Pound for pound there is no harder fighting freshwater fish on the planet (according to the “experts”) that the smallmouth bass and as a person who has been fishing for more than a quarter of a century I would have to agree. Smallmouth bass are a ton of fun to catch with a rod and reel and if you are like me and prefer to use ultralight action rods and reels when fishing, this fact is hammered home almost anytime that hungry smallmouth bass is hooked.
There is no doubt that smallmouth bass are a ton of fun to catch and the other fact that any seasoned smallmouth angler would agree on is that a key to catching smallmouth consistently is using the proper smallmouth bass bait. In this article I will outline some of the best baits for cold weather smallmouth bass so that you can make sure they are a part of your bass fishing arsenal.
Blade Baits – A half ounce blade bait (such as a “silver buddie”) can be a tough bait to beat in the cold weather months of December, January, and February. Blade baits are painfully simple lures made from a flat piece of metal cut into the general shape of a bait fish with two treble hooks and a hole at the top that serves as a line tie. These baits can be cast and retrieved or jigged vertically which makes them extremely versatile. When the smallmouth head into deep water during the cold winter months, make sure that you have some of these lures available.
Hair Jigs – When air temperatures reach the 30’s and below the subtle movement of a hair jig can be difficult to beat when it comes to fishing for smallmouth bass. In lakes and reservoirs target drop offs and/or underwater structure. When targeting river smallmouth, fish you hair jigs along eddies and other current breaks. If you can find a hair jig made from rabbit fur, all the better, as rabbit hair produces subtle underwater pulsations that hungry smallmouth find irresistible.
Float & Fly – Many smallmouth anglers aren’t aware of this incredibly effective cold weather smallmouth technique, but they should be. Some anglers use a marabou style jig as their “fly while others use a traditional artificial fly beneath their float, but the bottom line is that when it comes to cold weather smallmouth bass bait the float and fly should not be overlooked.
No matter how you slice it the aforementioned baits need to be a part of ever cold weather smallmouth anglers repertoire. If you don’t have any of them in your tackle box they should be added sooner rather than later.