As fisherman we all know, or have heard of, the term “search bait”. Most lures in your box can be catagorized as search baits in the right condition, but you have to be aware of when and how to apply the tool. Traditional search baits, such as spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits are not only primary weapons, but also can be used to determine bottom contour, find fish, and determine where you should be and what you should be doing to catch the fish. This time of year in clear water Smallmouth Bass conditions, I like to use a Shad Bait to search. When the sun is out and the wind is down, it’s most likely that the spooky bass will not aggresively hit a faster moving bait. A Shad Bait, such as the Jackall Soul Shad 68SP, can be used to probe the waters, find the right bottom hardness, and tell you where the fish are at. Now that the Smallmouth are spawing on the great lakes, I like to cast the Soul Shad on spinning tackle, run it down in about 4 to 6 feet of water to feel the bottom and find the beds. The smallmouth will hit the bait on the pause, but most of the time you have a follow in, short strike, or you actually see the bass turn on the bait without hitting it. At this point, I pick up a spinning rod with a light tube, small jig, fluke, etc., to give the bass a slow vertical presentation… and that’s when they eat it! Time on the water is limited for all of us and one of the main keys to success is eliminating dead zones. Cover water with a horizontal presentation to find the key ingredients, and then follow up with a vertical presentation to catch the fish. I like the Jackall Soul Shad 68 SP for the high quality, perfect balance, action, size, and castability in this situation… not only is it a perfect search bait in the shallows, but also a great “catching” bait as well when the conditions call for it.

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