Beds and Baits | Tips for Smallies

Techniques to Catch Spring Smallies

Spring 2019



SMALLM s O tra U te T gi H es

By Tyler Brinks


your favorite? Given a choice, I would fish for smallmouth over largemouth any day, and there are many reasons why. Their hard-fighting nature, aggressive attitude, and finicky nature keep me coming back for more.

Even with their reputation as a fickle fish when it comes to their movements, I have a simplistic way of fishing for them early in the year. My approach comes down to finding the key locations and narrowing my bait selection down more than I do other times of the year.


Generally, there are three things that I look for this time of year: current, flats, and breaks or drop-offs. Finding all three in one area is an almost surefire way to locate fish.

CURRENT: The smallmouth bass and current always

seem to go together. From rivers and streams to below dams, if there is current present the smallmouth will be close. This is especially true in the spring as they

feed and prepare for the spawn.

Even in early spring with

water temperatures

in the low

40’s, smallmouth will be close to some form of current as this is their best chance to get an easy meal.

FLATS: Locating the prime flats can be done by

reading your Navionics mapping and looking for areas that traditionally have current and also those that are near deep water.

This time of year, the smallmouth do not all move up to feed and spawn at once and finding the right highway they use to move up and down can be the key to prolonged spring success. Also, since they are creatures of habit and instinct, the same areas are productive year after year.

BREAKS: Current breaks are always good targets, and

anything that slows or blocks the flow is a high percentage area that is worth a few casts.


When smallmouth bass hit the beds, locating spawning beds becomes more critical than lure selection. If you have ever caught a spawning smallmouth on a bed, you know that they are usually ready to bite immediately.

Knowing where to find spawning bass helps greatly as many times the fish themselves are not visible on the bed, since they typically spawn deeper than their largemouth cousins.

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