One thing that I have learned since moving here to the Chicago area a few short months ago is that Northern Smallmouth are much like their Southern Largemouth cousins, in that they LOVE baits that stand up off of the lake floor. One of my all time favorite baits for Pitching and Dragging for Bass is The "Shaky Foot" by OMEGA Custom Tackle. I have fished this bait all over the country for Largemouth, Smallmouth, as well as Spotted Bass and they just can't seem to help themselves when The "Shaky Foot" is in the area. Da' Foot as it is nicknamed has gained a huge following in recent years due to it's ability to produce fish even under the toughest of conditions.
The triggering qualities of this bait are second to none & there are a plethora of baits that can be used on back of this stand up Football Shaky Head bait. My personal favorites are the standard Gary Yamamoto 5" Senko for Largemouth as well as the Yamamoto Pro Senko for Smallmouth & Spotted Bass. Both in color #297. If you play with this bait in clear water you will soon find out why it is so tantalizing and irresistible to fish! One of my favorite techniques is to drag the bait, but once the bait is in the "Sweet spot" or "Strike zone" I will shake the bait on slack line without moving the bait forward. This gives the Senko a seductive tail movement that drives Bass "Out of their minds!"
Another killer technique to be utilized with "Da Foot" and Yamamoto Senko is skipping docks. When fish are relating to docks or the shade around the docks this combination can be skipped with bait casting equipment 25-30 feet into the darkest recesses of the dock where leery fish are holding. For this application I like 20 pound Seaguar Inviz-X spooled onto a Dawia Zilion reel attached to a 7' Heavy action Team Daiwa Zillion Rod. This is the best combination of tackle that I have found for skipping baits way up under the docks and horsing them out! Once you put the bait where it needs to be you want it to fall on slack line so the bait stays in the strike zone longer and also the bait will spiral down like a tube on a light jig head. You will get a lot of bites as the bait is falling so keep an eye on your line. This is a great presentation to use when fishing behind other anglers or for heavily pressured fish.
Da Foot is a very versatile bait no matter what part of the country you are fishing or what species of Bass you are pursuing as well. It has always been a bait that I have tied on 12 months a year and wasn't sure how the Giant Northern Smallmouth would like it but like they say "the proof is in the pudding!"
You can find the Shaky Foot here.