Smallmouth Magazine Volume 2 Issue 4 Cover

Today in Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Number 4 we continue our look back into the only bass magazine dedicated to the smallmouth bass.  By April 1986, Tom Rodgers and company had built a newsletter that had grown from four pages to eight and was pulling in ad revenue to keep the newsletter afloat.  Within the next six months, Smallmouth would transition to a full glossy magazine.

This issue of the newsletter starts out with Billy Westmorland’s feature article, Cranking April Smallmouth.  Billy talks about the transition from the cold winter water to an almost overnight temperature increase due to the warm March rains.  This inundation of warm runoff will take the surface temps from the low 40s to the mid-50s within a few days.

The smallmouth sense the surface water warming and migrate from the depths into the warm water, making them prime targets for anglers throwing a crankbait, and in this case, Westmorland was throwing his favorite crank, the Bassmagnet.

Westmorland’s tips and tricks are pretty standard fair today, nothing a seasoned bass angler wouldn’t know.  But, if you’re new to bass fishing, and especially smallmouth bass fishing, it would pay to read this article.  It’s still accurate.

The following page has a really interesting article on line-class records, world records and the institutions that hold these records.  Written by Frank Brooks, this article takes a deep dive into the differences and discrepancies between the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame (FWFHOF).  This article really hit home with me due to a new podcast I’ve started with my buddy Ken Duke this year, The Big bass Podcast.

Brooks points out how confusing it is between IGFA’s rules and those of the FWFHOF.  When it comes to line-class records, each institution follows a different set of rules.  But this isn’t the only problem.  The line companies were, and still are, much to blame too.

If you’re into chasing record fish and want to understand the rules, I highly recommend reading this article.  Then go to both the IGFA and the FWFHOF sites to determine the differences between the two organizations.

Page 3 has another story on the Mammoth Springs National Fish Hatchery and its battle to remain open.  Mammoth Springs was the leading hatchery for smallmouth bass in the country and again was on the chopping block by the feds.  It and five other hatcheries, all located in the southeastern part of the states, were scheduled to be shut down.  There is no reason given for the prescribed closures, but Rodgers gives the names and numbers of the politicians in the affected areas for all Smallmouth readers to call.  This is a page right out of Ray Scott’s book on how to effectively use his readership.

The biggest feature in this issue was found on pages 4 through 6 with The 1986 Smallmouth Report.  Written by Bob Gooch, this article goes in depth regarding smallmouth fisheries in each state and Canada and what the coming year has to offer.  It provides information on new regulations, how the smallmouth is progressing in certain areas, and what new waters have been planted with the bass.  Again, this is a good article to read if you’re interested in the history of smallmouth bass and their spread across North America.

Also on page 6 is a short about Jerry McKinnis and a visit he made to Tom Rodgers’ place in South Carlina.  McKinnis, who was recently placed on Smallmouth Magazine’s list of consultants, stopped by Rodgers’ home to film a segment for his ESPN television show, The Fishing Hole.  There isn’t much to say about the piece other than it provides a great picture of a young McKinnis and Rodgers.  By 1986 McKinnis had been involved with bass fishing one way or another for nearly 20 years.

We touched on wildlife artist Al Agnew in the last installment of Smallmouth Magazine and on page 7 of this issue, Smallmouth gives a little more information on this prize winning artist and smallmouth angler.  First off there’s a great image of Al sitting in a canoe holding a stringer of nice smallies.  The short piece then goes into some of Agnew’s smallmouth forays.

Also on page 7 are a couple other shorts talking about the Arkansas Master Angling Program and how to pick a graphite rod.  The rod piece is really telling of the market back in the late 70s and early 1980s.  Back then companies were marketing rods as graphite that had little graphite in them.  Also, the movement among anglers was that a rod made with nearly 100-percent graphite would outshine a rod made with a lesser amount of the space-age fiber or none at all.  Funny how that axiom has changed over the years.

The final page of the issue, page 8, had letters to the editor and a list of the Smallmouth advertisers/sponsors.

That brings us to the conclusion of this issue of Smallmouth Magazine.  We’ll be back shortly with another issue to share.  In the meantime, if you’d like to read the entire issue, please check out the gallery below.  Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the pages.


Gallery – Smallmouth Magazine Volume 2 Number 4