Spring smallmouth bass are a sucker for erratic jerkbaits and twitch baits, but sometimes a more subtle bait shines. Hair jigs are a subtle and natural-looking lure option for spring smallmouth. Wired2fish’s McKeon Roberts shares his system for targeting active spring smallmouth using hair jigs from his kayak. He provides advice on location, gear, and techniques to catch quality springtime smallmouth using hair jigs.
- Location and Conditions: Roberts suggests searching for smallmouth on shallow rocky flats where they scatter and roam in packs. Focus on areas with depths ranging from 2- to 8 feet, as these are ideal for fishing hair jigs. Clear water is a great environment for hair jigs, offering excellent visibility for sight-feeding smallmouth bass.
- Choosing the Right Hair Jig: Roberts prefers starting with a 1/8th ounce black jig for the best contrast in clear water. He likes lighter jig sizes to keep the bait elevated in the water column in shallow water. Use hair jigs with a bit of tinsel to create a subtle flash and attract fish.
- Gear and Setup: Use a balanced spinning rod setup for hair jigs. A longer medium-light rod spinning reel spooled with an 8- to 10-pound braid casts excellently. Roberts recommends adding a fluorocarbon leader for stealth and stretch on the business end.
- Casting Technique: Cast the hair jig and swim it over the flat with small, subtle flicks of your rod tip. Occasionally, add a bigger pop and let the jig sink for a second before resuming the retrieve. Make sure to cover every section of the flat with fan casts to avoid missing a pocket of fish.
- Boat Control: McKeon advises being mindful of your position when hooking a fish. Avoid drifting over schools of smallmouth bass to prevent spooking them. If equipped, use boat control tools like Spot-Lock or a shallow water anchor to keep your kayak in place while casting to the fish.
FISHING TACKLE AND GEAR (retail links)
- KAYAK – Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136, Buy at Old Town
- SHALLOW WATER ANCHOR – PowerPole Micro Anchor Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- HAIR JIG – VMC Moon Tail, Black, 1/8-ounce Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- ROD – 13 Fishing Omen Black 3 Spinning Rod, 7’1″ MedLight Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- REEL – 13 Fishing Axum Spinning Reel (Replaces Prototype X) Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- BRAIDED MAIN LINE – Sufix 832 Braid, 10-pound Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- LEADER – Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon,10-pound Buy at Tackle Warehouse
Fishing hair jigs from a kayak is an exciting and effective way to target spring smallmouth bass. You’ll have a successful day on the water by following McKeon Roberts’ expert advice on location, gear, and techniques.