Tony Roach gives his top 6 must have smallmouth bass baits that you need to have tied on if you plan on targeting smallies throughout the spring, summer, and fall!

Top 6 Smallmouth Bass Baits

Smallmouth bass are one of those fish that can be feeding on a certain type of bait one minute and then the next minute they’ll switch to something completely different. Because of this habit, it can be very beneficial to have multiple presentations tied up and ready to go at a moments notice. The following are six smallmouth bass baits that I always have ready to go when targeting smallies.

1. The Ned Rig

The first presentation you NEED to have rigged up when smallmouth bass fishing is the Ned Rig. This finesse stickbait is one of the best smallmouth baits out there and it catches fish all year long. 

A lot of times a Ned Rig is going to be your best option during a tough bite. The Ned Rig works best when fished slow and along the bottom. Oftentimes the less action you put into the bait, the better it works. 

Choose your color depending on water clarity. Brighter plastics in darker water, and natural colors in clear water situations.

2. Hair Jigs

There are two types of hair jigs you should have at the ready when targeting smallmouth bass. 

Bucktail hair jigs and Marabou hair jigs. 

Bucktail hair jigs shine when the bass are keying in on baitfish. They often work the best when fished aggressively, snap jigging. 

marabou hair jig smallmouth bass baits

Marabou hair jigs are the opposite and work best when fish slowly in a straight retrieve. Marabou jigs preform well when the bass are feeding on bugs, leeches, or other invertebrates. They can be fished at multiple depths and are a great bait for targeting pre and post spawn fish. 

3. Swim Baits

Swimbaits work great throughout the season, but preform especially well in the spring and fall. One nice thing about swimbaits is that they can be fished in almost every type of cover. They catch fish on rocks, wood, weeds, sand, and over open water. 

One tip is to start with two to three inch long swim bait earlier in the spring and then as you progress throughout the summer continually size up your bait. Don’t be faired to through large swimbaits that are 5 inches or bigger in the fall. This will help you match the hatch and the size of the baitfish the bass are keying in on. 

4. Jerkbaits 

Jerkbaits just flat out catch smallmouth bass and the Rapala X-Rap is arguably one of the best smallmouth bass baits on the market. It’s erratic action is deadly and I always have one ready to go.

smallmouth bass baits X- Rap

The time of year is going to dictate how fast you work the bait. Early in the spring when the water is cold long pauses are crucial. As the water warms up throughout the year you can speed up your retrieve. 

5. Crankbaits

Crankbaits work great when I’m trying to achieve a certain depth or if I am trying to cover water. They’re a great search bait, and I tend to lend towards them when I am breaking down new water. 

6. Topwater

Topwater baits are something that I will have tied on right after the spawn until the fall. Some good topwater options include poppers, prop baits, wake baits, or frogs. Topwater is one of the most exciting ways to catch smallmouth bass and is very effective during the heat of summer. 

Now there are defiantly other smallmouth bass baits and presentations that work, but year in and year out these six presentations will produce bass all season long.