Today in Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 2 from February, 1986, we continue to look back at the only smallmouth-centric magazine ever published. This issue was the first issue where Billy Westmorland hadn’t penned an article for the newsletter, now in its sophomore year. In fact, the newsletter only had three feature articles in it; one from Harry n Charlie legend, Don Wirth, a second from columnist Frank Brooks and a third by Greg Matthews, a Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine reprint.
The Wirth article, a piece on where to go for trophy smallmouths, covered what was described as Smallmouth’s Top 3 waters to catch a trophy smallie. After reading the article, I think it was more like Wirth’s Top 3.
The reason I say this is the Top 3 consisted solely of Tennessee waters that were producing smallies in the mystical 5-pound range – equivalent to the 10-pound mark for largemouth. Those reservoirs were Dale Hollow, Percy Priest and Woods Reservoir. Back then these waters were hard to beat – today you rarely hear of them producing big fish.
But my question is, were these the only lakes producing trophy smallies at the time. The answer to that is no. Evidence of this was shown in the first issue of the 1986 volume where Lakes Shasta and Trinity were featured. Then in this issue, a number of lakes were mentioned that had produced recent world records. Wirth’s article was good, I just think he could have expanded his aperture outside of Tennessee.
On page 2, Tom Rodgers continued supporting environmental concerns in 1986 by reprinting an article written by Greg Matthews for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This article brought to light the pesticide and soil erosion problems in the upper Midwest – namely the Coulee Region. Up through the mid-60s, the Coulee Region had some of the best smallmouth fishing in the U.S.
From the late 1960s on, the smallmouth population had dwindled so much that the fishery really didn’t exist. The article talks about how the Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin fisheries biologists would come together to prove what was causing the fish kills and the decreased populations.
The number-one concern was point-source pollution of the streams and rivers in the area, namely from manure factories, and pesticides. Soil erosion was also a major concern.
The final article in the newsletter was a piece written by Frank Brooks on world record smallmouths. Unlike most articles of this type, Brooks concentrated on how the average angler, or angler who didn’t live near a record-class body of water, could catch a world record. He talks about line-class records, both the IGFA and Freshwater Fishing Hal of Fame, and how to care for and submit a fish for record consideration.
The rest of the newsletter contained the standard advertising, letters to the editor and the masthead – which I found a bit interesting in that Jerry McKinnis was listed as a chief consultant. I went back a few issues in order to see when that had taken place and evidently McKinnis had taken this position in the November, 1985 issue.
The entire newsletter is featured below. Remember to click on the first images in order to scroll through the entire issue.