I don't know if they're made anymore but I have one my grandpa had that is probably from the 50's and it's called a sputterfuss....absolutely slays them. Also a devil horse is hard to beat and then there's my favorite...buzzing a spinner bait.
I have found that walk-the-dog style baits are best for smallies. Something about the action that is instinctually coded to smallmouth. Buzzbaits for largemouth. Poppers for both species and a trout or shad surface swimbait, such as a BBZ1 has been deadly the right time of year. Had a field day at Powell on a floating BBZ1 for big largemouth and stripers.
However, my favorite bite is hollow belly frogs in the reeds for largemouth. Even if they miss it can be explosive.
I have an automated frog popper. It has a braided wire string that the line attaches to, and when you pop it, it pulls out the line in the mechanism that activates the legs and causes them to flail like a frog trying to jump or swim in the water.
I used to take a live mouse, hook it through the webbing between the back leg and the body and toss it out there. For artificials though, the Jitterbug and Buzz Bait were always my favorite. The popper worked alright, but generally mostly when the fish were spooked.
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