As the weather warms and water temperatures in lakes and rivers follow suit, there is one freshwater fish that is as fun to catch as any and that species of fish is the smallmouth bass. Smallmouth bass (sometimes called bronze backs, because of their deep golden color) can be found in lakes, rivers, and streams and are widely known as one of the hardest fighting fish, pound for pound, that can be caught in freshwater and in this article I will outline 3 mistakes that you are probably making when fishing for these beautiful fish.
The first mistake that many bass fishermen make is not paying attention to the forage in the river or lake that you are fishing. Hungry smallmouth will never be far from their natural forage, whether you are talking about sculpins, minnows, crayfish, frogs, or whatever natural forage that there might be, make sure that you match your lure/approach to that forage as much as possible. Don’t make the mistake of not matching your lures/approach to the natural forage in the body of water that you are fishing
The second mistake that many smallmouth anglers make is not being on the water when the bass are the most active, and thus the most likely to be feeding. Although there are multiple ways to determine when the fish that you are fishing for may or may not be active, my favorite is the moon rise and set. Where you aware of the fact that the moon rise and set both play a role in whether or not fish will be feeding? Well, these two occurrences sure do have an impact of fish behavior and the fishing will often be very good in the hour or two window that brackets either the moon rise or set. A simple internet search on the term ‘moon rise’ will provide you with any necessary information. Be on the water when the smallmouth are active, and you will automatically become more successful.
The third mistake that many smallmouth fishermen make is not utilizing live bait. I know that in many bass fishing circles, the use of live bait is frowned upon, but live baits such as worms, minnows and even leeches can be great baits to use when fishing for smallmouth bass. This fact is especially true when you are fishing for bronze backs in a river or stream. Live bait that is “drift fished” through the current of a river or stream can be a deadly tactic.
Making any of these mistakes consistently will result in you catching many fewer smallmouth than you should. The bottom line is that if you make any of these mistakes and take the necessary steps to reverse them, your catch rates will increase exponentially and you will experience the success that you should.
Trevor Kugler is co-founder of JRWfishing a website focused on ri