Schooling north country summer smallmouth bass

Peterson’s daughter caught this chunky, 20-inch smallmouth on a topwater recently. Schooling bronzebacks can be tough to locate, but once found, will provide seriously fun fishing action.

My little girls and I have been chasing the smallmouth bass pretty hard this year. Due to the late, cold spring we got to fish them as they were staging to spawn, while they were bedding, and now as they have moved into their summer spots.

It’s pretty hard to beat staging fish or bedding fish, but if I had to pick my favorite time to target bronzebacks it would be right now, late June. This is because while not every rock reef or boulder-strewn point will have fish on it, one of them will.

Better yet, it will probably have a school of smallmouth on it and they’ll be more than eager to hammer a topwater. If there is a better way to hook 6-year-olds on the excitement of fishing than having them cast a popper or a propbait in the midst of several 18- to 20-inch smallmouth, I’ve yet to find it.

Now that the spawn is a distant memory, smallmouth are in their summer haunts and ready to smash topwaters. This is a great situation in which to hook youngsters on bass fishing.

The only downside to the plan is that schooling smallies seem to be roamers, and they might not be where they were yesterday. It often takes a dedication to hop several spots until you find the school. To keep my little girls from losing interest through too much down time, we usually work spots over with a chunk-and-wind propbait like a Whopper Plopper. If something football-shaped and angry shows an interest, we slow down with poppers.

Oftentimes, we’ll pull five or six fish off a spot before the school goes cold. This means that in an entire morning of fishing, we might only have action a small percentage of the time. That doesn’t matter though, because the action always is intense, and a few smallmouth back-to-back-to-back can erase a lot of fishless time in a hurry.


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Categories: Bass, Blog Content, Fishing, How To’s, Tony Peterson

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