"Get the camera!" I yelled to Lisa, who was happily dealing with her own fish. My reel had stopped screaming for a second and I won back some line, cursing the 5x leader I somehow thought was a smart thing to use for Smallmouth. These aren't Rainbows... and the fish on the end of my line was showing no signs of tiring. Another scream of the reel, some thunderous head shakes and then a brief pause during which I tried again to get as much line back as I could. Reel reel reel reel pop. Not even a loud pop.. Almost as if the fish decided that it had had enough of these high jinks and just let go. My fly, a small wooly bugger, came back to me unharmed and I could suddenly hear my hair growing.
I bet I'll make it down there tomorrow. Heck, I might be down there all week. It just goes to show that it's losing the big ones that will keep you coming back with a passion. After a mediocre fishing summer during which I hardly experienced anything noteworthy that made me want to write, I've had a grand end of August and beginning of September. I mostly fished Vallecito, but I did get a chance to fish Beaver Lake in Marble. Holy crowded! I finally managed to haggle a canoe and get out on the water where I caught what you'd expect.. freshly stocked slimers. I did catch a nice Cutthroat that was the only hefty fish of the day. But... that's an entirely different story. Back to these Smallies.. They're biting at Vallecito. I'm becoming a big fan of these fish, they fight incredibly hard, they are extremely resilient and, at least in that lake, they taste delicious.
The limit on Smallmouth is 5 a day, and fish in the 8-12" range have nice fillets on them. Throw back the big mamas so they can lay their eggs. Smallies were illegally introduced into this body of water in 1970. Because they're inactive when the gill netting is done, there really isn't accurate data on how many there are. They like jigs, fished low and slow, and they like various crank baits as well. If I remember correctly from last year, they really stop biting around the first of October, so get on out there! Try Smallmouth in a fish n chips application, it's delicious!