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Nic DiGravio

Slow Trolling for Smallmouth

By Nic DiGravio

If you think for a second that slow trolling is just for Walleye, think again. Think very long and hard. Slow Trolling works wonders for Smallmouth too! In my younger days I would cast my worm and sinker into my favorite ponds and then work the bait back slowly to catch my Smallmouth and Largemouth. The only difference now is that I'm on a boat, and my trolling motor is doing the moving for me.

Slow trolling for Smallies is great for shoals, drop offs, and also the flats. You have to keep in mind that it's nothing to a Smallmouth to travel miles in one given day, so why not travel with them. For shoals, again, mark a certain point with a buoy so that you know where you are in relation to the marker. Watch your depth sounder for fish. When you mark them, put out another marker and you have yourself a little 'highway' so to speak. Work the area as slowly as the wind will allow and keep trying different baits to get a strike. You can also try different speeds to see what the bass want. For drop offs use the same technique, with buoys to mark your route. Now for the flats, you basically have full reign of the area so why not travel with a tube jig or carolina rigged crayfish. Better yet, bottom bounce a lindy rig with a finesse minnow instead of a live minnow as you would for Walleye

Normally when the bass are shallow enough that you can see them, they can see you too! If you see a Smallmouth bass lazily moving around in shallow water chances are that they're not too 'hungry'. They're not going to ambush much prey being out there in the open, but they are opportunists! What I'm saying is this, if you are in water, say 15 to 30 feet deep the bass that are lazily hanging around down there with 'lock jaw'are more prone to hitting a bait slow trolled than the bass in shallow water. Not much is spooking them down there so they will pay much more attention to the bait moving in front of their face than the Smallmouth in shallow water. The trick is getting the bait to them slowly and keeping it in reach. lindy rigOnly put the amount of weight needed to keep your presentation on bottom. Too much weight will get you hung up and too little weight won't get you in the strike zone. Start with a 3\4 ounce weight and go from there. What I like to do is have a few rods rigged the same way but with different size weights for different situations.

With this method of slow trolling at least you can stay on the their "highway", travel with them, don't be the bait that's 'hitchhiking', waiting for a bass to stop and pick them up. The number one way to find any fish in any given body of water is 'trolling', so why not try it!

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