Sometimes it’s better to wake ’em up rather than use finesses baits
Early in the season, when the water is cold and the smallmouth are lethargic, most anglers try to finesse the fish into biting.
Ripping a lipless crankbait is often a much better choice. Make a long cast with a half-ounce #6 Rippin’ Rap, engage the reel and let the lure sink to the bottom. Once you see your line go slack—indicating the lure has touched down—sharply snap your rod tip from the 9 o’clock position up to 11 o’clock. Then immediately drop the rod tip back down, allow the lure to plummet toward bottom, reel up 90 per cent of the slack line and snap it up again. It’s critical to let the lure fall on completely slack line and rip it with a bit of slack. This tactic forces the bass to react, giving you the chance to shout, “Fish on!”