When you’re fishing, you’ll want every chance of getting a bite. This is especially the case for smallmouth bass, which are known for being quite skittish and difficult to attract without the correct lures. That’s why you should want the right tools for the job, down to the lure type and color. If you’re looking to up that success rate when catching smallmouth bass, take a look at the selection of lures below.
We’ve gathered five high-quality lures that are great for smallmouth bass fishing. They vary in type, size, and color, so we’re sure that you can find a suitable option out of all the ones provided. Each product entry has a writeup and a link to the product page where these products can be purchased, as well as a pros and cons list that’s easy to read for those in a hurry.
At the bottom of the page, we have put a small buyers’ guide and FAQ that detail the features in a smallmouth bass lure that you want to look for. This is handy to understand how we ranked the lures, though it should be said that a lower entry may be your number one pick. You can also use the standards we establish to judge other lures for yourself, allowing you to find quality options independently.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Why it’s Our Top Pick
If you want to get to your favorite fishing hole as soon as possible, then take a look at our number one favorite smallmouth bass lure. If it’s to your liking, then you could potentially cut the time you would have usually spent researching for your purchasing decision. We chose the Bomber Lures Shad Crankbait Bass Fishing Lure, a large but light lure that can be used in most fishing scenarios. See why we liked it in more detail below:
This lure could arguably be called one of the safer options since it’s not only popular online but has also won tournament awards given to the lures by people who know their stuff.
Weighing at 3/8-ounces, it’s the optimal weight for smallmouth bass fishing and is easy to maneuver when in the water. Despite this, this crankbait actually dives pretty deep into the water to better imitate behavior and get that all-important bite.
They also look like the shad they’re trying to imitate. You have a choice of a very wide selection of colors and scale designs for the lure, so you can tailor it to the specific type of shad in your local fishing spot. Once you have fooled your catch with the authentic lure decoration, #6 Treble hooks keep them firmly in place.
Best Smallmouth Bass Lures - Comparison Table
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Best Smallmouth Bass Lures - Reviews
The first lure we have to show you is the Shad Crankbait Bass Fishing Lure from Bomber Lures. This is a lure with a history of successes behind it that are sure to inspire confidence, including tournament wins. Not only is quality virtually guaranteed, but it’s also available in a variety of colors and designs to best imitate specific species of shad, so you can target your catches authentically with the kind of shad that are native to their body of water.
Besides looking like the real deal, these baits are also deep diving. With a cranking depth of four to six feet, the lure is kept far enough away from your rod gears that it can penetrate deeper into the water. This makes the lure appear more like a fish since it’s not just floating on the surface, so it’s more likely that the smallmouth bass will take the bait.
Once you have got a bite, the lures use their #6 Treble hooks to ensure that you keep them on the lure until you’ve reeled it in. The lures are 3/8-ounces, more than enough for smallmouth bass fishing, and easier to move around and manipulate in the water.
That said, this is a larger lure than others that are intended for catching smallmouth and similar-sized fish. This is just something to be aware of, since it may not match your lure preferences, and doesn’t have too much bearing on the standard performance of the lure.
Next are the Dr.Fish Soft Body Swimbait Lures, another soft bait with a high success rate that’s sure to get results. It’s available in three sizes, those being 2.76, 3.15, and 3.9-inches long, so you should be able to get one that fits your rod and the size of the fish that you intend to catch. You also have a choice of colors, allowing you to tackle fishing spots of any watercolor or clarity. There are browns, blacks, and subtle blues, and then the customary chartreuse coloring that’s intended to be eye-catching when in murky water.
The lure itself looks very authentic, no matter which color you end up choosing, which is why the success rate of these lures is impressive. This is because they’re 3D models made from high-quality silicone, which are intricately painted and decorated with holographic inserts and a scale finish. Flash foil is placed in the stomach and 3D eyes are inlaid in the head, making this lure look alive.
The tail of the lure is designed to be hard pounding, kicking and wriggling about in the water to attract other fish through its movements. This only adds to the effectiveness of this lure and is sure to fetch results. The silicone construction of the lures is also very lightweight, so it can bounce more freely in the water and generate more interest in your lure from potential catches. We’d say this lure is perfect for drop shotting or those with weightless rigs because of how light the lure is.
At the third spot on this list are the Smallmouth Bass Lures from Haggerty Lures. They’re modeled after Clouser deep minnows, which are decorated with synthetic fibers that have a lot of color in them so they can be as attractive as possible to potential catches. This eye-catching design not only attracts smallmouth bass, but is also useful for largemouth bass, trout, and pike, so it’s a great all-rounder option.
This is only reinforced by the fact that there are six possible sizes that this lure can come in, expanding the size of fish that you can catch. You may notice the larger head of the lure, this is because the dumbbell eye design is heavy enough that it hangs below the surface of the water when cast, presenting a more alluring target for hungry fish.
You’ll want to comb the Hagg’s Hair colored synthetic fibers after these lures have been used. This adds some extra maintenance, which may be a nuisance to some anglers, but it does add another level of control since you can shorten or straighten the lure tails to your desire. These fibers are handy since they have the color scheme of baby smallmouth bass, presenting a vulnerable target.
Next up we have the Cotton Cordell Big O Square-Lip Crankbait Fishing Lure. Aesthetically it’s very similar to the first lures we featured on this list, and they also have a wider range of color and fish designs, mimicking not just shad but also perch and herring. The paint can chip with extended use, though, particularly if you’re fishing in areas with treacherous rockery or a lot of debris that could scrape against the lure.
Since they are cheaper than our number one lures, it’s a great budget option. What’s more, despite its status as a cheaper option, it has a healthy reputation as being a very effective smallmouth and largemouth crankbait.
It's based on an advanced, plastic-based design of Fred Young’s 1973 wood-carved plug, so you can be assured that these versatile lures come from an effective design, but now even more buoyant since it's made from lighter materials. It’s also better at deflecting cover since a short and tough, squared-off lip has been added. The timeless design of these lures is one that has been copied all over the fishing market, so it must be doing something right.
You have a choice of lure size that ranges from 2-inches to 3-inches, with some alternatively weighted options in between too. This means that you can pick the right size and color for your favorite fishing spots.
The last smallmouth bass lures we have to show you are probably the most visually distinct. We’re talking about the Rebel lures Crickhopper Crankbait Fishing Lure. It’s called the Crickhopper as a portmanteau of cricket and grasshopper, since all of its design options are species of these tasty insects. This is especially handy since crickets and grasshoppers come in many colors, so you can benefit from differently colored lures while still presenting an authentic bait.
As a highly related smallmouth bait, you also have the choice of the length and weight of your lure. They’re broken down into four categories, 1 ½-inch long lures, 1 ¾-inch lures, and then the Big Hopper and Crickhopper, which weigh ¼-ounces and 3/32-ounces respectively. No matter which options you pick, these lures are capable of a diving depth of three feet. This is suitable for catching all freshwater game fish.
Due to the nature of the lure, it’s extremely effective when twitching it on the surface of the water, too. This is improved by the clear lip on the lure. It can also be used as either a topwater lure or a crankbait, so you have some versatility in how this lure performs.
Best Smallmouth Bass Buyers Guide
How to get the best smallmouth bass lures
Getting new lures is a very specialized process, since your ideal lure will be different from someone else’s and dependent on the size, weight, and color of that lure. The best we can do in informing you about quality smallmouth bass lures is to break them down and describe the different aspects of a lure, so you’re fully informed and can look for what you need.
That’s what this buyers’ guide aims to do. We’ve broken the lures down into the types of lures and their size, design, and color. There’s also a short FAQ section where you can see questions other anglers have asked, and how we answered them.
Type of Lures
Smallmouth bass can be attracted by many different lure types, so when looking for your lure you should know that you’re not seeking any one type. That said, some have a proven track record of efficiency and reliability, and we’ll go through a few of them.
Most of the above lures fall under finesse lures, a larger category that contains subcategories like shaky heads, grubs, and tubes. What you should know is that these baits are the soft plastic baits that are designed to be dragged and twitched atop the water to attract your prey. They’re ideal for water sources with sediment-heavy bottoms, because smallmouth bass will be rooting around there. They also have some freedom in how they can be rigged up, though we’d recommend jig heads to sink further into the water and appear more presentable to your potential catches.
A lot of the above lures are also crankbaits, but other power lures like spinnerbaits are also effective when the fish are active. They’re best used in debris-filled or obscured deeper waters and have impressive diving depths to make the most of this.
Speaking of jig heads, full jig lures are also popular amongst anglers since they can be used in all seasons and have a high success rate. They’re particularly useful for catching larger fish, so they’re the lures to depend on if you’re after a trophy to show off to your angling buddies. They can also be used with a variety of hook sizes, making them quite versatile.
Size, Design, and Color
How your lures appear is obviously an important factor in tricking bass into biting. When we talk about size, it’s usually in reference to the lengths of these lures, since you want your bait to be size-accurate to the species of fish that you’re imitating. The same principle applies to the design and color, with the best lures having the right hues and patterns of the fish, cricket, or crawdad that they are imitating.
The best designed, but unfortunately more expensive, lures will even have textured scales and 3D eye replicas, looking almost like the real deal to our human eyes, so they’re guaranteed to trick the fish you want to catch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a special lure required for smallmouth bass fishing?
The type of lure that you’re using is important when fishing, since using the wrong type can just be a waste of your time and money. It’s also important to be familiar with the technique of whichever lures that you are using, so even having the right lure can be useless if you don’t know what you’re doing.
For smallmouth bass, you want the lure to match the area where your smallmouth is based. There are quite a few places where you can find smallmouth, so the type of lure you go for will be based more on the water source you’re fishing from than the kind of fish you want. Even time can be a factor, since certain lures are more effective when the fish are active or sluggish, which is dependent on the time of the day.
You just need some basic knowledge of lures and where and when to use them to great effect, which thankfully is basic angling knowledge, so you don’t need to be an expert fisherman. If you are worried about that, we’d advise going for versatile lures that can be used in different circumstances.
Can lures be reused?
Many will throw their lures away when they’ve been used, but this isn’t always necessary since it’s dependent on a lot of different factors. Damage is the foremost factor, since some lures will be unfit for further use after sustaining some knocks and scrapes.
You want to maximize your chances of success when fishing so, when determining if a lure could be used again, you should inspect it and make a call on whether it’s damaged to the point of worsening its effectiveness. If it is damaged, even just a tiny bit, then you should err on the side of caution and use a new one. If you think it’s fine, then you can get away with using it a second time.