Smallmouth Magazine Vol I Issue VIII David L. Hayes World Record Smallie.

In August 1985, Tom Rodger’s Smallmouth Newsletter continued as a four-page monthly with Billy Westmorland opening up the issue with some night-time tips on catching smallies in the hottest month of the year. The article itself is short but full of the best information from the time – but some of his suggestions now seem a bit dated.

For example, his comments about spinnerbaits not being a good choice for daytime smallmouth fishing seems a bit crazy. Westmorland, who was a proponent of small lures for smallies, didn’t seem too confident in bigger baits – and who was to argue with Mr. Smallmouth? I just wonder if he’d lived longer whether or not he’d have changed his mind.

Page two of the newsletter opened with a memorial to long-time bass fishing writer Dave Bowring, who had passed. If you read any magazines from the period, you know that Bowring was in the middle of the bass fishing craze from an early time. He participated in the first Bassmaster Classics as part of the press corps and was a contributor in many issues of Bassmaster Magazine. In 1985, when he passed, he was 43 years old. It’s no doubt he would have contributed much more to the sport had he lived a normal lifespan.

Alongside Bowring’s memorial, long-time bass writer Dave Roberts writes an article about his early experiences with fly fishing for smallmouths, adventures that started in the 1920s after he’d moved from the high mountain rivers of Montana to the small Midwest streams of Ohio.  His account of comparing the smallmouth to his more familiar rainbow and cutthroat trout will shed light on how the bass at that time was rising above the almighty trout.

Roberts also talks about his conversations with Dr. James A. Henshall, author of Book of the Black Bass In 1881. Not many anglers in 1985 could lay claim to have talked with Henshall, the grandfather of bass fishing, himself.  This small 200-word column has so much history packed into it I highly recommend you reading it fully.

The next page delves into the topic of world record bass.  For one, Stren was offering a lifetime of line to the angler who would catch any world-record bass.  Not a bad thing if you liked Stren.  Secondly, Bob Gooch gave his method of how he remembers what the world record smallmouth and largemouth weights were.  It’s a decent method for those who have difficulty remembering numbers.

Lastly, the final page covers the Texas smallmouth stocking program and a short on how smallmouth relate to shade.  In the Texas piece, the state record had just been broken with a fish that weighed 6-07 caught by D. J. Edgar at Lake LBJ.  The article states that Texas has great conditions to produce fish of the 8-pound class.  This is an interesting statement and one that has only recently been tested since the onslaught of record-class smallies that came out of O H Ivie in the 2020/21 period. 

What makes O H Ivie such a good lake for producing big fish I haven’t a clue.  In the past I’ve gone on record sating that although Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does an amazing job with their Share Lunker Program, Texas does not have what it takes to produce a world-record largemouth.  I think this is a pretty firm statement since they’ve been trying to break the record for decades now and haven’t broken the 20-pound mark.  But for smallmouth, they might have a shot.

The full newsletter is shown below. Click on the images to read the full issue.