Carrying on with Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 6, published in June, 1985. Just like the May issue, this one has a bonus insert of two pages, which might suggest that subscriptions and advertisers were starting to grow.
The newsletter starts off with Billy Westmorland continuing his tips on smallmouth tackle. In the previous issue he talked about lure size and that it always should be small. In this issue he helps the angler choose the right rod, reel, and line to throw the small baits.
In the last piece I did on Smallmouth, I wondered out loud what Mr. Westmorland would think about today’s trophy smallmouth angler and the introduction of big baits. Westmorland espoused the use of 1/8-ounce jigs, small cranks etc. and he made them work. He had two smallmouth over ten pounds, probably the only person in the world who can claim that, so his methods definitely worked well.
I wonder if he ever thought that trophy smallmouths would chase down gizzard shad or anything of that size? Out in California there are two reservoirs that harbor Kokanee salmon and that is the predominant food source for the giant smallmouths that live in those waters. Same with Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho. Swimbaits are the norm for all those bodies of water if you want a truly giant smallmouth.
Anyway, back to the newsletter.
Next to Westmorland’s tips, Brook Elliott provided a short piece about Michigan float trips offered by guide Grant Schliewe. The trips concentrated on small waters and ultralight gear. The price of the 8-hour float trips, $125, really hammers home that this was from 1985.
The second page of the newsletter, Tom Zenanko has a piece on topwater fishing for smallies. Take a look at the baits he recommends. Again, like Westmorland, they’re all small. After living in smallmouth country for 20 years, the topwater bait I always had tied on was a Heddon Super Spook in bone or Okie Shad. I don’t know what they like about those colors but they eat them. Zenanko’s 1985 suggestion, a Creek Chub Mouse or Rapala.
Also on the second page is a report for the new Virginia smallmouth record – an 8-pound 9-ounce bruiser caught from the Powell River. Unfortunately the fish wasn’t recognized as the state record due to the fact the angler, Jim Mullins, didn’t have a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist notified.
Page three has a column on a nighttime light system developed by MFG Corporation called Bassin’ Buddies. Again, this really takes you back as most anglers fishing at night today no longer use lights of any kind.
The second topic on the third page deals with acid rain, something we don’t hear about much anymore with the Clean Air Act and today’s pollution abatement. But Acid rain was a big deal back in the 1960s through the 1980s. Acid rain is the byproduct of burning high sulfur-containing fuels in cars, generators, or power plants. The emissions release sulfur dioxide into the air that reacts with moisture, creating sulfuric acid. Then when it rains, the rain becomes acidic and falls to the ground, hurting the environment.
This was a big deal back in the day and because of people like Ray Scott and the folks at Smallmouth, the Clean Air Act and other regulations have made acid rain essentially non-existent. The problem now, especially with power generation in the U.S., is the emissions regulations have gotten so low, below detection limits in many cases, that power companies are having a difficult time meeting the emissions requirements. Too much of a good thing is also bad.
Page four has a short article by Tom Luba on fishing smallies in small streams – a lot of good info for being such a short article – and there’s also another short column on the new Illinois state record smallie – a 6-pound 7-ounce fish caught from a strip mine pit. This record still stands today.
The newsletter ends with a two-page bonus section on Virginia’s smallmouth water, written by Bill Cochran. It’s a great article giving credit to the smallmouth waters of Virginia. The article starts out talking mostly about the James River and its record-class fish. It then goes into the tactics and tackle recommended. I wonder if the smallie fishing there is still as good as it was back in the 1980s. For all I know, it could be better.
You can view the entire newsletter below in the gallery. To read it, click on the first page and scroll through the pages.
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