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Twelve Things That Make This Smallmouth Fisherman Smile

John Gillio

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There are certain things that can put a smile on your face while out on a stream or talking fishing. Here are a few things that put one on mine every time.


1. I grew up frishing live baits with my dad. We usually fished with cane poles, sometimes with a spincast rod. What we caught usually came home as a meal. I noticed that many times the fish took the hook

deeply and would have probably died if we were to let them go. Dad told me that fishing with artificials would lead to more lip hooked fish. He set me up with a Hildebrandt flicker lure and told me to put on split shot as needed. My first outing on the river with the lure was with a friend who made fun of the tiny size of my lure. My first cast was to a smallie I saw surfacing below a low hanging branch along the shoreline. This was my first smallie on a lure. Big smallie ( it looked big to me anyway ), big smile. This started my love affair with light rods and artificials.


2. Working hard at learning a new presentation and lure, and finally finding success. Pleasant smile.


3. A personal best. Nice smile.


4. Learning to cast those old fashioned baitcasters without getting a rat's nest every other cast. Smile well earned.


5. First 20 incher. BIG SMILE.


6 Taking a friend to a special spot and putting him on a big one. HUGE SMILE.


7. Introducing a youngster to his first smallie. Smiles all around.


8. Hearing someone say you are the best fisherman they know. Warm fuzzy smile even though you know many fishermen as good and better than yourself.


9.Discussing smallmouth fishing with Dan Gapen and learning that he has fished my beloved home stream. I found that his favorite spot on the river is also mine. He left me with a gift of a few Ugly Bugs and Muddler Minnows for my next visit to the stream. Big smile.


10. Sitting and talking with Larry Dahlberg for about 45 min. in a quiet spot at a fly show, about smallies and steelhead. Huge smile.


11. Catching a big smallie on a flyrod. It was a new experience for me and quite a challenge for a diehard spin fisherman like myself. Huge smile with my first 20 incher on the flyrod.


12. Fishing a pretty little body of running water on a fresh, crisp, sun filled morning. Biggest smile of them all.

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Putting the finish on that last guide knowing the new rod will be ready to fish in the next day or two (smile of accomplishment)


Watching that torpedo bare down on your top water fly from 8 feet away knowing it's about to get smashed ("Oh, this is gonna be great" smile)


Watching him go airborne for the second time and praying that when he lands, that you'll still feel tension on the line (smile of relief)


Having something occur on the water that you know would have brought a smile to your father's face had he still been alive (Biggest smile)

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Fun topic and nice posts. Here are a few of mine...


1. Catching a brute smallie in a downtown area and having a passerby give you a thumbs-up or that "holy shit!" look, as if they had no idea fish like that existed in the river.


2. Catching a big smallmouth that is an absolute perfect specimen and you feel as if you're the first angler to tangle with it in its lifetime.


3. Having a child say, "Look mommy, he's fishing!!!" with absolute joy when you're spotted with rod and reel in hand.


4. When someone asks, "Catch anything?" and you reply, "Yeah, a few smallmouth." and they give you a dissapointed look because all they heard was the word "small."


5. Topwater.


6. When a smallie crushes a spinnerbait so hard it nearly pulls the rod from your hands.


7. High water dabblin' and having a ridiculously easy time plucking smallies from the river.


8. Releasing a smallie and getting a facefull of water as a goodbye.


9. Seeing other smallies trying to get the lure from a hooked smallmouth.


10. Double smallie catches when fishing with a partner, especially when doing a float trip.


11. Any float dunk in cold weather that yields a bronzeback.


12. Getting thanked by your child a half-dozen times on the way home for taking them smallie fishing.

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No particular order:


1. Untouched, prime, flowing water, the fish are biting, your casting is on the money, you spy "the spot" your mind's eye dreams of.


2. Splashdown impact strike from pigasaurus.


3. Formulating a cunning weather reading plan from the seat of a computer desk to catch the smallmouth at the opportune moment for max pigs and numbers. Then it works.


4. Discovering something accidentally while fishing that sets off a lightbulb in your learning curve, leading to even more lightbulbs and smiles.


5. Sharing the wonder with someone who 'gets' it.


6. A new stretch of killer water. That first time on a great stretch.


7. Unexpected pigs.


8. 2 bass- one lure, or two on one line.


9. Watching a friend catch a fishing lure on his lure, then catching a pig on found lure.


10. Perfect moments. Whatever their source.


11. New experiences. Doing something I haven't done, or rarely done while fishing.


12. The moment when year around careful documenting of catch shows me something I didn't know.

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