Bass fishing is not only about rods, reels, lures, boats, and motors. When you hit the water in a tournament or just to fun fish, the most important piece of equipment you can bring is your concentration. The power of your concentration is a huge part of competitive bass fishing. You have to be ready mentally for anything that can happen during the day, such as how and where a bass bites. This will lead you to the next fish of the day and the rest of your limit. You must also be able to recognize when you have to make changes if you are not catching fish. Some of the changes you need to make maybe very small and you need to have your concentration at peak performance to pick up on these subtleties. This brings the other part of the mental game in bass fishing and that is confidence.
Spinnerbaits and smallmouth bass go hand in hand, there is nothing like burning a spinnerbait just under the water and a 4-pound smallmouth coming up and crushing it. Burning spinnerbaits is a great technique on lake Erie smallmouth. Speed is the key to catching big smallmouth, you can't reel a spinnerbait to fast for a smallmouth to chase it down and eat it. You have to reel pretty fast so the bass does not get a real good look at it. I also think it is the speed that makes the smallmouth want to chase it and take the lure. With this technique you can fish it in 5 foot of water or 15 foot of water.
Once while fishing in a bass tournament, I got in a hurry to retie a Texas rigged plastic worm. I inadvertently put the sinker on backward. I decided to try it anyway and the reversed sinker technique has since put a lot fish in my boat. With the sinker facing the wrong way I found I could cast over a fallen tree branch and ease the bait up to the limb. When the cup of the sinker hits the limb, it stops the forward progress of the bait, instead of simply sliding over and falling lifelessly to the bottom. With the sinker nudged tight against the limb, the worm rises upward making for an easy target for the bass. With subtle pulls and releases, I have found I can work a worm forever in one spot. This is a great technique for cold front bass or lure weary bass. With that bait staring them right in the eye for long periods, the bass simply have to strike.
If you look at a piece of structure as a small community instead of just a piece of cover, your approach and presentation will change drastically. Take a small patch of pads isolated against a nothing bank. It will be the centerpoint of movement for any fish living on that bank. Fish up the bank to the lilies, but before you cast to the bed think about what the best spot in that cover would be. If you can find a lane that you can bring a bait through near the center of the bed that’s good. If you can find the lane that will allow you to present your offering closest to the shady side of center that’s even better.