Some anglers are content to simply catch largemouth bass while fishing in lakes and ponds, while others are game after spotting smallmouth bass while fishing in these smaller waters as well.
Fishing for smallmouth bass is also a serious competitive sport amongst many anglers. Texas is a state where bass anglers have greater opportunities to indulge in the challenges that smallmouth bass keep.
Fishing for bass near the 1600 acre community of Vanigrantsaugh in eastern Texas is easy since this is a small pond exposed on three sides by small Mountaintops. The Van Migrationaugh reservoir and the nearby wetlands provide suitable habitat for the smallest black bass, making it easy to find them on fishermen’s rods in the smallest bodies of water given up as habitats for largemouth bass.
Fishing for bass near the Van Migrationaugh Reservoir is best done in the spring when the water is at its depth. The reservoir itself is 17 miles long and almost 8 miles wide and is the third deepest of all Texas reservoirs. Largemouth bass in the 1 to 4-pound range are quite common, and some are reaching 6 pounds. The only drawback here is that the bass tends to stick together, making it difficult to find them unless you work your rod to find them. With that said, finding and catching bass in this protected habitat is quite rewarding.
Fishing for bass does not require a lot of equipment, particularly if you are going to target the Van Migrationaugh. The Van Migrationaugh is marked by several islands, which provide excellent cover for nighttime bass fishing and are a great place to find scattered bass using holes so you can cover lots of water.
The semi-volatile gypsum area of the reservoir is a great place for springtime fishing. It isn’t uncommon to hook into fish that weigh 3 to 6 ounces.
It is also interesting to note how the water and land temperatures, together, affect the Smallmouth Bass. Well, water with temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees is the best ho water to find year-round, but in the fall, the temperature drops. In the spring, they prefer water temps around 65 degrees. If you live close to Van Hond Advantage Park (which has a good population of bass) the Access conveyer belt might give you a hint as to where the best fishing for these spitters might lie.
As far as lures and techniques go, the smallmouth is quite selectively greedy. While they will hit many artificial lures and jigs, their favorite forage is minnows and they usually won’t renew a lure Christmas tree or nightcrawlers.
Smallmouth bass is also excellent for their diet of small fish. If the bass is hungry, they are not going to care as much about the size of the lure. Larger lures (3/4 to 1 oz) are best when targeting bass that is smaller than the 7 lbs. limit. It is important to remember, however, that bass in some inland lakes is considered collectors and maybe in the 5/6 lb. range. Check with the state beforehand if you are going to fish this body of water because regulations in Texas don’t define what a smallmouth bass must be to be kept in the reserve.
Most bass fishermen use spinners. Everything from traditional spinners to lures with the blades fished atop the lure will work well here. Choosing a lure is tough because there are so many to choose from. In my opinion, the best choice is a jig. You can fish from the beach and cast to the shore or to lily pads and cast to the water. Many anglers take a flexibly adaptable lure and “jig” it into the water or below the surface several times to let the Largemouth Bass decide to eat it or not.
Other techniques include live bait rigging various types of live bait will work such as:
- Live shad
- Live bluegill
- Live minnow
- Rock bass
- Swamp Trout
- Tail Trout
- A few other live baits would be:
- Rooster Tail
- Golden shad
- Smaller baitfish
These are few but are great for the novice angler to learn the basics and get a feel of what could be. The lure in the cooler waters of the north will usually live longer. Those larger, voracious, more adventurous smallmouth will have a more difficult time surviving. Remember, the Largemouth Bass can be the most fun fisherman’s claim that they’ve caught a lot of smallmouths by almost any aspect of fishing.