When you fly up to our remote luxury fishing outpost camps in Northwestern Ontario, you’ll find the Smallmouth Bass are in their pre-spawn and spawn patterns in the spring and can be easily caught very shallow.
Late May through June is their spawning period, so the smaller male Bass are up in the shallows early, making and defending the beds against any threat.
Plastics and live bait are extremely effective because they can stay in the strike zone near the beds for a long period of time, but spinner baits work well.
Jig combination near a Bass’s bed will cause them to strike, primarily not because they are feeding, but to move the lure away from the bed and protect the spawning bed from danger from the intruder (your lure).
An un-weighted floating rapala or fluke drifting over a Smallmouth’s bed is guaranteed to instigate a strike almost every time. Leeches, crawlers, and minnows will work excellent for Bass also.
The large female Smallmouth will feed well in the pre-spawn period, but become very inactive during the spawning period. It tends to be very frustrating, as you will spot them but no matter what you throw at them nothing seems to warrant them striking it.
By later June the spawn is usually over and the Smallmouth Bass start to transition into their summer patterns and feeding frenzies.