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river smallmouth bass

4 Overlooked Crankbaits for River Fishing Smallmouth Bass

If you’re not throwing these crankbaits for smallmouth bass, you’re missing some fabulous fish-catching opportunities. Learn why and when to use each.

Hard-fighting, high-jumping river smallmouth bass serve up serve up spectacularly fun summer fishing, and a well-chosen and properly delivered crankbait is one of the finest lures available for covering water and prompting fast action from river bass. Not all crankbaits are created equal, though, and some of the best crankbaits for smallmouth bass in rivers are largely overlooked.

We will look at four of the finest crankbaits that you might not have considered for river smallmouth bass. Each is distinctive in its appeals and the specific situations where it tends to work best. A couple of colors each of these four crankbaits would provide the tools needed for a broad range of river smallmouth fishing situations.

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How to Catch Early-Summer Smallmouth Bass

Frank Scalish shares secrets from a lifetime of targeting smallmouth bass on the Great Lakes and large inland lakes.

When Frank Scalish competed on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour, he was known for his ability to catch smallmouth bass. He did especially well with this species on the Great Lakes and on large, inland, natural lakes, such as Lake Champlain. A lifetime resident of northern Ohio, Scalish has never lived more than a short cast from Lake Erie, one of the nation’s premier smallmouth fisheries.

He has fished Erie regularly throughout his adult life and has the equivalent of a PhD in finding and catching Erie smallmouth. He is especially erudite about how glaciers created the rocky bass habitat on the lake’s bottom. This knowledge has helped him catch big-water smallies wherever he casts for them in North America.

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Penobscot River smallmouth bass

6 Tips for Catching River Smallmouth Bass

Tap into the expertise of a veteran Maine outfitter and learn how to increase your success catching smallmouth bass.

“Only 99 more,” Doug Teel half-jokingly said as we released the first smallmouth bass of an afternoon. I’d spent enough time on the Penobscot River with Teel to know 100 smallmouths in a half-day outing would be a reasonable notion, so it became the goal without further discussion, and we counted down, with every smallmouth landed. The fish were still biting well when the count hit zero, and we had plenty more time we could have fished. However, we set down our rods, content with 100 even, and headed for dinner.

Teel operates Northridge Outfitters, a full-service outfitter in Maine, and turns his focus primarily to the Penobscot River’s fabulous smallmouth bass fishery through the summer. He has been fishing the river for decades and has an astounding understanding of river smallmouth behavior and how to tap into the best action.

We talked with Teel to glean his expertise and compiled six top tips that will help you catch more river smallmouth bass.

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