Skip to main content

Stubborn Smallmouth

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.




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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

In-Fisherman Classics: Bluegill Basics

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

In-Fisherman Classics: European Speed Fishing for Panfish

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

In-Fisherman Classics: Location Secrets for Fall Crappies

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

In-Fisherman Classics: Take a Kid Fishing

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

In-Fisherman Classics: Classic Crappie Presentations

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Learn

In-Fisherman Classics: Fall Panfish Patterns

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Learn

In-Fisherman Classic: Summertime Bluegills

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Learn

Angler and Rescuers Reunite After One-In-A-Million Offshore Epic

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

World-Class Channel Cats below the Selkirk Dam in Manitoba with Blackwater Cats

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Learn

Controlled Drifting for GIANT Blue Cats with Phil King

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Learn

3 SIMPLE and EASY Catfish Rigging Tips with Captain Ross Robertson

Check out this classic catfish video from the early days of In-Fisherman! Watch Al Lindner, Ottis
Destinations

CATFISH FEVER!

In-Fisherman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now

Never Miss a Thing.

Get the Newsletter

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

By signing up, I acknowledge that my email address is valid, and have read and accept the Terms of Use