shallow fast water. Last year one of my best friend's biggest fish came out of rapid water that was no more than a foot deep.

One area in my creek has fast waist deep water moving just out past a small alcove. When the sun gets in the right position and you are wearing polarized glasses, you can actually see the bigger smallmouth bass moving up and down the center stream. The run it like a freeway up and down passing one another occasionally exiting in the small alcove or near a root ball. Some will work their way up underneath a tree stump and sit. These rarely bite. Others however will spend a few minutes checking the area for food, before returning to the fish interstate and moving on. If you can get your bait near these fish you are likely to catch one.

Chompers Skirted Twin Tail Grub
Chompers Skirted Twin Tail Grub

This isn't the same brand but it looks identical to the monster from the black lagoon lure I was talking about.

Rebel Deep Teeny Wee - Stream Crawfish
Rebel Deep Teeny Wee - Stream Crawfish

This is the exact Rebel Crawdad I use and so is the one below.

Berkley MPG2-NATC PowerBait Power Grubs, Natural/Chartreuse, 2-Inch
Berkley MPG2-NATC PowerBait Power Grubs, Natural/Chartreuse, 2-Inch

These aren't the exact grubs I use but they are pretty similar. A brown motor oil color on the body and a chartreuse tail.


Smallmouth bass bait

It has been my experience that often times fish are more likely to go for bait that is similar to what they are used to eating. This becomes key because each body of water differs slightly. For instance in my creek the old classic worms and minnows work well, but crawdads work good to as the population of crawdads are high.

I usually use worms because they are cheap and easily available. The only problem that some people have with worms are all of the little perch and sunfish they attract as well. Personally, I'm not super picky and enjoy catching these little guys too.

Other people prefer using fake bait and we've had some luck with a few different things.

I've had some luck with Arkie's Jeff's salty crawls which are hard to find these days. Basically they are a rubber tube with mossy looking strands and two back fins. They look like a creature from the black lagoon but fish love them.

I've also had good luck with Rebels hard bodied little crawdads. These work really well but with the two treble hooks they hang up easily, and at $5 a pop it gets old replacing them. They can be found at most retail stores that sell fishing lures.

Something we started using this past year that has worked really well are these little Powerbait grubs with tails. I will have to look in my gear to tell you the exact name, and come back to update. These also can be found at most retail stores that sell fishing lures.

Everyone has a favorite

Which fresh water fish is your favorite to catch?

  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Catfish
  • White Bass
  • Crappie
  • Other
  • Everything! Let's do this thing!
See results without voting

Hurry up warm weather!

As you can see from my pictures, 2011 was a great fishing year for me. I have over 100 pictures of fish we caught this year and that was only when a camera was readily available. If this year turns out to be half as good as last year I will be ecstatic. Unfortunately, I guess we will just have to wait to see what this year brings. Hopefully in a few months I will have some more good pictures to share so be sure to check for future fishing hubs! I just can't wait for it to get here!

If you have anything to add, suggestions, tips, or tricks feel free to add them to the comment section at the bottom. I don't believe myself to be any kind of expert angler, and i always welcome a good fishing story or any advice anyone has to give.

Have a good year and godspeed if your a fisherman!

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Comments 12 comments

Pat 4 years ago

I have a wonderful face and many people are in fact missing out by not seeing it. As far as fishing you are correct last year was awesome and I expect this year to be even better!!!!

Insane Mundane profile image

Insane Mundane 4 years ago from Earth

You got that right... Smallmouth bass are definitely one of the most pound-per-pound best fighters out there, when it comes to fish. They make Largemouth bass look like sissies, once hooked.

I haven't went in a while, but when I used to go fishing often, live crawdads were always the bait of choice for me, when it comes to bass - although I caught my record-size smallmouth bass using a freakin' bread ball (using a piece of white bread) on a barbed hook while fishing in a small creek!

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hahaha Pat! I hope you are correct brother!

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks Mundane! They sure are a good fight!

I've had a lot of luck with crawdads when I can scoop one up. A few years back on one of our float trips I found a small pool beside the water. Earlier in the year it had obviously been a part of the creek, but since it was getting later in the summer it had dried up and left two beautiful smallmouth trapped inside it. They were each probably somewhere between 4 and 5lbs. I couldn't bare the thought of leaving these two impressive fish to die in the pool. This was a trip I hadn't even planned on fishing on so I didn't even have a pole. Fortunately someone else did. So after I secured the pole I spent a few minutes out in the water and caught two crawdads. Of course no one believed that they I was going to have any luck so after some good hearted banter several of us quietly crept up to the pool. I had doubts myself, but I kind of figured they would probably be hungry. Apparently they were, because using the crawdads as bait I was able to catch both fish and release them back in to the main body of the creek.

That's awesome you caught a smallmouth with a bread ball. I wouldn't have even thought they would go for that!

Thanks for sharing!

Gusser 4 years ago

Rated up---But Largemouth jump many times when hooked. You just need to catch a big one hahahaha---Great hub

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hahaha I'll have to work on that Gusser!

Jonathan Kirby 4 years ago

I fish a creek No more than 15 feet wide down in a holler behind my house a mile or so, and I have great luck with both the teeny wee rebel craw dad and my personal favorite for small mouth bass much like the ones in your photos which are nice by the way is the STRIKE KING BITSY POND MINNOW in either ghost white or Tennessee shad both work well in the pretty clear small creek I fish not putting the rebel lure down by any means I have 3 in my tackle box , but for roughly 4 bucks at walmart you can grab a bitsy minnow and it is bound to land some of them good size fighters!! I got fish fever from writing this I have to get up and go cast my old 33 aka the "creek getter" because not only do I favor catching the small mouth which is by far my my favorite catch I also make up dough bait and catch catfish up to 1&1/2 feet long weighing 2 pounds or more and nice bream and blue Gill... so all in all I am totally with you on small mouth fishing and smaller creek fishing Thanks for have my comment keep up the good angling, and you and the Ovid readers try the bitsy pond minnow.. Thanks

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thank you Jonathan! I appreciate the comment! Next time I'm at the store I'll see if I can find your bitsy pond minnows! Thanks for the tip! I'm glad you enjoyed the article! Good luck out there!

Randall Pruitt profile image

Randall Pruitt 4 years ago from Georgia

I love fishing for everything. I fish in the lake and haven't tried river or pond fishing yet. I use worms and other artificial bait. I have a black blue jig I tried but I didn't have any luck as I believe I was not in the right place. Caught a 10 lb channel catfish a week ago with live minnow bait. What is the best artificial lure you would recommend? Jig, crankbait, or rig? Really looking to catch that first bass this year.

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks for the comment Randall! It's really hard to say what would work for you. It depends so much on the location, the weather, what the fish eat in that location, and which type of bass you are going for. The only fake bait I've had consistent luck with in all conditions and bass types is pictured above in this article. The twin tail skirted grub. I've used various types of these grubs in all kinds of conditions and environments, and I've always had pretty decent luck. Of course everyone has different preferred baits. Personally if I was really wanting to catch my first bass of the year I would probably use live worms or live minnows. Let me know if you get one! Thanks again and good luck!

Randall Pruitt profile image

Randall Pruitt 4 years ago from Georgia

Thank you. Live minnows are fairly cheap at the bait shop. I'll pick up some and try them.

Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Best of luck! Let me know how it goes!

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