Deep In The Summer Smallmouth

By John Andrew - July 1, 2012
Numbers of Smallmouth Bass and big Smallmouth Bass are frequently caught in lakes while fishing down deep during the heat of the summer months. We will go over 3 specific locations and 3 techniques so you too can produce these bronze back warriors, NOW. This article is geared towards lake fishing.

First, we are going after suspended Smallmouth Bass, these fish are at times deeper than the structure they are relating to but the fish are not on the bottom and are easily seen on most fish locaters. Locating them can be done by looking off the sides of rock bars, rock humps, sand bars, a long bar connected to a point that extends out into the lake, necked down areas of a lake such as, between an island and the shoreline, the narrow section of a lake that holds deeper water or perhaps close to the drop off from an extending shallow flat that is connected to the shoreline. Remember deep is relative to the lake you are fishing, some lakes deep could be 30 ft. to 40 ft. and other lakes deep could be 15ft. to 25 ft. deep.

Long line trolling with or without a planner board, using a floating stick bait with an inline sinker is a top choice for catching deep suspended Smallmouth Bass. How far the bait is placed behind the planner board depends on how deep we are marking the fish with the sonar. We use a rubber core sinker, this weight is easy to install or remove from your line. Putting the weight from 2 to 6 ft. in front of the stick bait has always worked for my clients. Using a small snap clip from the bait tied to our line is important. The color pattern of the stick bait (Rapalas, Thunder Sticks, Smith Wicks or others) will vary due to the available forage in the lake you are fishing you will need to use some trial and error.

If there is no trolling in your lake, drift troll with the wind by turning the boat sideways and moving with the wind. Now, we add to the action of the stick bait by lifting and dropping the rod tip with a short snapping motion and use a lighter weight if necessary, we let out line from 50 ft. to 100 ft. or more depending how deep we are marking the Bass with our sonar and depending how slow or fast we are drifting. I get a lot of questions about line, well for my clients, clear water or stained I use all Berkley Fire Line, 6 lb. test in the smoke color. I know, you ask why not fluorocarbon? Our numbers of catch are high in clear or stained water, and the instant hooking power is unmatched, in my opinion.

Second, we are fishing on the bottom, working the slopes and drop offs of rock piles, deep humps, saddles between humps, deep flats connected to or adjacent to spawning locations and right on the edge of a flat right before it drops into a main lake basin area. These are prime deep water locations for deep jigging. The weight of your jig will again depend on how deep you are fishing, how windy it is, how heavy the line is that you are using and weather your are using monofilament line, fluorocarbon line or a braided line. We like a lighter jig with a skirt and rubber trailer, the slower rate of fall with the lighter jig head, I feel, triggers more strikes. The football jig can also be ideal in this situation, there are times when dragging a light jig on the bottom is just too much of a temptation for the Smallmouth Bass to pass up, pausing the jig to a stop from time to time while dragging it along, is our best technique. Using live bait on a Walleye jig head of your choice is possibly the best combination when all else fails when using a jig, we like the 3 to 4 inch chub or sucker minnows. The drop shot rig is also deadly in deep water although this technique takes more time to work as a slow presentation is required for the best results, for us.

Third, we use a straight pre rigged plastic worm and we fish this bait along deep grass beds and on lakes that have deep vegetation. We also use this bait for the suspended Bass and along the bottom for the deep Bass. This bait is tied directly to the line with a small swivel 3 ft. above the worm and a couple of split shot in front of the swivel to take the bait down to the fish.

The straight worm, 6 to 9 inches in length is very important for catching Smallmouth Bass and I place it in its own category. Pre scented worms work the best for us. Not having a bend or curl in the worm is the critical concept to this baits success.

Slow trolling, drift trolling, or casting out and dragging this bait on the bottom in deep water is deadly, the Bass simply pound this bait into submission. Resembling a small eel or leech is what I determine this offering to be to the fish. Keep this rigged and ready to present to the Bass at all times, it works.

These fish are not just caught during the spring time, they are hitting as hard as ever right now, in August.

Author John Andrew
John Andrew
Captain John Andrew is the owner and operator of The Angler's Choice Guide Service. John began fishing on Wisconsin's Big St. Germain Lake in 1964 at this grandfather's lakefront cabin. As John's passion for fishing grew he apprenticed under legendary Wisconsin Northwoods guide Jules Novak before he began his own guiding career. John holds two World Records in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall Of Fame as well as two Outstanding Angling Achievement awards. Click here for more information on John Andrew and The Angler's Choice Guide Service.