There are several huge behavioral differences between Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. In a lake you generally find Smallmouth Bass in deep and rocky sections of the lake. Largemouth Bass on the other hand prefer weedy portions of the lake. Largemouth Bass also for much of the year can be found in much shallower water than Smallmouth Bass typically prefer. In rivers Smallmouth Bass are found more in the fast current, especially near rocks or near creek mouths. Largemouth Bass on the other hands prefer slower moving water and are often found inhabiting weedy backwater areas of the river.
To catch Largemouth Bass you need to use baits that work well in weeds and trees, both standing and fallen timber. The spinnerbait fits both these criteria. In my life I have only caught one Smallmouth Bass on a spinnerbait but have caught hundreds of Largemouth Bass.
The spinnerbait is versatile bait that can be fished many different ways. A favorite northern lake of mine has a large section of lily pads that holds Largemouth Bass.
The trick is finding where exactly the Bass are. With a spinnerbait you can fish many different ways. In this situation I have positioned my boat where I could retrieve the spinnerbait along the edge of the pads, trying to entice the Bass holding on the outer edge of the pads near deeper water. I typically start retrieving the bait with the top foot of the water surface. If I do not have success I then allow the bait to drop about 3 feet and try the area again.
Often you will see Largemouth Bass feeding right in the middle of the weeds or in this case the lily pads. The spinnerbait allows you to reach these Bass as well. It is important that you have a strong rod and powerful reel for this type of fishing. I like to cast the spinnerbait direct in the weeds and pull it through quickly. Often it will land on a lily pad. When this happens I pull it off gently and prepare for a strike. A large portion of the Bass I catch when fishing this method attack the spinnerbait while it is dropping in the water not while I am retrieving it.
Submerged weedlines are another great place to hunt for Largemouth Bass, especially during the hotter summer months. I look for two things when fishing these areas, which typically are in about 8 foot deep water.
I like a weedline that has quick access to both shallow and deep water. Largemouth Bass have much more to feed on in shallower water. An area that offers the fish varied opportunities to feed is much more likely to hold Bass than other areas. Remember 95% of the Largemouth Bass are in 5% of the water in a given lake. The most important factor in fishing success is choosing the right location.
The second area I like to fish when fishing a deeper weedline is near a shoreline point. It is always good to fish deeper water near shorelines, but if you are near a point it is even better. When I say a point I am referring to the land on shore extending out into the water. If you looked at it from above it would look like a finger or a large triangle with a rounded point.
My preferred method of fishing these areas is with a crankbait. You must pick a crankbait that cruises at the proper water depth. In this case right above the weeds. A crankbait is hardly weedless, if you choose a deep diver you will constantly be pulling weed of you lure and not have much success for fun. Try different colors and body styles as well.
When the crankbait does not work I next turn to the old reliable jig. You can fish a jig in many ways. You can fish it bare or you can put something on the back of it. I have used live bait, pork rinds, twister tails and plastic skirts on jigs with great results. You can also fish this bait in many different ways. You can retrieve it slow or fast. Or you can simply allow it to hit the bottom and slowly bounce it about. I like to fish in this manner and have found many strikes come as the jig is sinking to the bottom. The freefalling jig with a skirt is often something a Largemouth Bass cannot pass up.