Stubborn Smallmouth


Tell me if this ever happens to you:

After catching nothing for an hour, I picked up a rod loaded with an XCalibur Xz2 Zell Pop. I rifled it out there on 8-pound braid and a 10-pound mono leader. I waited 10 seconds after it splashed down, popped it, and a nice bronzeback engulfed it in a silken, inky boil. First cast, first pop.


Not another bass would touch a topwater of any kind for the next couple hours. Duzat ever happen to you? Happens to me all the time. It's like the first big smallmouth of the night just falls on the grenade and bites something none of the others want to bite at all. Sometimes it's a soft plastic, sometimes a jig, a suspending bait, a crank — doesn't matter. If I had a couple bucks every time a suicidal smallmouth attacked my first cast with something, resulting in a total blank with that something for the rest of the day, well...I'd have a jet boat parked on every big steelhead river in Michigan.


But that's like Bill Cosby asking, "Why Is There Air?" Smallmouths are, as Sylvester might say, "inexsssssplicable."

After being spanked by the smallmouths on our recent camping trip, Mary and I needed revenge. We needed to feel something  on the other end of those smallie rods, tugging back. We needed some action.

Our local waters feign at rejection from time-to-time, but they always relent in the end. Even on cold-front days, we seem to manage a few big smallmouths every time out on the waters of north-central Minnesota. With about an hour left in the day, we happened across a particular stretch on a particularly large structure  that held some smallies you could saddle. Crankbaits? Nope. Spinnerbaits? Nada. Rattle baits? Zero. Swimming plastics? Blanked. (!!!!) Drop-shots? Ditto. (Now you trippin', son. Say what?) We went through the box.

Wacky rigs under bobbers with Yum Dingers. I try and I try. And it. Just. Keeps. Pulling me back. In. Spock.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.