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Common smallmouth misconceptions

Canadian pro Jeff Gustafson says many smallmouth will stay shallow during summer. Photo by Seigo Saito

Largemouth and smallmouth bass came of age at different times in the tradition of fishing study and pursuit. That’s really just a long way of saying that we knew a heck of a lot more about largemouth bass before we started to know much at all about smallmouth.

The reasons are many. One, largemouth bass are, of course, more widespread. They tend to live shallower than smallmouth. Largemouth bass by and large are more resident — you can return to the same places and catch them over and over. And let’s face it, smallmouth in the North didn’t receive much angling focus until the past 20 years or so — and to this day, smallmouth are still vastly undervalued when stood against the sexier eating species like trout, salmon and walleye.

It’s no wonder, then, that we learned so much more about largemouth first but continued to wonder and trade in myths when discussing the mysterious ways of their brown cousins. It’s time to bust through the veil of misunderstanding. It’s time to tackle the topic of smallmouth myths. And it’s time to question everything we think we know about this hard-fighting, red-eyed, mottled member of the black bass family.