Trip Report Local Smallies

dflett68

Active Member
WFF Supporter
i inherited a new-to-me pontoon over the winter thanks to the generosity of @SaltyCutt and some lucky timing. i've never used one previously, and while i live in lake stevens i've also never fished the lake. a trial run for both felt like a good plan for my first outing of 2020, which was last friday. i've caught only a small handful of smallmouth in my life, but that's what i was targeting. most of the time when i fish for bass it is lmb and i want fish for the tank at home, so 6-8 inches is what i'm after but i've caught a handful of big ones too and while i think they're beautiful and fascinating as predators, they don't overly impress as fighters - most of the time. their will to kill seems much stronger than their will to live. not so with the smallies i hooked friday. jeez. it was a handful to keep them out of structure in the first few seconds of the fight, and then they alternately jumped with headshakes or bulldogged hard. i think i hooked 7 in all, and landed two. most of the fish i lost were similar in size to the larger of the two pictured fish, which I'm guessing was ~18"-19". i was miffed by how hard it was to keep them buttoned in spite of feeling like i was doing the right things, but super impressed by these fish. the boat was a joy to use after a lifetime of float tubes, so thanks again @SaltyCutt !

bigsmallie.jpg smallie.jpg
 

SquatchinSince86

Totally Unprofessional
Very nice! Yes they fight like mad and will keep biting your thumb when it comes time to release. I haven't seriously targeted smallmouth in a while. I should fix that.

Those are some chunky fish. Where is local for you again? Asking for a friend. :cool:
 

SaltyCutt

Beach Bum
WFF Supporter
i inherited a new-to-me pontoon over the winter thanks to the generosity of @SaltyCutt and some lucky timing. i've never used one previously, and while i live in lake stevens i've also never fished the lake. a trial run for both felt like a good plan for my first outing of 2020, which was last friday. i've caught only a small handful of smallmouth in my life, but that's what i was targeting. most of the time when i fish for bass it is lmb and i want fish for the tank at home, so 6-8 inches is what i'm after but i've caught a handful of big ones too and while i think they're beautiful and fascinating as predators, they don't overly impress as fighters - most of the time. their will to kill seems much stronger than their will to live. not so with the smallies i hooked friday. jeez. it was a handful to keep them out of structure in the first few seconds of the fight, and then they alternately jumped with headshakes or bulldogged hard. i think i hooked 7 in all, and landed two. most of the fish i lost were similar in size to the larger of the two pictured fish, which I'm guessing was ~18"-19". i was miffed by how hard it was to keep them buttoned in spite of feeling like i was doing the right things, but super impressed by these fish. the boat was a joy to use after a lifetime of float tubes, so thanks again @SaltyCutt !

View attachment 239748 View attachment 239749
Awesome man! Glad you're getting some use out of the boat! Great smallmouth
 

tkww

Member
i've caught only a small handful of smallmouth in my life, but that's what i was targeting. most of the time when i fish for bass it is lmb and i want fish for the tank at home, so 6-8 inches is what i'm after but i've caught a handful of big ones too and while i think they're beautiful and fascinating as predators, they don't overly impress as fighters - most of the time. their will to kill seems much stronger than their will to live.
I'm not as enthused about LMB as I am about SMB for exactly this.

not so with the smallies i hooked friday. jeez. it was a handful to keep them out of structure in the first few seconds of the fight, and then they alternately jumped with headshakes or bulldogged hard. i think i hooked 7 in all, and landed two.
Make sure you're strip setting, and hard, particularly with a larger-wire hook. Trout setting will get you partial penetration that will often come loose in the fight. I have a friend who has a difficult time with the concept and I can't tell you how many fish I've seen him loose mid-fight. (And yes, often time the biggest ones.)
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I'm not as enthused about LMB as I am about SMB for exactly this.



Make sure you're strip setting, and hard, particularly with a larger-wire hook. Trout setting will get you partial penetration that will often come loose in the fight. I have a friend who has a difficult time with the concept and I can't tell you how many fish I've seen him loose mid-fight. (And yes, often time the biggest ones.)

I love fishing largemouth but in general smallies are better fly rod game, but only generally :) Billy would disagree, he proves his point often
 

rawalker

Active Member
Before moving to WA a year and a half ago, I lived in Michigan, land of many fabled trout streams. Those were all well north of me, 2 - 3 hours drive at least. The last few years there I fished a river an hour away, less if I left from work. No trout, just smallies. I usually had the river to myself, even on holiday weekends. Inch for inch, they out fought any trout. Parts of the river bottom was sand/gravel, parts were slippery softball sized rocks. A few deeper holes, long flat stretches and the smallies were scattered everywhere. Had to keep an eye on the river guage; anything over 3.5' was pretty tough wading. Just checked and with all the rain they got, it was up to almost 9'! That will surely change some of the bottom. From opening day through the summer, it was simply the best fishing ever.
This opening day (this Saturday) will be pretty bad.
Thanks for prompting some great memories!
 

dflett68

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Make sure you're strip setting, and hard, particularly with a larger-wire hook. Trout setting will get you partial penetration that will often come loose in the fight. I have a friend who has a difficult time with the concept and I can't tell you how many fish I've seen him loose mid-fight. (And yes, often time the biggest ones.)
i'll remember this, thanks!
 

jersey

livin' the dream
Nice fish @dflett68 ! Don’t be anxious about hitting em hard with a strip set mid fight too. Yes, it does not seem right, but it will keep em buttoned-up.
 

Sir Angler II

The Salmon Slayer
Love those little buggers. I hooked one that was about 6 inches and the lil dick practically doubled my 6 wt over. And they make a killer fish n chips too!
 

ThinGreenLine

Active Member
I have found that it takes a lot more then just a raised rod like you were hooking a trout. It almost takes a double haul motion to set the hook in the jaw of those buggers and maybe a couple of times for good measure.
 

Peach

Peach
Wow - just learned alot on smallie hook setting. I am just getting started targeting Small Mouth bass and I was loosing a lot of fish Mid-Fight - looks like I need to set the hook a bit harder than I typically do for trout.
 

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