Blade Baits for Late Winter Smallmouth Bass Fishing
February 17, 2020 by Don Manning
Late winter smallmouth bass fishing is tough. Pre-spawn smallmouth bass has yet to arrive but the weather is breaking enough to hit the water. One of the best winter smallmouth baits most anglers overlook is the blade bait. They are the perfect imitation for struggling baitfish that slowly die in the late winter cold waters of lake and rivers. They can be fished a variety of ways and are worth throwing for late winter smallmouth bass.
The Blade Bait
If you fish for smallmouth bass, and have never threw blade baits, you are missing out on a great opportunity to catch some trophy fish. If you have never tried these hunks of steel and lead, you need to tie one on. I have been fishing the river for 40 some years, and never fished these fish catching baits until just recently.
I was surprised at the fish I caught, big fish. When the water temperature is cold, say mid 30’s to low 40’s, these baits are a great way to catch lots of fish, big fish. It takes a while to get the hang of fishing them, but once you get it, you will be surprised at the fish you catch. These simple baits have been around for a long time, starting with the Silver Buddy. This silver blade bait became famous on Dale Hollow Reservoir in Tennessee years ago. Vertical jigging in the early spring and winter produced some unbelievable catches. Nothing fancy, just a piece of metal with lead on the head. The original Silver Buddy was just that silver. Drop it down at the boat until it rests on the bottom then lift your rod until you feel the vibration, then let it fall back to the bottom.
The blade baits today come in just about any color there is, making this bait even more versatile for late winter smallmouth bass fishing. Plain silver still seems to work the best. The only disadvantage to fishing this bait is they hang up rather easy and are very hard to get loose. I would suggest you make your own if you fish these baits a lot. Do-It Molds has a mold in various sizes to meet any smallmouth bass fishing situation. You can just let them silver or gold or paint them to your specifications. Add treble hooks and a snap and you are good to go. Making them yourself is rewarding and will will save you a few dollars per bait.
Winter river bass fishing is one specific situation where a blade bait can be productive. Once you figure out how to fish these baits, you will see they work especially well in current on rivers like the Susquehanna to get a few more winter bites. Practice fishing with them as there is a learning curve to working these baits correct, but once you figure it out, you will be amazed how they catch fish.
Get yourself some blade baits and give them a try. You will wonder why you haven’t fished them before. Better yet, get yourself a mold and make your own. It is easy and fun and will save you a few dollars in the long run. Blade baits provide some exceptional late winter smallmouth bass fishing, and it is even more exciting catching big smallies on a bait you made yourself.