Pre-spawn fishing is prime time for giant smallmouth across their entire range. Pre-spawn smallmouth are hungry, aggressive, and weigh the most they will all year. They are also some of the most predictable fish in any system – as they typically gang up in the same locations, year after year.
These three presentations are absolutely deadly on pre-spawn smallmouth bass fishing:
During the pre-spawn period, water temps are typically below 60 degrees. In that range, the jerkbait reigns supreme as one of the all-time best smallmouth bass catching tools. Jerkbaits have an erratic action that perfectly imitates a dying baitfish – something pre-spawn brownies can’t resist. Try twitching a jerkbait around bluff walls, over secondary points, or along gravel bars in river systems.
2. Hair Jigs
In clear northern lakes, the top secret bait for tournament pros is a diminutive little hair or marabou jig. Usually black, brown, or green olive, and measuring only 2-3 inches in total length – a little hair jig offers clear water smallmouth the ultimate subtle meal. Make a long cast, and let the little jig glide through the water as you slowly reel it back to the boat. If you feel weight, start reeling.
Early season smallmouth spend a lot of time chasing baitfish, in order to build up fat reserves that will help them get through the spawn. For that reason, it makes sense to throw them something that looks like what they’re eating, right? Swimbaits fit the bill perfectly as they are the ultimate baitfish imitator, whether worked on a jig head, umbrella rig, or weedless. They come in sizes from 2 inches all the way up to 8 inches – which allows you to match the hatch no matter where you’re fishing.
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