Top lures at Smith Lake 2024

See surprising techniques in this top lure lineup from Smith Lake.

Summertime, fireworks and spotted bass — all three were in play during the TNT Fireworks Bassmaster Elite at Smith Lake. The northern Alabama lake renowned for its spotted bass fishing didn’t disappoint during the late June visit. In fact, it received a new nickname from the eventual winner who provided final round fireworks. Photo: Craig Lamb
Takumi Ito, the fourth-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Chiba, Japan, nicknamed the New York’s smallmouth waters “Smallmouth Disneyland” after he won an Elite tournament there in 2021. Ironically, the B.A.S.S. Media Guide lists Smith Lake as Ito’s favorite U.S. fishery. He would prove why with a wild finish on Championship Sunday. 
Championship Sunday morning featured multiple virtual ties until a wet microburst erupted at Ito’s location. Following the storm, big bass activity intensified as Ito upgraded three times, capped by a final-hour, clutch spotted bass weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces, that would be the winning fish. 
“Smith Lake is spotted bass Disneyland!” the champ proclaimed. Ito had daily limits weighing of 13-10, 13-11, 14-2 and 16-9, for a total weight of 58 pounds. The conditions favored by Ito allowed him to tease spotted bass with Japanese baits they’d never seen, or ones they couldn’t resist. See the lineup and other baits used by the leaders, and stock up for summertime bass fishing. 
Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops.
Justin Hamner (10th; 49-10)
Hamner scored a second consecutive Championship Sunday using a combination of baits capable of covering the water column, from top to bottom. 
Leading off for an early morning or schooling fish bite was this Clutch Swimbait Co. Darter Glide Bait.
For suspended spotted bass he used this 6-inch Dixie Jet Lures Dixie Spoon
Hamner also used a NetBait BaitFuel Twitch Jr., rigged on a 1/22-ounce tungsten jig head.
Cody Huff (9th; 49-13)
Huff covered the water column with a swim jig and drop shot. 
He made the drop-shot rig with a Missile Baits Magic Worm, rigged on a 1/0 VMC RedLine Series Drop Shot Hook, with a 3/8-ounce weight. 
Huff also relied on a 3/8-ounce VMC SLJ Sleek Jig, with a Missile Baits Spunk Shad 4.5
JT Thomkins (8th; 50-7)
Thompkins’ key bait was a jig with a fast fall rate that was ideal for quickly getting to the strike zone when skipped beneath docks. 
That choice was this 5/8-ounce OutKast Tackle Juice Casting Jig, paired with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog
For suspended spotted bass, Thompkins made the flick shake rig with a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko with a 1/16-ounce jig head. 
Kyle Patrick (7th; 51-9)
Patrick alternated between a swimbait for covering water and a drop-shot rig for specific areas. 
A top bait was this 4-inch Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ, rigged on 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Queen Tackle LS Tungsten Jighead
Using the same weight sizes, he made a drop shot with a Missile Baits Magic Worm, rigged on a 1/0 Owner Cover Shot Hook
Cooper Gallant (6th; 51-15)
Gallant used a swimbait and drop shot to cover his strike zone. 
Leading off the lineup was this 3/8-ounce Outkast Tackle Goldeneye Swimbait Jig Head, with a fluke-style trailer. 
Another top choice was this 6-inch X Zone Lures Deception Worm, with a 2/0 BKK Drop Shot Hook to be introduced at the upcoming ICAST trade show. 
Tyler Williams (5th; 52-8)
When it’s not broke don’t fix it. Tyler Williams continued a long streak of Top 10 appearances with his favorite go-to bait. Often, he uses the big jig to target offshore bass holding on isolated structure. Sometimes, the jig goes into heavy combat, like it did at Smith Lake. 
Williams used a flipping tactic with a 3/4-ounce Greenfish Tackle Little Rubber Jig, with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog. 
Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops.
Cory Johnston (4th; 53-1)
Johnston cruised flats and dropoffs searching for roaming and schooling spotted bass. 
To catch them, he used this 6th Sense Juggle Minnow, rigged on a Gamakatsu Horizon Head LG. 
Jay Prezekurat (3rd; 53-14)
Prezekurat relied on this key swimbait setup for his success. That was a Strike King 3X Baby Z-Too Soft Jerkbait, rigged on a Northland Fishing Tackle 3/8-ounce Smeltinator jighead
Robert Gee (2nd; 53-15)
A jighead minnow and hybrid crappie jig did the trick for Gee. 
A key bait was this handtied hair crappie jig, upsized to a 3/8 size making it ideal for bass applications. 
He also used a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm, rigged on a 3/8-ounce Queen Tackle Tungsten Swim Jig.
Taku Ito (1st; 58-0)
Ito revealed a lineup of secret Japanese baits for his first Championship Sunday appearance of the season. Note that all the baits are coated in his flavored bass attracting powder. Ito pinpointed larger spotted bass, over and up to 6 pounds, positioned around brushpiles at depths from 25 to 30 feet. 
That lineup featured this 3.6-inch Nories Flip Gill, rigged on a 3/16-ounce Neko Rig. 
Another hot bait was this Nories Wrapping Minnow Spy Bait
Finally, the weirdest of them all, and most deadly, was this 14 mm Field Side Saikoro Dice Rubber Magnum, rigged on a drop-shot rig with a 3/16-ounce weight.