As we began to discuss above smallmouth bass tend to be more of a roaming species of bass. Smallmouth bass are often found in large schools, kinda similar to Striped Bass. One interesting fact is that the schools tend to all school in like sizes. If you find a school of 1.5 lb fish, then most of the time the rest of the fish are the same size. On the contrary, if you find a school of 4 pounders you are in for a fun time and sore arms.
Finding smallmouth on flats
Places to start targeting smallmouth bass are large flats in a lake or river, then find the point or dropoff that has the steepest exist to deeper water. This edge will congregate the baitfish, crayfish and hence the smallmouth as well.
If you can find a flat or bar with some current, whether that be from a river or the wind it can make the flat even that much better. Now when you are fishing the flat do not be alarmed if there isn't a bunch of cover. I have found more smallmouth just cruising seemingly barren flats.
If the body of water you are fishing is a natural lake simply look for the mouths of rivers. These areas tend to have a delta of silt and sand, and can be magnets for baitfish and smallmouth.
Topwater lures, tube baits and even a Carolina rig can be very effective at cover the water till you locate the mother load.
Locating smallmouth on rocks and boulders
Early in the spring of the year and in many southern reservoirs you can target smallmouth bass on rip rap banks. Rip rap banks that are located around a bridge often times have current pushing thru and can act like a magnet for all sized smallmouth. Baits that tend to shine are crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Simply parallel the bank and retrieve your lure for maximum effectiveness.
The holy-grail of smallmouth fishing can sometimes be found way off the bank on isolated boulders. These boulders sometimes do not hold massive schools of fish, but they do have some of the largest smallmouth in a lake. To locate these types of structure a sonar and even a side-finder graph can be used.
After you locate an isolated boulder make sure you drop a way-point on the spot and continue to ideal the area to see if that boulder is the only one. If you can not find another boulder come back to the GPS waypoint and hold on!
The best baits for smallmouth on isolated boulders hands down is the drop shot rig. You can either cast to the boulder or if the water is deeper than 15 feet or so you can fish it vertically. The benefit to fishing the drop shot vertically is that you can watch for fish on your fish finder.