30% Off All Fishing Line, Through 06/18. Save Now

$100 Off Bubba Pro Series Scale With PRO Sign Up. Learn More

25% Off Select Lew's Reels, Through 07/29. Learn More

20% Off Bass Mafia Daingerous and Loaded Swimbaits, Through 06/11. Save Now

Humminbird Father's Day Promotion - $500 Instant Savings. Learn More

$3 Mystery Overstock Lure Valued up to $10. Shop Now

Markdowns on popular products - See all bargain offers

Omnia Fishing
  • Search Site
Omnia Fishing

Finesse Factors For Summer Smallmouths

Published: Updated:

Finesse Factors For Summer Smallmouths

All Featured Products

Video Transcription

James Lindner

[MUSIC PLAYING] You can see that this is a big boulder, and that's a bass right there. Those are two bass that are sitting next to the rock right there. And you can see the way they're moving around. When you put the Mega Live on a fixed spot, you actually look at it. Got him. There he is. I got a good one. There he is. There you go, James. There he is. Oh, there's a better one. Yeah, there you go. Not a giant, but he's got buddies with him. Wow. Holy mackerel. He's really giving you the business. I'm telling you. No, I'm telling you. There's some real whippersnappers out here, and this is not even a real giant, but there are some ones in here that'll get your attention. Wow, look at that. OK. But I think we got him on the last-- [LAUGHTER] The last-- oh, there he goes. There he goes. Come here, buddy. There he goes. There he goes. There he goes. It's not a giant, but a really nice small moth. Look at that. Beautiful fish. Come here, buddy. Can you get my drop shot sinker out of there? Come here. We'll get her back in the water pretty quick. She didn't come out of particularly really deep water. Came out about 12, 15 foot of water. But look at him. Beautiful bass. Look at the color of that thing. Come here, buddy. Wow, that was fun. No question about a beautiful summer day.

Right now, Jeff Simpson and I are fishing for one of our favorite fish. And it's the smallmouth bass. Both of us had the good fortune to fish all over North America, fishing for smallmouth bass. I mean, we're talking Canada, Southwest, down in Arizona, the Columbia River, the Missouri River, the Great Lakes, even into the Mid-South Reservoirs. And what we're going to talk about is understanding the nature of smallmouth bass and how to become more of a proficient smallmouth bass fisherman, particularly focusing on finesse fishing. Right now, it's mid-summer. It's really prime time for doing this on deep water structures. And we're going to talk about this. And it's really a gas for catching numbers of really big brownies.

Jeff Simpson

You know, it's really awesome and interesting. Over the last 20 years, just to watch how the smallmouth population has grown and expanded across the country. And not only have the populations gotten larger, the fish are getting bigger. And you're talking, boy, back in the day, if you caught a 4lb. smallmouth, you really had something. Well, you know, those fish are all over the place. And we're talking even bigger fish. You know, the six, seven, eight pound smallmouth. So, there's one. Little one, James. No size? No. Well, it gained. Maybe he was just joking. Better? Oh, yeah. What? Getting bigger? He got bigger. Maybe something ate the first one. Yeah. I don't think he's that bad one. I don't know, bad one. I don't know. Whoa, boy. Look at that there. There's one right there or two. James. He's gonna give up. Maybe jump in the boat. What did he nibble on? He hit the little tube there, James. Fast, they get bigger than that. That's a good start, a good indication. We're on some fish here. James has got us on the fish on the boulders. Cool. I just throw in this little tube. There's a lot of these finesse baits. This is a little smaller proportion tube. And James is doing the drop shot thing. Throughout the day, fish will show a preference towards one finesse bait or the other. So, it's a good idea for the anglers to be using different baits, that's for sure.

James Lindner

Oh, oh. That's a better one there, I think. Oh, whoa. Come here. Yep, I don't know. Whoop, yep. It could be a better one. Oh, that was my... All trucks making the boil there. I thought it was the fish. Where is he? Oh, wow. Oh, there's a good one. There you go. Come here. Wow. Wow, that's a good one. That's a good one. Oh, look at that guy. There you go. Bring that little runt into the pan. Wow, look at that guy there. Beautiful smallmouth bass. You know, one of the real keys to becoming a really good smallmouth bass fisherman, as you said, is understanding the nature of the fish.

You know, these fish actually spawned, you know, one of the most interesting things is that the fish, you know, these fish actually spawned, you know, when the water was like in the 58 degrees in spring, 55 degrees along the perimeter of the shallow gravel and rock spines around the lake. But this particular lake actually has a lot of deep water forage. Let me get her back in the water. This lake also has a lot of tool-a-beats or syscos. And what happens is, you know, aside from eating crayfish, a lot of these fish actually target this deeper water-plagic forage, particularly the really large ones. And what they do is they move out to these secondary humps and deep water reef systems in the center of the lake so they can access this deep water forage. And that's what we're doing today, is actually deep water, smallmouth fishing. They're not deep water, like deep reef fishing. It's really prime time throughout the summer in many lakes, you know, but it's not in all lakes. It depends on the given body of water you're in. In some lakes, actually, they're crayfish-based lakes. And the fish don't move that much. I mean, they can actually live their entire life on a couple of block area. They'll spawn and live on shallow reefs, you know, on shallow crayfish-based lakes. But like lakes were in here, where you have a lot of that deep water forage, whether it be rainbow, smelt, syscos, tool-a-be, shad. They do a lot of movement, and a lot of times what they'll do is set up on these deep water shelves in the fact that they can access that larger food or larger forage, which in this case happens to be tool-a-beats.

I know they're strong at this time of the year you get in this warm water, boy. They're super juiced. Super juiced. Wow. Where's he going? I don't know. I don't know. I've never been spoiled. There's always a fur. Wow. Angry. It's angry. The boy, I got another one right underneath the boat. I got another one right underneath the boat here. Wow. You need the net on that little runt? Let's pause and see. Oh, there you go. That's a good one. Probably. I think. Okay, I'll take it. Come on. Give me that, man. I know better. It makes it so much easier when you're finessed fishing. I'm not kidding you. If you can deal with a net, a net, I'd like to spear him in the head for first time. I'm sorry you'll float that. Come here. Where is he? There you go. There you go. There you go. There you go. There you go. Thanks, man. Thank you, sir. You have a question about it.

Jeff Simpson

That's finesse fishing at it's finest right there. There's a lot of power fishing tactics with crankbaits, but a lot of the really good bass fishermen who fish tournaments, guess what they're doing? They're finesse fishing, and that is the deal most of the time. Nice fishing. Good boy.

James Lindner

You know, Jeff, you're absolutely right about that. You know, while power fishing techniques with topwater, jerkbaits, crankbaits can work in these conditions at times when you look at professional bass tournaments that are held throughout the Midwest and in many places around the country, most of the time multiple day tournaments, it's dominated with various types of finesse techniques. And what I'm talking about finesse, it could be everything from a neko rig, a drop shot rig, a tube, a Ned rig, or really some of the primary presentations to catch lots of big smallmouth, all sort of moderate to deeper water fishing situations throughout the summer months. Man.

Mr. Simpson, we got a beautiful day for, in the day, in the day, in the day, in the day, in the neighborhood. Jimmy Special. That's a Jimmy Special. Yeah. This is my favorite activity. These weather conditions we got right now are just perfect for this because you can fish so accurately, you know what I mean? Yeah. With every different aspect of your electronics, everything from your finding them, you know, to go like identify those specific spots on the humps as well with Mega Live and 2D sonar. You can actually see so well, you know what I mean?

Jeff Simpson

It is really nice. I'm back here watching your sonar units back here, watching the side imaging, you're up there with the Mega. Really fun. Ooh. Ooh. That chopped. Yeah. Kind of a wowl leap, wasn't it? I know, they're tough, aren't they? It's just amazing. I would say they're just plain mean. Just flat out mean, aren't they? Yeah. Raskles. Ooh, come on up again. Well, come here. Here we go. No, not a giant. But that's a good one now. That's a good one. Yeah. Thank you, James. Oh, nice. You're a pretty one. Go, go. Awesome. I'm such a nice guy leaving it to the players. Do you even need such a thing? No, I'll pop it right out. Yeah, got him. Cool. And that was on the 2 1/2 inch salty tube. Nice again, huh? Cool fish. Awesome. That's so cool. You know, James just pulled up on that spot and bam. Caught that fish, but we didn't just pull up on that spot. We did a lot of recon before this and went around and identified the spots and then really identified the key spots. So, pretty cool.

James Lindner

VMC makes a wide variety of different delivery systems for finesse fishing. Today we're employing four of our favorite tactics. First, the VMC Niko hook rigged on a drop shot rig with a tungsten drop shot cylinder weight. This light wire finesse hook is a positive hooking design and the tungsten sinker transmits bottom composition better than lead sinkers. Next up is the VMC tube jig, which is rigged internally in the tube. This style of rigging works well in zebra mussel infested water or really rocky conditions. It simply doesn't get snagged up that much. Third, we have the VMC hybrid swim bait jig. This has a spring keeper for securing soft plastic swim baits. This system really makes your swim baits far and away more durable. Last but not least is the VMC Ned Rig jig. This jig has a good collar to hold soft plastics in place in a hybrid hook gap design for positive hookups. The 90 degree line tie works well for bottom dragging presentations like Ned Rigging. Keep in mind these presentations are relatively slow moving so finding the right spots on these structures with your electronics is imperative.

As Jeff and I were talking about earlier, one of the biggest things is do some amount of reconnaissance with your depth finder. I'm actually working with two different really key features. One is the map and number two is side imagery because what we're going to do is we're going to spend some amount of time driving around these underwater structures making back and forth passes and dropping coordinates down off of side imagery which ultimately shows up on my map. As you can see we have some isolated boulders here and what I'm looking for is very, very distinct things, the largest boulders. I'm looking for really distinct ledge drops. I'm looking for high ridges of rocks. Like here you can see there's a bunch of rocks out to my left here out in deeper water. Let me get this up on my other unit and see out here and I'm going to actually scroll over mark mark and exit and then it actually shows up on my map. You do some amount of time. This is worth its weight in gold because you can quickly identify the absolute best spots in short order. You can see what happens when on an inside corner there's boulder ridge swings in here but I'm looking for a couple of different things. If you find those really large rocks are really key but also some things like this one you got these hard to soft bottom transitions. You can see where these boulders transition into the sand. Again I'm going to mark the edge of that. When I come back and fish over, when Jeff and I fish back over the spot we're fishing the absolute best spots on this point and where the fish are most apt to be positioned that's the real key.

He's coming for it. Got him big one. There we go. Oh there he is. Wow. Boy what's really interesting. See that boulder right there? That's where that fish came off of and you can see that there's more fish sitting there right here right on that boulder. Wow look at the size of that little rascal. Wow. Wow. This is serious activities here. Wow come here buddy. Come here up where are you? Oh there he is. Oh there you go. There you go. There we go. Nice. Just another one. Those fish are, they look like they come out of a mold. Look at that. Come here buddy. Let me get him off. It's a nice thing about finesse fishing like this. Those real small hooks he can really, doesn't really hurt him too bad. Beautiful fish though. Look at the color of that darn thing. Real beautiful animal. Come here buddy. Come here buddy. Come on. Oh. Come on. There we go. Wow right there.

If you stay sit there and watch you'll actually see these. That's actually a bass right there. They're sitting by a bunch of rocks right there. This Mega Live or forward facing sonar has really revolutionized angling. It's sort of intriguing you know over the last number of years. It's amazing that how this technology has really become dominant in just about every tournament in North America. We're talking walleyes, muskies, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappies. It's just amazing. It's sort of interesting. Boy you get on the right spots and you can catch a bunch of them sort of back to back when they collect on it. Every one of these little, you know little boulder piles, a little boulder spine. It could be a ledge drop. It could be a high spot. Come here boys. Come here. Oh there you go. Come on. Oh. How do you like that?

I know one thing. I'm absolutely sold on the SoMolly. The SoMolly worm. It's a little, fine. This is a big Big Bite. We've been working with Big Bite for a while and they just brought this bait out and it's actually sort of, it's made, it's got to actually have some scent in it. And one thing that's sort of intriguing about smallmouth bass is actually how scented baits can make a big difference. I really like those guys. Let me grab another one out of here. These are the bait I've been drop shot in with. It's called the SoMolly worm. And what's sort of interesting, it's relatively small. It's sort of a really sort of a small bait. But the thing is it's actually, it has a scent in it. And it's sort of intriguing. In fact, a lot of smallmouth bass are often considered to be a very, very big sight feeder. But the thing is with these really small profile baits when the fish can come up and look at it, scent is a big deal when it comes to catching smallmouth bass. I don't know why when they come in really close to the bait. They're looking at it and they actually get close enough and they can actually smell the bait and it makes a difference. Big Bite makes this whole series of smallmouth bass baits actually and it's called Scensation. And we've been fishing for the last couple of years and have really done really well with this stuff. I really like it.

Jeff Simpson

You know, with all the presentations that have evolved over the years, rod companies have responded and created a whole line of rods specifically for those tactics. Now when it comes to finesse fishing, that's even a lot of rods for there. We have three here right here, the Legend Tournament Bass rod. This is a swim bait. A swim bait rod. So it's specifically designed for swim baits. Next would be another Legend Tournament. And this is called the Power Finesse. And that James has been using for the drop shotting. And finally, I got a Victory rod here. And this one is Max Finesse. And this is what I was using with when I've been using with the tube. So all these rods just have just beautiful actions. I've used a lot of rods over the years and there's nothing sweeter than using St. Croix. I can tell you that right now.

James Lindner

You know, when it comes to finesse fishing, I've actually changed my tune over the last number of years and as of recently, I've become a lot more sort of sold on bigger reels. And this happens to be a Daiwa Ballistic MQ 3000 size reel. And you'll notice I got it spooled with a brilliant yellow line. This happens to be Sufix 832, 10-pound test braid. But what I like about this big bigger reel is a couple of different things. Another one is the larger spool size. And the reason for that, a lot of finesse fishing situations, you want to be able to get a lot of line off the reel, whether I'm casting a swim bait. I'm drop shotting. I want it to be able to get the bait back down to the bottom really quickly. That's a larger spool affords you the ability to really manage the line really easily.

You sure? Yeah, it's a huge, huge show. Wow, you got a big one on there, I think. Wow, there you go. That's a real one there. That's what I was talking about. You were talking about your tucking. We're talking King Tut. Look at that mule. That's what I was going to say. I was out here the other day and I caught like four or five of them like this one here. Great big ones. No question about it. When it comes to catching a lot of big brown bass throughout the warm water months, finesse is the way to go. The other thing is to do your homework with your electronics. (upbeat music)

;