Smallmouth Magazine Vol 2 No 7 Page 1

Today in Smallmouth Magazine Volume 2 Number 7 we continue our look back into the only periodical ever published that was solely dedicated to the smallmouth bass.  This issue was published in July 1986 and was eight pages in length.

Still not considered a true magazine, the atmosphere at Smallmouth was changing with new sponsors climbing aboard along with industry support.  Within six months, the newsletter would become a full-fledged glossy magazine.

Looking at the masthead on the inside cover, you saw a growing list of advisors, columnists, and consultants.  What had started just a little over a year before was growing and the staff was a list of heavy hitters in the smallmouth world.  Billy Westmorland, Jerry McKinnis, Frank Brooks, Tom Zenanko, and, of course, Tom Rodgers all played a big role in he makeup of the rag.

The magazine started out with a destination piece about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, specifically an area called the Sylvania Recreation Area.  Three dozen lakes carpet the area and back when this was written, the area was very primitive and motorized boats were only allowed in two of the lakes.  This was a destination place for those who were willing to portage boats from lake to lake.  But, according to the article, it was well worth the effort.

The second article was about New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee.  Written by Tom Rodgers, the article featured Billy Westmorland as he was filming his show, The Fishing Diary.  The theme of the show, topwater smallies.  I have a friend that lives on the lake in the summer and from him have heard a lot about the bass fishing on Winnipesaukee, and all of it has been phenomenal.  But reading this piece whet my appetite to go there even more.

Next in line was a river smallmouth article penned by Tom Zenanko.  This is the type of article that you’d only find in a magazine dedicated to smallmouth.  This summer-time article was designed to teach the would be river rat the techniques and tactics for catching river smallies in the hot summer months when the fishing wasn’t off the charts.

Although the image featured in the article showed a fly rod, the article wasn’t about fly fishing.  Zenanko goes into detail what type of lures to use for this time of year as well as what type of water to concentrate on for bigger fish.

Following Zenanko’s piece on fishing smaller rivers was Frank Brooks’ piece on fishing bigger rivers, specifically the Tennessee.  Brooks was a recent addition to the Smallmouth staff and of late has become a friend of us here at the Bass Fishing Archives.  In fact, Frank has loaned us all of his back issues of the glossy magazine for us to scan and share with you.

But let’s get back to his article on the Tennessee River.

Brooks wrote about the smallie fishing below Wheeler Dam and about an angler by the name of Jim Rivers.  Rivers was not only a known terror in the eyes of smallmouths but also tied one of the most productive jigs for the brown fish.  In this article Brooks gives examples of huge bass taken during the era, fish pushing the 8-pound mark.

The final article in the newsletter is another story about a big smallmouth, this time one that weighed more than 10 pounds.  As with many record-class fish, this one comes with a story, and the story never ends well.

This story starts on Aril 14, 1986 with an angler by the name of Paul Beal catching a smallmouth of giant proportions.  The fish was placed on a stringer and drug around the lake for four hours before it was brought into the Hendricks Creek Marina on Dale Hollow Lake.

The fish at that time was destined to be dinner, but the owner of the marina evidently talked the angler into donating the fish to be mounted.  The fish was weighed and came in at 8-pounds, 12-ounces and had a length of 26 1/2 inches and a girth of 21 inches.  The fish was then sent to Brown’s Taxidermy in Kentucky.

Here is the image of the giant smallmouth caught out of Dale Hollow Lake on April 14, 1986 by Paul Beal. The fish weighed 10-pounds, 8-ounces after being in the freezer for 24 days.

Twenty-four days later, the taxidermist pulled the fish out of the freezer, took some measurements, and realized he had a much bigger fish on his hands than an 8-pounder.  He took the fish and had it weighed on two different meat scales and the fish topped out at over 10-pounds, 8-ounces.

Evidently the scale on the dock was nowhere near accurate.

It’s hard to believe this fish could have challenged David Hayes’ world record of 11-pounds, 15-ounces but it might have been close.  The taxidermist estimates the fish could have lost as much as a pint of water weight over the course of the 24 days after it was caught.  One pint of water is equal in mass to roughly a pound of weight, so it could have been close.

What we’re left with again is another mythical story of the record that got away.  At least with this one we have a pretty good picture of the fish.

The final page of the newsletter leaves us with some letters to the editor and more sponsor news.  In all another great issue of Smallmouth and a look back into our history.

For the complete issue, please see the gallery below.  Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the newsletter.

Gallery – Smallmouth Magazine Volume 2 Number 7