Largemouth bass will frequent lakes and ponds where there is heavy weed cover, with lily pads, grasses and hydrilla a favorite type of plant to live in or under. Largemouth use these weeds for cover from the hot sun, to hide from other predatory species and to lie in wait for the creatures they ambush. In a river setting, the largemouth will be in the slower water, and they prefer shallow water to deep, looking for any vegetation that can provide for their needs. Smallmouth bass will be found in deeper water in lakes and ponds as well as in every part of a river system. In moving water, smallmouth find relief from the current behind boulders and logs and in deeper pools.
There are so many different types of bass lures that choosing which ones to use can be overwhelming. There are some that every bass angler carries to employ during the many scenarios that present themselves during a fishing trip. Spinnerbaits can work in shallow water and can go through heavy weeds. Crankbaits, which are made to resemble bait fish and dive down when reeled in according to the angle on their "lips," should be in every tackle box. Hollowed-out frogs, toads and other creatures, such as mice, are fished on the surface and can be used when the water is calm and the light is fading. Plastic creature baits should be fished with the angler bringing the bait in to make it look as natural as possible, making it hop, swim and flutter in the water. In shallow, weedy areas, use topwater baits that possess some sort of lip or propeller to stir the water and get a fish interested. Use live bait, such as night crawlers, beneath a float or cast into the current.
Use spinnerbaits and plastic creature baits around docks, sunken trees and vegetation in the water, fishing them as close to you can to these structures and plants. These work well on overcast days; one spinnerbait trick is to suddenly stop reeling it in, let it sink to the bottom and then retrieve it again. Use crankbaits with a different rate of speed all the time; if they bass aren't hitting at a certain speed, slow down or speed up. Fish surface baits, such as the hollow frog, with great patience; meticulously move the lure only a foot or 2 every 20 to 30 seconds to imitate an injured aquatic denizen. When fishing for smallmouth in a river or stream, weigh down live night crawlers with one or two split shots about 2 feet from a No. 4 hook and cast downstream into the current. Look for places where rocks, sandbars, trees and other objects break the current; casting your line into these waters will typically produce a bite from a smallmouth.