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Page 306

However, many anglers have come home after a day of fishing with nothing to show for their efforts. Largemouths can turn off their feed, and nothing you throw at them will provoke a strike. Also, these fish change locations constantly. They will inhabit water from shallow to deep, depending on time of year, water type, and water temperature.

A largemouth angler's arsenal includes bait such as minnows, crayfish, frogs, and insects; and lures such as crankbaits, spoons, spinners, flies, and plastic worms. This last offering is arguably the most effective largemouth bass lure throughout its range, and is usually fished on bottom with a slow retrieve.

Smallmouth Bass.

The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) is native only to the Lake Ontario and Ohio River drainages, though widespread stocking has introduced the smallie to waters from the Canadian border south to Alabama and Texas and west to California. The smallmouth prefers clean and cold water such as fast-moving rivers and spring-fed lakes with rocky bottoms. A member of the sunfish family (as is the largemouth), the smallmouth gets its name from comparison to the largemouth: The hinge on the upper jaw extends past the eye on the largemouth, and falls even with the eye on the smallmouth.

But that's the only small aspect of the smallmouth. One of the scrappiest fighters in fresh water, this bass will give a spirited battle all the way to the boat. A half-pound small-mouthwhich is the average in many streams; about twice that in lakeswill give the fight of a largemouth two or three times its size.

Smallmouths prefer minnows, crayfish, worms, and assorted insects, with crayfish being the preferred forage where these crustaceans exist and when they are available. These baits, and lures resembling them such as jigs, spinners, and small crankbaits, all will take smallmouths.

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