have a universal appeal when it comes to luring in
smallmouth bass. Whether they represent a baitfish or
crawdad to the opportunistic bass, the end result is always
the same - another bass in the boat. Although crankbaits
come in hundreds of styles and shapes, a select few can get
the job done right when applied correctly. Utilize these
tips and tricks the next time you hit the water, and have
fun cranking in bass after bass.
Twitch baits are long, slender "minnow-shaped" plugs
that can range in length between three and six-inches. (Five
to six-inches is the preferred size for bronzeback fishing.)
Most twitch baits are designed with a small lip, causing
baits to run anywhere from just below the surface to
six-feet down. You can also find suspending models that will
hold at a certain depth, and "freeze" when the angler stops
cranking. These can be great when fish are in a neutral or
Twitchbaits are a handy addition to the tackle box as they
can be used in a multitude of applications. The one key that
seems to be the triggering device is the quick "snaps" and
"tugs" of the rod tip that imparts a definite stop-and-go
action. There's something about this fast twitch method that
drives smallmouth wild! You really can't work this bait too
fast for the speedy smallmouth, and I've found that the more
erratic you work the bait, the better the results will be.
Experiment with long tugs, short tugs and varying lengths of
pauses until you find out what the smallies are looking for.
Twitchbaits can be fished almost anywhere you can find
smallmouth bass, although they really shine in water that is
less than twenty-feet deep. In fact, many of my better days
on the water are when I concentrate on ten to twenty-foot
depths and twitch my way through the area. The clearer the
water the better the action, as this bait is essentially a
sight lure for smallies to hone in on, although the built-in
rattles certainly can call them in for a closer look. Try to
"match the hatch" when choosing colours - predominant
baitfish colours will usually do the trick.
Pay attention to shallow feeding shelves, underwater humps
and rock shoals, and be prepared to twitch your way to more
and bigger bass.
"Rattle-Trap" Style Baits
This bait is quite unique looking, with no built-in lip
to give it a set running depth. The body is very flat, and
both ends meet in a distinct point. The hard plastic body
cavity is filled with BB shot, producing an extremely loud
vibration when pulled through the water. (This is the key to
its fish catching ability.)
One of the first baits on the market was the Rattle Spot,
with the Rattle Trap following shortly thereafter. Most
manufacturers have a bait in their lineup that is a twin of
the original, and all work superb when put in the hands of
Since these baits have no lip for depth, they can be fished
as deep or as shallow as needed. They can be "counted down"
to the depth you wish to target, as the rate of decent is
roughly one-foot per second. Once at your predetermined
depth, it is time for the retrieve. Pulling one of these
baits through the water is simple. Crank it in steadily at a
medium to fast rate, pausing for a few "jerks" along the way
for added sound and attraction. When a fish strikes, you
will most certainly know about it!! Smallmouth clobber
rattle-traps in a kamikaze style, hard and fast, almost
ripping the rod out of your hand if you're not ready for it.
Hit them with a mighty hookset, and sit back to enjoy the
tussle they will give you.