Today in Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Number 6, we continue our look back into the only magazine ever published that was dedicated to Them Ol’ Brown Fish. This issue of the magazine came out in June 1986 and was six pages in length.
Billy Westmorland, the smallmouth master himself, wrote the feature that covered the cover of this issue. The article was about fishing June smallmouths at night. Westmorland says that the typical late May and June periods of the year scatter the smallmouths from the shallow spawning areas as they begin their migration back into the deeper water hideouts. The water isn’t warm enough at this point to push them deep, but they know that the hotter days will soon come and therefore, they position themselves accordingly.
This time of year, the fish are spread out all over the water column. This is one reason that Westmorland stresses that he does not fish parallel depth zones at this time. He’ll cast from deep water to the shoreline and work his bait back to the boat from shallow to deep.
Westmorland’s top two baits for this time of year are the short-arm spinnerbait and the Jig-n-Rind. But he also says that he’s had luck on a buzzbait, crankbait, as well as a crankbait. The angler just had to move through the options until the right one was found.
Page 2 of the magazine had a short piece on the South Carolina smallmouth situation and the recent donation of $2,500 from Jerry Rhyne’s Hungry Fisherman bass circuit to purchase and stock 6,000 sub-adult smallies into Lake Keowee. I’m not sure how this panned out over time as I hear Keowee has more Kentucky spotted bass in it than any other species of black bass. Recent reports from the lake barely mention the smallmouth.
There was another short article published about Butte Lake in northern California. Although the lake was misspelled in the article, they stated that several smallmouth in the 2- to 7-pound class had recently been caught out of the lake and that divers had recently seen fish that would challenge the California state records of 9-pounds, 1-ounce. I wonder if this lake is still producing smallies of this caliber and it has just fallen off the radar.
Next Smallmouth Magazine’s Tom Zenanko talks about new fishing gadgets on page 3. The article isn’t a review on new gadgets but a piece written to remind anglers that most of these new gadgets are designed to catch fisherman. Zenanko points out that the most important thing in bass fishing is finding the fish and then putting them in the boat. Not that a new technique, lure or piece of boating equipment won’t help, just be wary of these new products and how exactly they will help add fish to your livewell.
On Pages 4 and 5, was an article penned by Dave Stewart on western Canada smallmouth bass. In this article Stewart mentions the first smallmouth he caught in the Okanagan River in British Columbia. Evidently the smallmouth were not supposed to be in that part of the country and he, along with some biologists, was trying to figure out how they got there.
Stewart goes on to discuss how his discovery provided another opportunity for his fishing exploits as well as how healthy the fishery was. He also mentions the bad rap the smallmouth had received from the Canadian authorities and how he wished they’d change their tune. It’s an interesting historical look at the migration of the black bass across North America.
The rest of page 5 offered two pieces featuring the new Smallmouth hat and sponsor news about, Keeper Bait Company, makers of Fish Formula, and Kunnan Rods. Regrading the hat, I was surprised at its price in 1986, $9.95. That seems steep for the day.
The Keeper Bait Company was offering their new Formula Buddy Holder, an accessory that would hold three bottles of Fish Formula as well as pliers and baits. I had one of these in the boat, and it worked great. Tools and scent were at your fingertips. The only drawback to this was during many days on the water in the summer, the heat and UV rays tended to decay the scent as well as make the scent leak out of the spray nozzle. After a summer, you’d have stains all over the carpet.
The final page of the newsletter revealed a new sponsor, Johnson Fishing Inc., today known as Johnson Outdoors. Then as a teaser for the next issue, they showed a picture of a supposed 10-pound, 8-ounc smallie recently caught out of Dale Hollow. We’ll have to wait until the next issue to see the story behind that fish.
To read the entire newsletter, please look at the gallery below. Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the pages.