A Review of "Smallmouth Bass Fishing For Everyone" By James Root
After 20 years of smallmouth fishing learning from the greats and on the professional tournament trail James Root takes a year off of everything with the only goal in mind; to try and find the biggest smallmouth in the world. Along his journey James shares a ton of great information on how he targets these fish at different times of the year and in different water bodies. The first few chapters focus on the seasonal movements and some "deviations" from the rules that James has noticed. After this there are chapters on each bait and tactic he uses to target smallies including how, when, where and the setup he finds perfect for it. Multiple chapters discuss each of the major bodies of water James targeted with specific details. One point on seasonal movements was the importance of the first "frost" or cold plunge of fall puts them into a funk. The second means its time to put the feed on. James notes they return to shallow water areas they used in spring after this second cold snap. This is not quite our experience on extremely complex bodies of water like Georgian Bay but they do return to post spawn or early summer shallows along the migratory routes to their wintering spots. On less complex bodies of water these may be the exact same spots.
One myth mentioned in this book is that "soda" will stop fish from bleeding and save its life. This is a myth that has existed in the fishing community for a long time with no scientific backing. In fact, a scientific study was completed by a professor at Carleton University which found the best thing you can do for a fish is to return it to the water. No Fresca, Sprite, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or Gatorade provide any benefits greater to the fish than water. For a deeper explanation on this and the scientific studies surrounding it check out our blog post at the link below
Throughout this book we took down some interesting notes. The first being that smallmouth have reportedly been found to spawn in waters as deep as 50 ft. There is no mention of the timing being different than the normal spawn but at these depths the temperature would be extremely cold until almost mid summer so you would think these fish would spawn much later in the year when temperatures are similar to what we see in the shallows during the spawn. While I'm not sure that targeting these fish would ever be practical it does make you think that it could be beneficial to look for spawning fish in 10, 15, or even 20 ft of water depending on your body of water and if you can't find the big spawners.
Additionally, James notes that he commonly uses dropshots with leader lengths as much as 1 ft for every 10 ft of depth he is fishing. In 30 ft of water that means 3 ft leader length. This is one tip that makes a lot of sense once we hear it but isn't one we likely would have arrived at on our own. Having your bait this far off bottom helps fish see it from a lot farther away which is generally all that is needed to get deep smallmouth to bite.
While we weren't surprised by much in this book we were quite shocked to hear that James doesn't use braided line when fishing a dropshot. He uses straight fluoro. We have experimented with this in the past and while it can be nice, if you don't use the rod often, or change the line frequently enough, it will develop a memory and then lead to tangles and other issues with casting. For people that only get to fish every weekend or every few weekends braided lines help avoid this.
The final interesting note we got from this book was that James noted the best way to catch a giant is to use a swimbait. Not just any swimbait but giant swimbaits; as big as 9". While we typically target smallmouth with 4-6" swimbaits in recent years we have gotten a ton of follows and catches using 7.5" Shadzilla Jrs as well as 10" Shadzillas while targeting pike. If the smallmouth didn't bite they show themselves and flipping a dropshot in front of them almost always resulted in a bite. A pretty cool pattern that others have also noted across North America.
Overall this book is a great read for anglers of all skill levels! If you're a beginner it has all the details needed to understand, set up gear, and get out on the water. If you're more advanced there are some interesting insights from some of the top smallmouth anglers on the planet on how lakes set up and develop as fisheries. We highly recommend you add it to your library if you're looking for some new reads.
If you or someone you know is looking to get into fishing or you just want to become a more successful angler be sure to check out our "Zero To Hero Fishing Masterclass" for courses on everything fishing! The masterclass is built to help you learn how to find and catch fish like the pro's by providing all the information you need and a clear development path! Don't miss out check it out now at www.newwavefishingacademy.com/zero-to-hero
Have you ever wondered why lures don't come with instructions and wanted to know how to fish them? Look no further than our "How To Fish" series where you will learn what each bait is, how to use it, when and where it excels over other baits, our preferred setup to use it on, and the common mistakes anglers make when using it. www.newwavefishingacademy.com/how-to-fish