Southern Bassin - Fishing for Spring Smallmouth

One of the most sought after fish in southern lakes and rivers is the Smallmouth Bass. Southern Lakes and rivers are home to some of the biggest smallmouths in the country. Lakes such as Kentucky, Wheeler, Dale Hollow, Pickwick and Percy Priest have become smallmouth factories. While most anglers only fish for Largemouth bass, the smallmouth are regarded as the real trophies in southern waters. Unlike northern fisheries, the growing season is a lot longer in the south and the smallmouth take that to full advantage.

Once water temperatures rise into the lower 50's, smallmouth will begin feeding up before migrating to their spawning location. This presents anglers with easier options when trying to locate large lunker bronzebacks. Smallmouth can be found in water depths from 4ft to 12ft. Rocky main lake points, humps, ledges, and dam tail waters are the best locations to find these fish. While mostly feeding on bait fish and craw fish, smallmouth will strike a large variety of baits presented to them. The most effective technique to find the larger females, is to utilize your depth finder. Larger smallmouths will suspend under schools of bait fish and are clearly marked on the graph.

The following list of lures can help you in selecting the proper bait.

Norman Deep little "N" Crank bait
Bandit 300 Crank bait
Rapala suspending Husky Jerk
Jigs - 1/4oz - 1/2oz depending on depth and current.
Shakey Head Rigs- Finesse baits such as crawfish, creature, and straight tail worms.
Spinner baits - Double willow blades will emulate shad better than Colorado blades.

Always remember that smallmouth bass do not share the same patterns as largemouth bass. Smallmouth relate to deeper and cooler water, unlike largemouths who prefer warmer, shallower water. Smallmouths also become active a lot earlier than largemouths but turn off as water warms up. 

I am fortunate to have access to these great southern lakes, and would suggest anyone from surrounding territories to come visit for exceptional smallmouth fishing. Thank you for your time and check back soon for more posts.

Jeff Hoffman
Nashville,TN

Southern Smallmouth at it's BEST!

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