The best smallmouth bass fishing lure ever

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures


If you could only grab one bait from your tackle box to catch a smallmouth bass, what would it be? Travis Manson of Smallmouth Crush narrows down his favorite bass fishing lures to select the best, most versatile lure to use when targeting smallmouth bass. 

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Video transcript:

Smallmouth Crush :
Yo, it's Smallmouth Crush on behalf of MONSTERBASS. I want to make a quick video talking about the most versatile smallmouth bait. It's a tough one. It's a tough call. So what I'm going to do is share with you a couple key baits that I use on a regular basis and the reasons why, and then we're going to try to narrow it down to just the ultimate bait. That's all coming up.

Smallmouth Crush :
For the most part, smallmouth can be found in quite a few states across the country. Of course, you have your southern impoundments, the Tennessee River, and then you have your northern smallmouth, your clear bodies, whether it be inland lake or places like the Great Lakes, there's a lot going on when it goes into targeting a smallmouth. And I've caught a ton, thousands of smallmouth in my life. So it's going to be hard for me to try to pick the most versatile bait.

Smallmouth Crush :
Is it a tube? Is it a jig? Or perhaps it's some type of baitfish-imitating plastic that you could drop-shot or perhaps throw it on a jig head. So there's a lot to think about. Which bait is the most versatile? Of course we can even get into hard baits, whether it be a jerk bait, a crank bait, a spinner bait, a chatter bait, a swim jig, a big swim bait...they all work.

Smallmouth Crush :
So in my mind, the most versatile bait is going to be something I can effectively fish in all the different places and ways to catch a smallmouth. So deep water, shallow water, current, around heavy cover, around flats. I mean, it's endless. It's endless where they hang out. So I really want to focus on a bait that is going to be able to get you the most bites where you're fishing it.

Smallmouth Crush :
I think you could easily argue that the tube is one of the most versatile baits out there. Of course, this excels when dragging it around a lot of structure, whether it be rock, gravel, sand. And it imitates a wide variety of bait fish, such as gobies. It can imitate shad, different variations, different colors. This one here, green pumpkin with copper, this is going to imitate a crayfish and pretty much fish it however you want to. Of course, you can put different size weights, so you could fish a eighth ounce all the way up to over an ounce jig head if you wanted to. And I love fishing a tube and I would have to put this on the list of the top smallmouth baits out there. It certainly would be a tube.

Smallmouth Crush :
And so when I think about smallmouth fishing and consistently catching smallmouth, a lot of times I'm drop shotting. So all I'm doing when I'm drop shotting is I'm using a weight with a leader and a hook attached to the top, which actually suspends that bait off of the bottom. So baits that imitate perch, bait fish and gobies come to mind. And I really like a goby imitator when I'm out on the Great Lakes. Whether it be a natural color like green pumpkin, or a smoke purple, those two baits have caught a lot of fish for me over the years as well.

Smallmouth Crush :
So in my recent MONSTERBASS bag, I got the Big Bite Baits, Smallie Smasher nonetheless. It's a four-and-a-half inch plastic, resembles a goby or any type of bait fish, really. And I would drop-shot that with either a size one or size two drop shot hook. It's got some rib action here to help displace some water, give it a little bit more action. So this green pumpkin with purple flake is going to be a great bait. I'm so glad MONSTERBASS put that in the bag with that color. It'll definitely catch me some smallmouth.

Smallmouth Crush :
Of course, you have your standard jig. So this is a finesse football jig. This is actually a Smallmouth Crush approved Beast Coast finesse football jig. And I use it a lot and I catch a lot of fish on it, and I fish it in the same areas I would throw a tube. So put your favorite trailer on. In fact, I don't want to spoil it yet, but the most versatile bait, in my opinion, you can also use this as a trailer for any of your jigs.

Smallmouth Crush :
All right. The most versatile bait out there, in my opinion, has to be some type of Ned rig. And there's a lot of great brands out there. A lot. I love the Z-Man TRD for most of my Ned rig applications. And so I wanted to share with you the top three colors for clear bodies of water. So places where you can see down 10, 15 feet or more, and we have to go with Yoga Pants, which is going to be more of a darker color. Goby Bryant, which really resembles a goby. It's got a light bottom, again, green pumpkin. There's some purple and copper flake in that as well. And then green pumpkin goby. This color here is probably the ultimate color. And I'm going to say that the Finesse TRD is the ultimate, most versatile smallmouth bait out there today.

Smallmouth Crush :
So here's what makes this bait so versatile. You can fish this at any depth. I've caught them in two feet of water. I've caught them in 60 feet of water with this bait.

Smallmouth Crush :
There's a lot of different ways to rig these TRDs. I really like the Z-Man Ned locks. You can see here, I keep them in all different sizes, a 1/15th, 1/10th, 1/6th, 1/5th, with 1/10th and 1/6th being the most highly used jig head size when I am targeting small mouth and I don't get too crazy.

Smallmouth Crush :
I like to a keep a chartreuse and I like black. Now you can go green pumpkin, if you want to really match it up. But to keep it simple for me, if I'm not using a chartreuse, which sometimes can really trigger a good bite, you want to experiment with that, but I'm happy. I'm fine. I'm comfortable just picking up a black Ned lock's head and throw it on your yoga pants, your Gobi Bryant, your green pumpkin Gobi. So these are my top three colors when it comes to the Ned rig but there's a lot of great colors out there. And I want you to experiment, whether it be the color, the deal, straight green pumpkin, morning dawn, they have pink. They have a wide variety of different colors, and you're going to find under certain situations, one color may be better than the other.

Smallmouth Crush :
Throughout all the time I've spent on the water I really narrowed it down to these three color presentations that work best for me. So anytime you're working with the Z-Man plastic, it's a little bit different than normal plastic that you might be used to. Takes a little bit effort, and you really want to get that straight onto that jig, just like so, so that's perfect. That's how I want to see that Ned rig. And like I said, I'm able to fish this shallow. I'm able to fish it deep. I can pitch to fish I see cruising. I can blind cast. I can pitch it to structure whether I'm fishing an offshore rock pile, or I know there's a big boulder, or I'm fishing around some sparse vegetation. That's how I'm going to fish that.

Smallmouth Crush :
Now something else to think about, what makes this bait so versatile, is I can also fish this on a drop shot, so I can determine how fast I want to get this bait down to where the fish are. So if I'm in 30 feet of water and I want to get down to those fish quick, I can use a half-ounce drop shot weight. MONSTERBASS makes some great tungsten weights when it comes to that, and I'm going to throw a drop shot on there. I'm going to use a size one or size two drop shot hook. And I can nose hook this and work it on a drop shot. I can wacky rig it, meaning I can hook that in the middle and fish it wacky style on the drop shot. And as I teased before, a very effective technique for me is actually throwing this bait on a jig and using it as a jig trailer.

Smallmouth Crush :
See if I can get one to bite. I actually caught a giant on it, but it got off. Broke my line, actually. So there's one right underneath the boat right here. I'm going to land right on his head and he is actually going up to it. He sees the bait, he just went down to it and now he's looking at it. I should be able to catch this fish. Not a lot of movement, but I want to work it a little bit, because I know he's staring right at it. There he is. And this is a pig. This is a pig. Oh my gosh. And I got boats all over me here. So I didn't even want to be here. I got to free spool it.

Smallmouth Crush :
Oh. So I put a Ned rig on the thing, quarter ounce, and I'm dropping on these fish in places I would normally throw a drop shot. And I'm literally, I'm catching some studs, like this is so cool. All right. Now I can get him up. Seven foot medium. Seven foot medium. God. What a beautiful fish. Wow. That's an awesome fish right there. Here's how I have it rigged. Okay. I just got a little Ned on the back and dropped down to this beast.

Smallmouth Crush :
Just like so, so that's perfect. That's on the back of a jig and I'm going to fish that just like I would a Ned rig. So I'll throw it out and I'll work it back really slow. I'll also drop straight down as if I was fishing a drop shot and the fish were right below me. I would drop right on top of those smallmouth with it. And you can also just do a steady retrieve and just ticking it off the bottom real slowly. So there's a lot of different ways that you can fish this on the back of a football head.

Smallmouth Crush :
So there you go. There's a lot of different baits out there on the market. There's a lot of different techniques to catch smallmouth. In my opinion, the most versatile way would be to fish a Z-Man TRD and you will catch them, I promise.

Smallmouth Crush :
Guys, don't forget to subscribe to the MONSTERBASS channel. And as always, until next time, we'll see you on the water with a Ned rig in your hand.

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