Vertical jigging a fluke or minnow-profiled plastic just over the top of a school of smallmouth bass is an under utilized presentation in the smallmouth world. This tactic really took off in Canadian Shield waters that have a smelt forage base, but it works anywhere baitfish suspend in the water column. It’s counter intuitive, but the trick is to do nothing – hold the jig just above the school and wait for it! We suspect the do-nothing motion resembles a wounded or unsuspecting baitfish, thus representing an easy meal. A lot of the best northern smallmouth bass waters such as the Great Lakes and Mille Lacs have bottoms carpeted in zebra mussels, an invasive species that cuts line. This tactic has the added benefit of keeping your line clear of the abrasive bottom in these waters.
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