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.

Anything you can see and distinguish they can see, distinguish and act on or not.

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…

Considering all line as the same is a recipe for a heartbreak.

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.

For every color combination that “looks good” to us, there is one that looks terrible yet works.

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.

Trophy smallmouth may view the middle of the river as “prime feeding” while you are puzzled by how deep it is out there.

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.

Trophy smallmouth are masters of their domain.

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.

We spend most of our time fishing the wrong stuff. A trophy smallmouth would never spend any time on the wrong spot.

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.

In order to survive and grow big, smallmouth (like all of us) need to eat more than they burn.

They have been conditioned not to eat what you are throwing

Another look at what swims out there.

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.

A whole lot of “conditioning” has happened with the bait on the bottom

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.

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