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Favorite Lures of the Smallmouth Guides

From Dale Hollow Lake - which gave up the world-record smallie - to Maryland's Potomac River, we grilled four top bronzeback guides to find out which lures are their go-to patterns all season long.

Guide Ed Keller

Ed Keller
Location: Susquehanna/Potomac River, Maryland
Credentials: A former Redman Tournament Circuit pro, Keller now focuses his angling efforts into putting customers on up to 40 smallmouth a day, many of them weighing four pounds or better.
Number of years guiding: 9
Contact: (301) 582-9404; potomacguides.com

Favorite Spinnerbait: Strike King Premier Pro Model
Color: White/Gold Blades
Weight: 3/8 oz.
Details: “The water in our rivers can be off-color depending on time of year and run-off. Gold shows up much better in those conditions, and double willow blades produce more vibration. I’ve found that a slower retrieve produces well in my area. You do have to keep the blades turning, but bumping the bottom on the occasion is not a bad thing. I’ll use this retrieve when we’re fishing around grass points in four to five feet of water.”

Favorite Crankbait: Rebel Wee-Crawfish
Color: Green Crawfish
Size: 2 in.
Weight: 1/5 oz.
Details: “Crayfish are the main forage of our smallmouth. This lure has a wide wobble that triggers more strikes than any other imitation I’ve found. Because of the odd profile of this crankbait, you need to get the retrieve just right. I try to reel just fast enough to get the rod tip tapping slightly. Pull them too fast and all they do is roll.”

Yamamoto Senko

Favorite Soft Plastic: Yamamoto Senko
Color: Watermelon
Size: 4 in.
Details: “Senkos are great during the post-spawn when bass are guarding the fry. The watermelon color has great visibility, and fish hit it defensively as it falls. I rig a Senko Texas-style with no weight. I prefer a 2/0 or 3/0 wide-gap hook. You want them to fall in a nice level position. They look the most natural that way. A bait falling nose-down just doesn’t look right.”

Favorite Jig: Rite Bite Tube
Color: Green Pumpkin/Purple Flake
Size: 3 ½ in.
Weight: 1/8 oz jighead.
Details: “These tubes are heavily salt-impregnated, which I think causes fish to hang on longer when they strike. The plastic material is also thicker in this bait then many other, which makes them more durable. I use a 1/8-ounce jighead with a tube 80% of the time. If you’re targeting suspending smallmouth, they won’t usually dive to chase a jig that comes whizzing past them. One-quarter-ounce jigs fall too fast, but 1/8-ounce is just right in most cases.”

Comments (11)

Top Rated
All Comments
from buck hunter 17 wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

nice

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from VT Outdoorsman wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

I also love the Yamamoto Senko's. its good to see some reputable guides do too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from markpangler@aol.com wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

The rattle rap in crayfish color is great in crayfish waters for smallies, so I've found. Cast near rocky points in deep water, as soon as the lure hits the water give it a pull then let it sink for a few seconds, keep tension on the line and hold on!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aragonnapoles wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

A friend of mine bring me few bass stalker and there are letal weapons for largemouth too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Huntersteve wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I'm surprised that no Lake Erie guides were polled. It's known as the Walleye Capital of the World, but the Smallmouths could be a close second, and they get big.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from smallmouthbandit wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I've fished with J. Davis on Dale. Had the best fishing day of my life. Took about 25 fish that spring day - most fish were 18-20 inches.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bill Boucher wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

John Blais has guided me several times over the past several years and I have yet to be disappointed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from boomer1 wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

i like to us the rebel craw fish

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buffryan wrote 5 years 1 day ago

Sinko rigged on a weedless wacky hook is hard to beat in clear water

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from REV wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

NO TUBES MENTIONED - interesting - #1 lure for small mouths!!!!!!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from beaverlog wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Rattlin' Rogues!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buck hunter 17 wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

nice

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from boomer1 wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

i like to us the rebel craw fish

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from VT Outdoorsman wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

I also love the Yamamoto Senko's. its good to see some reputable guides do too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from markpangler@aol.com wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

The rattle rap in crayfish color is great in crayfish waters for smallies, so I've found. Cast near rocky points in deep water, as soon as the lure hits the water give it a pull then let it sink for a few seconds, keep tension on the line and hold on!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aragonnapoles wrote 5 years 8 weeks ago

A friend of mine bring me few bass stalker and there are letal weapons for largemouth too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Huntersteve wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I'm surprised that no Lake Erie guides were polled. It's known as the Walleye Capital of the World, but the Smallmouths could be a close second, and they get big.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from smallmouthbandit wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I've fished with J. Davis on Dale. Had the best fishing day of my life. Took about 25 fish that spring day - most fish were 18-20 inches.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bill Boucher wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

John Blais has guided me several times over the past several years and I have yet to be disappointed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buffryan wrote 5 years 1 day ago

Sinko rigged on a weedless wacky hook is hard to beat in clear water

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from REV wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

NO TUBES MENTIONED - interesting - #1 lure for small mouths!!!!!!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from beaverlog wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Rattlin' Rogues!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment