John Rankin

A few Tips for Catching Smallmouth Bass in Clear Water

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clear streamAre you one of those who doubt your ability to snag a few smallmouth bass when the water is crystal clear? If so, don’t feel bad as many of us find this a daunting challenge. But put that chin up, and read on because we are going to help you with a few tips for catching smallmouth bass in clear water.

Don’t scare them

One rule to always remember when going after smallies is this: when you can see the bottom the smallies can see you. My uncle, who has fished for most game species in America, applied the same strategy for these conditions as he used when hunting Whitetails, Elk, or other big game. Camouflage clothing. Yep, you read that right. I always thought he was taking it a bit far, but the number of trophy fish he has on the wall attest to the fact this method works.

Long casts are one of the keys to clear water fishing. Consider using a longer rod with braid and a flourocarbon leader to avoid scaring away or turning off the bass.

Clear Water Baits

Ok, for the baits to use while fishing for smallmouth bass in clear water,  start with jerk baits or tubes and keep them moving as smallies will actively feed during this time of day. Natural colors are best in clear water. Dead sticking the bait can be super effective because the water will move your bait in subtle ways that you can’t, imparting a natural look to the bait. Smallies will come in from areas where you might not suspect them to be due to the fact the water is so clear sharp eyed bronzebacks can see the baits from further than twenty feet away.

When you need to quickly carpet an area of clear water definitely go with crank baits. Allow the light conditions to dictate the best colors of baits and for further casting try using eight to ten pound clear mono or flourocarbon line on a medium rod with a spinning reel. Go even lighter on the line for better action from the crank baits but avoid using heavier than ten pounds because heavy line reduces the action of the baits.

For great strikes that keep you coming back for more, work spinnerbaits on the surface, or just under. Bright, silver or gold blades will be as visible as possible to pull in smallmouths from long distances. By far, chartreuse is the top skirt color choice, but if the fish are ignoring this color try pink or white. Use a stinger hook for more hookups.

For those lazy, hot summer days switch to tube baits. Try fishing these off the bottom in an upward jerking manner to “wake-up” the smallies. If nothing else it will irritate them into striking. It really does work. If that doesn’t work, switch to the dead sticking technique as described previously.

Give our tips for catching smallmouth bass in clear water a try. You will catch more and larger smallmouth bass.

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