Your Next Great Lakes Bass Fishing Trip

This guest post was written by Tim Hine of

In a sport where the North and the South are so very different, our worlds seem to collide with the same end goal of catching more and bigger fish.  The daily hunger the angler has for the latest and most precise information seems to have accelerated exponentially.  Having shared fish tails with professionals and weekend warriors all across North America, it is quite interesting to hear that we all share similar bass fis resources, in hopes to dissect and apply the information gathered to our local lakes.

Residing in the North, the fishing up here is quite a bit different than that of the South.  We do not have reservoirs or large river systems; we have an abundance of clear lakes that boasts dozens of different species of fish.  Having longer and colder winters, we also have to wait for ice out to begin fishing, which only builds up our thirst over the long winter months.  Now that most lakes in the Northern States and even lakes close to the US and Canadian border are thawing, we can begin to prepare our arsenal for the early season bite.

Straddling the US and Canadian border is a chain of lakes that is well known to the locals; The Great Lakes.  Made up of four main bodies of water; Lakes SuperiorMichiganHuronErie, and Ontario, these lakes form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.  Together these massive bodies of water contain 21% of the world’s surface fresh water and they all have one thing in common; massive smallmouth Bass!

If you are active on social media, you will have already started to see the Smallmouth chatter heat up.  As these lakes begin to thaw, the ice makes way for enormous schools of hungry Small Jaws ready to get their Spring feedbag on!  If you are traveling from the South, leave your meat sticks at home because this type of fishing requires light line, light tackle and a soft touch.  Make no mistake; once you get on a school of these pre spawn Bronze backs, these fish WILL take your light gear for a ride!

Erie Smallmouth Bass_Tim Hine_ Spoon_Mystery Tackle Box Blog

Here are a few items you may want to jot down for your next early season trip to the North:

A Great Lakes Bass Fishing Guide

If you are unable to trailer a boat to the Great Lakes, forget about fishing from shore.  If you really want to pound these mammoth Smallies and experience the Greatness of these lakes, then you will want to invest in an experienced guide.  There are numerous guiding services all across the Great Lakes for bass fishing; Google will be your best friend for your initial search.

Great Lakes Bass Fishing Tackle

Depending on how early you plan on coming, you really should be prepared for one extreme to the next as you could be fishing between 5 to 50 feet of water.  Light/Medium to Medium action and 7’3” to 7’6” spinning rods paired up with a spinning reel with a good quality drag for drop shot rigs, tubes and spoons should accompany you.  Also, don’t forget to pack a selection of natural colored 3” to 4” drop shot baits, tubes, small swimbaits on football heads, 8 to 12lb fluorocarbon line, and a net!  If you hook into one of our many 7 pound Smallmouth, I can assure you it will fight like a 10 to12lb Largemouth, so you’ll want to be ready for that.

Once the water temperature gets into the 42 to 52 degree range, the crankbait bite will light up, so a variety of natural colored silent balsa crankbaits with a few vibrant colors mixed in will be the key.  It wouldn’t hurt to bring along some medium divers and a couple glass Crankbait rods in case the weather turns and the fish move a little deeper.  Jerkbaits are a no brainer on the Great Lakes, but are heavily fished up here, so changing up your cadence to trigger bites will be very important.

Great Lakes Bass Fishing Apparel

Count on getting wet, so bring a rain suite and warm waterproof clothes.  One thing is for sure, Mother Nature can be our friend or worse enemy on these lakes and most of the time, she does NOT want us fishing her waters.

If you fish in the South and have always dreamt of chasing a record Smallmouth, the Great Lakes will be your best shot at landing the Smallie of a life time.  Although very much oil and water, one commonality about fishing in the South and the North is that you just won’t want to leave the intense bite behind.

So, when’s your next trip to the Great Lakes?  I think after reading this informative post from Tim of, the entire team here at Mystery Tackle Box are packing our bags, including Karl VonDibble (the ‘other’ KVD)!

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