July 30, 2014 by Jim Moynagh
Smallmouths in the Green Stuff
A lot of anglers equate smallmouths with rock and gravel bottoms in the summer, but they shouldn’t overlook weeds. Depending on the time of year and available forage, smallmouths will feed in vegetation just as heavily as largemouths. One difference is that smallmouths won’t necessarily be buried up in it like largemouths sometimes will be. They might just cruise the edges between weed beds and deeper water, so you don’t have to pick apart the weeds like you would with largemouths, and you can cover a bunch of water faster.
Lure selection depends on weed type: reeds, milfoil, lily pads or whatever. Typically, I might start with a topwater, frog, spinnerbait, Fluke, jerkbait or vibrating jig. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go to finesse tactics: drop-shot rigs, small hair jigs or downsized skirted jigs. The clarity of the water plays a role, too, in lure selection. If the water is super-clear and the weed beds extend into deeper water, you might want to go with lures that allow you to cover that depth. Sometimes it requires more of a vertical approach rather than a horizontal one. Whether the water is 15 feet deep or 3 feet deep, though, smallmouths like to hang out around weed beds or scattered, isolated patches. Don’t pass them up.