Fall can be one of the best time to target smallmouth bass. If the weather is good and you can fish shallow and deeper water structure, your chances are good to hook-up some of the biggest bass of the season. How do you decide whether to fish crankbaits or jigs for them? Depending on their location and what you believe they would be feeding on can really help you make that decision.
Smallmouth in smaller bodies of water that have a mix of weeds and structure will remain shallow feeding baitfish that will be moving from the shallow to slightly deeper water. These are ideal conditions to cast intermediate diving crankbaits. Crankbaits can also work well if smallmouth in larger lakes, especially clear deep lakes are feeding over and around open-water structure areas on schools of suspended baitfish. Once the baitfish move off, smallmouth will drop down near the bottom and look for bottom dwelling baitfish like log perch and darters, and especially crayfish and round headed gobies (where available). That’s the time to switch to either a drop-shot rig, or gently jig the bottom with a soft-plastic grub and jig combination. Dragging tubes works especially well for this presentation. In many cases the above presentations can be fished alternately to find out what the smallies prefer!