After a successful steelhead outting with my buddy Spencer, I hit the same area of the river a few days later after work with my 6 wt Switch rod in hopes of finding fish that hadn't left yet. I was out of luck and spotted no fish....it seems as though we hit them just before they left (at least that area of the river). But oh well, I had a few deep pools in mind to fish.
I was running a 400 gr Skagit line on my 11' 6 wt Switch rod, with about 10' of t11 and 3' of 3X Mirage fluoro tippet. I was swinging mostly buggers to see if I could get a take from a steelie hiding in the depths, but ended up switching to a big Mickey Finn instead.
I waded across the river for a better angle to swing, and was swinging over this big drop off into a huge pool around a giant logjam. I knew there had to be fish in there, but what kind? This time of the year it can be quite a few things, smallie, landlocked, steelhead, pike, big fallfish?
Boy was I in for a treat....second or third swing through the pool, my line goes tight. I gave it a tug thinking it was snagged but what I got back was a HARD pull. I set the hook a second time which was followed by a leap by what I'd like to nickname smallie-zilla, a MONSTER of a smallmouth bass. Easily 7 lbs, and the biggest smallmouth I'd ever seen. It jumped half a dozen times in under 30 seconds and I thought it was a huge brown after the first jump, but the second jump I had realized it was a monster smallie . I don't usually get too excited about smallies, even ones in the 17-20" range, but this thing was in a class of it's own!!
It had inhaled my Mickey Finn at the very end of my swing, right before my retrieval. It was putting my 6 wt to the test, and I was even worried about my 3X tippet.
The fight was relentless, and I've never had a smallie take me into backing - until now. I actually chuckled out loud as my orange dacron zipped through my guides. Man, what fun!!
10 or so minutes had passed, and I had moved about 30 yards away from where I hooked the fish, having been chasing it downstream. I had the fish within rods length and could see my Mickey Finn in the corner of it's freakishly huge mouth, along with a full profile of this thing, up close and personal! My heart was pounding, and just as I reached to my side to pop off my net from my sling pack to net this behemoth (I doubt it would have fit anyway) the fish turned, almost in slow-motion and darted downstream, jumped out of the water, did a backflip of sorts....and my line went slack. UGH...WHY!!??
I'm completely convinced the fish would have went 24" and over 7 lbs. I'd never seen a smallmouth so huge, ever!
I fished the rest of the evening with nothing to show for it. Even without a fish to hand, the evening was well worth it. I got to witness and fight a truly massive smallmouth.
Til next time....