Early August Bass Fishing – Large & Small Mouth

Catching Bass In August

Fishing in August can be very productive, but this past weekend was challenging. Not only did we have to try multiple baits and presentations we had to contend with a Bass Tournament. The best catch was the day after the tournament, go figure.

The Baits We Tried

This past weekend, August 11,12,13th was one of the toughest weekends I have had for Bass Fishing. We had to work multiple baits caughting bass on all but one of them, not the action we typically see. The 5 baits we tried; Buzz Bait, Small Top Water Popper, Bandit 200 & 300s, and a strike King with an Reaction Innovation.

Find The Bass Strike I Missed – In Slow Motion

2017 Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass Fishing At It’s Best!

The lake I typically Bass fish has both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass. So what are the differences? What baits work best, what structure do you fish, and how do you tell them apart?

Smallmouth & Largemouth Structures

Smallmouth Bass prefer rocky bottoms, boulders, and ledges. Their diet specialty is crab, so you will find them working these areas aggressively. You will also find Smallies suspended in deeper water.

Largemouth Bass prefer aquatic vegetation and warmer water. They can be found near the shoreline and on the weed drop-offs. Their diet specialty is minnows, but frogs and crabs will work.

Bass Baits

When fishing for Bass I use the same baits, Buzz Baits, Bass Poppers, and Crank Baits (Bandits 200s). However, leeches in rocky structures will do well for the Smallies while small suckers on a harness will do well for Largemouths.

Visual Differences

The Smallmouth has a yellowish-brown back and head with dark vertical bars on the side. Between the vertical bars the fish will have a lighter yellowish-brown. The belly of the Smallmouth Bass will be white, turning more of a silver color on older fish. The eyes of the Smallmouth are reddish in color.

The Largemouth have a dark greenish or even black back. The sides are a lighter greenish color giving way to yellow and then a white belly. The eyes of a Largemouth are black.

Easiest Way To Tell A Largemouth From A Smallmouth

The best way I have found to tell the difference between these two Bass are by closing their mouths. When the mouth is closed the hard exterior jaw bone will give it away. On the Largemouth Bass the end of the jaw bone will extend beyond the back of the eye. Where on the Smallmouth Bass the jaw bone will only extend to the middle of the eye. Once you are familiar with both Bass you will be able to tell by the fight, color, and body before you ever get it into the net.

Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass Tips!

1. The Smallmouth produces a harder strike.
2. The Smallmouth puts up a tougher fight.
3. The Smallmouth will be commonly found in rock structures or cruising deeper water.
4. The Largemouth will be found in the weeds and near drop-offs.
5. The Largemouth is a better eating/tasting fish.

2017 Largemouth Bass – 4 to 1 vs Northerns

It’s mid July and the water is starting to warm up finally here in the upper Mid-West. So we headed out to video some Bass Action for you. Typically I like to see much warmer weather and water before focusing on Bass & Crappies, but I don’t think we are going to get it this year. Now, before going out we need to make sure we have a good steal-leader since there are a lot of Northern Pike in this lake. You will see in the video that we end up catching 4 times a many Pike as we did Bass.

Our Bass Baits

I like to use top water baits since it’s a blast to see the action, so we start with a Blue Bass Popper & Yellow Buzz Bait. If the top water action is just not there then I will move to a 200 Series Bandit. Visit this link to see how to make your own Bass Poppers!

Bass Baits In Action

Here you can watch these baits and strikes in action.

Catching Smallmouth Bass On a Fly Rod

SmallMouth Bass – A Great Fight

If you are looking to have some fun try fly fishing for Smallmouth, what a fight and after a couple you will know your arm and risk have been in a battle.

Where To Find The Smallmouth Bass

If you have a lake with Smallies in it then you will find them feeding in the gravel or rocks. So find a shallow bay with this type of bottom structure. The Smallmouth Bass will be there feeding on spiders, dragonflies, and crabs. On a calm day where the water is motionless you should be able to see the Bass hitting the surface, so work slowly and be ready for a fight.

The water depths I like to focus on are two to five feet with most of my strikes in ~3 feet of water. The challenge is keeping the Bluegills and Crappies from hitting your dry fly, so I try to stay out deep casing in toward the gravel shorelines or rock piles, stay away from the weedlines.

Which Dry Fly Works Best For Smallmouth

I have found the Brown Spider (Dry Fly) with white legs to work great, but have also caught them on Green and Black body spiders. When fishing for Bass I use my larger homemade Spiders, which use a size 10 Aberdeen Light Wire Panfish hook.

How To Handle A Smallmouth Bass On A Fly Rod

When using a Fly Rod for Bass I use the same rod and leader I use for catching Bluegills. The leader I use is not tapered, but just a three foot piece of 6 or 8 lb monofilament line. The key for handling the Smallmouth is; do not horse them in, let the fly rod do the work and wear the fish out. And do not try and lift them out of the water with your fly rod, but rather use a net or grab them by the lip while their still in the water. This should minimize any risk of breaking your leader.

When Are Bass Most Active – Late Season Bass Fishing

Deep Weedlines – Larger Bass

It’s seems Bass are easy to catch and can be caught all year long, but there are times in the season when they are more active than others.I find in the early summer you can catch them in the shallows feeding, but once summer is in full swing you need to go to the deeper weedlines. Now if you have not fished the Fall season for Bass then you are missing out. Early Fall is like no other time of the year for catching Largemouth Bass. The bass are preparing for Winter and the Spring spawning season, so they are feeding more aggressively and carrying more weight.

Where To Catch The Largest Bass

In the early Fall season focus on the deep weedlines with sharp drop-offs for the largest fish. If the sun is high I go deeper than during the dusk and dawn times. On this bass trip we were on the lake from 4pm to 7pm and caught over 15 bass, the largest being a 4.5 lb Largemouth and a 3 lb Smallmouth.

Using the Strike King & Innovation Shad Combination

When the Sun is high or the water is choppy I will go deep with this artificial combination. I go to the weedlines that are close to a quick and deep drop. Now this bait combination may not catch as many fish as a Bandit Crankbait, but it will catch large bass. I consistently catch 4 to 5 lb Largemouth Bass with this and occasionally one up to 6 lbs. I also catch nice Smallmouth with this, but have found better baits for the Smallies.

Using The 200 & 300 Bandit Crankbait

I will use the Bandit once the Sun starts to go down and the bass come into the weedline to feed. I like to use the 300 and reel it slowly, as this will dive up to 8 feet then. The Fall Bass can not resist it, but you will find they will not run as large as those you will catch with the Strike King and Reaction Innovation Shad.

Using The J-Plug Or Buzzbait

By late Summer and early Fall I have typically stop using these two baits, due to the weeds being up to the surface. However, if you see a swirl far in the weeds then toss the buzzbait up there, It won’t take long and that bass will find it.

One tactic I found to work great when using the buzzbait is to toss it up high so the bass can see it coming. Why, well the bass are always looking for dragonflies to eat and they need to time it perfectly or they will miss it. The same holds true for top water baits, ever notice a lot of your bass hits are right after it hits the water…

Early Fall Bass Catch

Here is our catch for this 3 hour bass fishing trip, using the Strike King & Reaction Innovation Bait Combination. In my video you will see the Bait Combination used and the differences between a Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass..