Smallmouth newsletter, Volume 1 Issue 1, January 1985. Courtesy of Mark Blahut.

Back in December, Pete authored a piece on Smallmouth magazine, a publication dedicated to the smallmouth angler.  That issue was from March/April 1990, three years after the magazine went from a newsletter to a full-color glossy-print publication in 1987.

In that piece, Pete gave a pretty good background of the magazine, organization, and the founder Tom Rodgers. He also asked that if any of our readers had more information on the magazine to please write in.

Well, Pete’s call was answered by one of our readers by the name of Mark Blahut.

Mark contacted us and since then has sent in his entire set of Smallmouth newsletters from the inaugural issue printed in January 1985 through the last issue printed in December 1986. After this, the magazine went full glossy.

These issues are extremely hard to find and offer great insight into the organization along with a ton of fishing articles penned by the smallmouth legends of the day.

For this first installment we’re going to share with you all the letter of introduction Mark received with his subscription and the first issue of Smallmouth, Volume 1, Issue 1. On the first page of the foldout, there are two articles, one penned by Rogers and the second penned by Billy Westmorland. Rogers’ piece is a story about his first smallmouth, how it changed his life and how it got him to start Smallmouth. Westmorland, on the other hand, describes what to look forward to in the coming issues.

The next page continues with Westmorland’s article and at the bottom lists the contributors to the magazine. Kind of a mini masthead. The contributors were:

  • Editor/Publisher: Tom Rogers
  • Managing Editor: Jennie Rodgers
  • Research Advisors: John Anderson and Randy Geddings
  • Graphics Director: Duncan Grant
  • Business Advisor: David Barnes
  • Chief Consultant: Billy Westmorland
Welcome Letter from Tom Rodgers to new subscribers of Smallmouth. Courtesy of Mark Blahut.

Page three of the newsletter has an article about smallmouth in South Carolina, penned by Mike Creel. It’s an article about how South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department were working to bring sustainable smallmouth fisheries to the state. It’s an interesting article how they were conducting the experiment, but I have little to no experience fishing in South Carolina to even touch on whether this 1980 experiment produced the results they were hoping for. Maybe one of you readers out there can answer that question.

The last page of the newsletter is an article written by Peter Kaminsky on the history of the smallmouth. The article has a lot of good historical information and even a quote from Dr. James A. Henshall’s book, Book of the Black Bass. Then he goes into the lifecycle of the smallmouth, which gets a bit corny, if you want my opinion.

Most of these issues are only four pages in length but they feature some great old smallmouth celebrities as well as the state-of-the-art methods in which to catch them from the mid-1980s.

We hope you enjoy.