Best Smallmouth Bass Baits

smallmouth bass lake mohave

I’ve been targeting the bronzebacks a lot more this year compared to previous years, and have had a blast catching these fish. The smallmouth is such an awesome bass to chase. To help others in their quest, I’ve put together a list of five of my best smallmouth bass baits. Plus, I’ve included descriptions on how to use them. My goal is to get you “Kraken” more smallmouth bass!


Best Smallmouth Bass Baits

Here are my favorite smallmouth bass baits, and how I use them to try and land those bronzebacks. They are such a fun fish to catch, and generally require a  different approach than their cousin the largemouth. I’ve found these baits work in all different types of situations, and hopefully they can help you in your endeavors to capture the smalllmouth bass.

1. Yamamoto Senko

This bait is number one in my book for catching a lot of smallmouth. The senko is so versatile, you can throw it on any type of rig you like. My favorite way to fish them is on a weightless texas rig, so you can pull it through cover easily. I’ll usually cast to the area I think the bass are holding, and just let the senko float down on top of them. Once, I feel like the bait is where the bass are I’ll give it a twitch, and then let it fall right back down agian. The slow fall of this bait is what the bass can’t resisit. My top three colors I use are green pumpkin, baby bass, and natural shad. Those colors always seem to work. I usually prefer the 5 inch sized bait, but I’ve used the 4 inch size with good results.

small mouth bass lake powell

2. Smallie Beaver

This bait always gets bit. The size of this beaver bait drives smallmouth nuts. I’ve actually seen a smallmouth caught on this bait, and it had the exact same bait already in it’s mouth! My favorite way to fish it is on a texas rig with a 1/4 oz or lighter weight. I will cast it out, and let it fall all the way to the bottom. Then slowly crawl or hop it  along the bottom imitating a crawdad scooting around. My favorite colors are green pumpkin, watermelon/green pumpkin, and dirty sanchez.

best bait smallmouth bass

3. Jackall Crosstail Shad

This bait is awesome for smallmouth. I’ve caught a lot of fish on it. I use it on a drop shot rig. It works on the drop shot set up the best in my opinion. I’ll put the drop shot hook up through the nose of the bait, or sometimes I’ll put the hook right through the center. When you nose hook it, the bait will glide. A hook in the center of the bait makes both the head and tail twitch a little in an inciting motion. I’ll play around with both hooking methods, and let the fish decide which they like best. Cast the bait out on the drop shot set up, and let it fall all the way to the bottom. Once the rig hits the bottom I pull up the slack in the line, and then drop the rod tip letting the bait fall back down again. This keeps that bait dancing in front of them, and the smallmouth inhale the sucker.  My three favorite colors are green pumpkin, black winnie, and ayu. You can’t go wrong with any of these colors.

Minersville Bass Fishing

4. Megabass Dog X Speed Slide

Smallmouth can go crazy for topwaters, and this one is hands down my favorite. It walks across the water like magic, and I’ve seen schools of smallmouth follow this thing up and attack it. If you’ve never fished a spook style bait like this, you’ve got to give it a try. Just cast it out and twitch, twitch, twitch, make it walk back to you. Always reeling in the slack between twitches on your cast. My favorite colors for this bait are flashing wakagsaki, wagan kisyu ayu, and wagan oikawa. These baits are awesome.

Swan Falls Toad

5.  Duo Realis Spinbait 80

For covering water, and crushing smallmouth this is the bait. You need to throw it on super light line to make it work properly. I always throw it on a spinning rod with 6 pound test flourocarbon line. This is one of those baits in the spybaiting genre, and it can trigger strikes for smallmouth. It’s the perfect size for smallies, and they love the slow wobling action this bait creates. I’ve found the best way to fish it is with a slow steady retrieve. Let it sink to the depth you think the bass are at, and by bringing it in slow you will get those bass to strike! My favorite color is natural wakagsaki.

spybaiting smallmouth bass
Throw anyone of these baits, and you will be sure to catch a few smallmouth bass. These are my best smallmouth bass baits. The pictures in this post are all fish caught on the associated bait. Please feel free to leave any comments, or questions you have about how to fish with any of them. I hope this helps you start “Kraken” the code on smallmouth bass!

As Always,

Stay Stoked!


Gear Used:

Here are links to where you can pick up some of these baits.

Yamamoto Senko
Smallie Beaver
Jackall Crosstail Shad
Megabass Dog X Speed Slide
Duo Realis Spinbait 80



One Response

  1. All are great ‘top choices’ for sure. Guiding out here on the mid-Delaware River, I would put the Lucky Craft Gunfish 95 on my list, along with one of my favorite river smallie ‘go to baits’ the Original Gitzit tube.

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