Why Big Smallmouth Are Different
They don’t hang out with two-pounders
Their cohabitation with little smallmouth happens for minutes per year. Odds are not in your favor to run into one when you are happy to just catch something.
They are great sight feeders
They have great visual acuity and know how to distinguish the subtle clues that define an easy meal from a hard to get one.
They will overpower your finesse gear
You’ve “downsized” to some ultra-stealthy, finesse gear because that’s what you are supposed to do when fishing for smallmouth. Then the unexpected happens…uh-oh…
They don’t waste any time worrying about bait colors…
…or brand names or how fast you can go. The things you spend 80% of your time worrying about are not ever a concern in their world.
They go wherever they want, whenever they want
That doesn’t mean they travel miles a day, just that they can. They can also sit in the same spot for months if necessary. They can spawn where a Largemouth can and they can spawn in the rest of the lake or river too. They can feed in heavy current or slack water, in a foot of water or in a foot of water that is 50+ feet deep.
They occupy and dominate the prime structure and cover on the block
They’ve got a “killing zone” where they eat. It is likely they will never sample anything that’s not in that zone.
They know what “prime” cover is…and you don’t
You just aren’t on the same page with a trophy smallmouth in terms of the requirements for a good “spot”. What you view as the perfect spot and what they view as one is likely way off.
They have mastered the art of calories in > calories out
If the effort they have to expend is greater than the calorie benefit they will get then they won’t do it…or they wouldn’t be a “trophy” in the first place.
They have been conditioned not to eat what you are throwing
The “alpha” of any species has been conditioned by its environment (including you) to associate cues with survival. Whether it’s the sound of your trolling motor or the rattles in your rattle trap, there are some cues that tell them not to feed or to never feed on that again. Which cue is it for that eight-pound smallmouth? That’s why they are special. Part of the art and science of bass fishing is figuring that out.
Interested in learning more about big smallmouth and largemouth? Check out our Courses where we cover some of the ways to catch these big gals.