Topwater Smallmouth

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He caught smallmouth, but his numbers started to decrease. While he did manage to catch a few smallmouth on his favorite bait, his partner who continued to use the Hubs Chub caught twice as many smallmouth in addition to catching the big fish of the day. By mid-June smallmouth spawning is usually complete in the Northwoods and it is not necessarily the catching that is difficult but simply locating the fish that can be a problem.

Smallmouth scatter in the river as they search for food. On natural lakes and reservoirs some smallmouth will remain in the shallows while others head for deep water.

You can find a boat load of fish in fresh weeds one day and the next day the spot is dead. River and reservoir smallmouth are usually easier to catch during the post-spawn than lake smallmouth. Topwater baits are not the best choice in baits when searching for post-spawn bass, and are more effective once you locate a concentration of smallmouth. When looking for active smallmouth anglers will fare much better during the post-spawn using crankbaits or spinnerbaits.

If you find a concentration of smallmouth relating to a specific type of structure, a topwater bait can be used in combination with a spinnerbait, crankbait or plastics. By early July, river smallmouth become easy to pattern. While it is far from an exact pattern, even on a slow day smallmouth can be caught by using the process of elimination.

Top-water lures bring excitement - and bigger bass | The Gazette

Sooner or later if you employ this method you will connect with active smallmouth. When guiding, I will start one of my clients out using a topwater bait, while the other client or I fish with a Case Sinking Minnow or a Case Magic Stick rigged wacky style. When using the Hubs Chub in summer, the secret is to vary your presentation until you find the preferred offering for the day. Given a typical day, the same slow finesse presentation will catch the most smallmouth on the Menominee River.

However, on any given day there is a certain percentage of smallmouth that will strike a faster more erratic retrieve. The more an angler varies their topwater presentations, the more smallmouth they will catch. We boated over 60 fish on topwater baits with several of the smallmouth being over 18 inches.


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For the first two hours we could not get even one smallmouth to show any interest in anything but a case Minnow rigged wacky style. The important thing was that we were catching smallmouth and my clients were content.


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Why change a good thing? While it was a good day of fishing so far one of my clients suggested that it was time to break for lunch.

Fly Fisherman

His partner agreed and they relaxed and took in the sights on the Menominee River. We were on a good stretch of river and since my clients were relaxing, I picked up my rod with a Crawdad Hubs Chub and on the third cast connected with a hefty 16 inch smallmouth. One of my clients put down his sandwich and netted the fish for me and it was quickly returned to the river to fight another day. Before he could get back to his meal, another smallmouth attacked my Hubs Chub after a short pop.

On one cast I would slowly finesse the Hubs Chub and on the next cast I would use a fast jerk retrieve and on occasion I would just buzz the Hubs Chub across the surface.

Topwater Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Beautiful Lake Erie

I caught smallmouth on all three presentations. Try and do that with any other surface bait! We did not use a wacky worm the rest of the day as the smallmouth kept pounding the Hubs Chub. My client in the front of the boat was catching smallmouth using a fast jerk and pause retrieve and the client in the rear of the boat was using a short pop and pause retrieve. By using two different retrieves, one fast and one slow, we were able to catch both the aggressive and neutral smallmouth.

The versatility of the Hubs Chub will put more smallmouth in the boat than any other surface bait. By the way, my clients never did finish their lunch that day!

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The entire month of July was excellent for topwater fishing and the Hubs Chub lead the way as the most productive bait. The only problem with August is that we had some unstable weather that would often put a damper on the topwater bite. If we had stable weather we pounded the smallmouth on the Hubs chub and if we had unstable weather we pounded smallmouth with the Case Sinking Minnow and the Case Magic Stick rigged wacky style.

Whopper Ploppin' Some River Chunks

Most of the smallmouth we caught on the Hubs Chub in August were caught with a slow presentation; the color seemed to be quite important. I had a few days where smallmouth would only hit one particular color and presentation. In fact, we had one day when the preferred color changed three times even though the conditions remained the same.

The lesson learned here is that when fishing topwater, color does matter. Another hot period for topwater smallmouth is early September. I believe it was the same fish that missed my buddy's bait just before that. It had all three trebles connected and was not going to get away.

Top Water Smallmouth Bass Fishing

That is always a good sign that you are throwing the right bait. I took a few of the hooks out before I could safely grab her for the pic. My buddy caught this four-pounder shortly after on another big topwater bait on a shallow flat with some boulders on it. It was a textbook smallmouth spot. Long Lake is essentially a river, so there are plenty of channel swings, bars and current breaks. We did our best to find some current even though this late in the year it is pretty hard to find since there hasn't been much rain.

We also looked for small flats near deep-water like the ones shown below.

Long Lake is an awesome fishery and I tend to forget about it in the summer. I hit it hard early in the year and again in the fall, but this was a good reminder that I should spent more time out there when it is warmer. Post Reply.