Keys To Fishing Smallmouths Can Vary Between North And South Waterways

bcard_ns_blackburn-300x336It’s no secret that smallmouth bass act differently than largemouth. They are known for being “here one day and gone the next.” What I did not realize until recently was just how different they can be in northern waters compared to the southern smallmouth I grew up fishing for. Through trial and error, I have seen some differences between the two regions and also developed some theories about why they act differently.

Wind, Waves, and Overcast Skies

When it gets windy and overcast in southern waters, it is time to pick up reaction baits like jerkbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits when you are fishing for smallmouth. It happens all the time; the weather gets nasty and the smallmouth chomp reaction baits when I am fishing in southern waters. Up north around the Great Lakes, I have found it to be completely opposite.

In 2012, during my first year on the Elite Series, we had several northern smallmouth fishing events, and I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. The weather would get cloudy and rainy and I could not catch them on reaction baits at all. It took me a while to figure it out, but I have since learned that flat calm and sunny days are the best days to fish with reaction baits in northern waters. This goes against everything that I learned growing up fishing for smallmouth in Tennessee and Kentucky.

It really is a polar opposite between the two regions and I have found that when the weather is overcast and windy, the northern smallmouth feed along the bottom and your best bet is to be using slow moving baits like a drop shot or a tube. On the other hand, when it is hot and sunny in the southern part of the country is when you slow down and fish these baits.

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