This is a short article that I wrote for an on-line flyfishing magazine several weeks ago that has since been published , so some of you might have already seen it. If not , read on for a little piece on Spring smallmouth fishing. If you havn't seen it yet the online mag is So Much Water (http://somuchwater.com/) and has some very good reading , if you skip the piece that I submitted that is! Hope you enjoy.....
Can you feel it?? Surely you can , hell I can even smell it these days when I venture out on one of my favorite Ozark creeks for a day of peace and quiet. And no , I'm not talking about the new sewage treatment plant upstream...I'm talking about one of my favorite times of the year , Spring. Robins parading around the yard looking for their next meal in the newly thawed ground , V-shaped formations of snow geese lined up across the horizon as far as the eye can see heading North and even an early green shoot here or there poking it's way up out of the recently lifeless soil searching for those warm rays of sun soon to come. All things I've witnessed in just the past week and all of them a sure sign that spring is just around the corner (how far down the road that corner lies depends greatly on what part of the country you reside in I guess).
It's usually about this time of year , when we get a day or two of Spring-like weather thrown at us after a long winter , that I start thinking seriously about smallmouth fishing. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that I can throw the streamer box and seven weight in the truck and actually go catch smallies this time of year , but every warm day brings it that much closer to reality.
Just three or four years ago I would have been more interested in planning my Spring fishing trips around caddis and mayfly hatches , but since becoming acquainted with some of the bronze bombers residing in a few nearby Ozark streams I've had a definite change of heart.
By the time the trees start showing off a few green buds I've already got the small nymph boxes and 6x tippet spools on the top shelf of the closet , replaced by streamer boxes filled with baitfish patterns and a spool of 10# test. No more finicky streamer trout that always seem more interested in playing with their food than actually eating it.
Give me a fish that targets my streamer like he hasn't had a good meal in two weeks and can't wait to get my concoction of fur and feathers in his mouth.
No more names in latin to describe a bug I couldn't see anyway without a 10x microscope...no more struggling to see the eye on a size #22 midge so you can try and poke a piece of tippet the size of a frog hair through it...and best of all , no more clammy , cold waders to put on and wear every time you hit the water.
Don't get me wrong , I still love my trout fishing. Especially those cold , fishless days spent in a driftboat chucking big streamers for browns. While I realize that you have to be a little deranged to actually enjoy that kind of punishment , what can I say...if the shoe fits , wear it.
As I'm sitting on the tailgate slipping my foot into a wet , half frozen wading boot this time of year I can't help but let my mind wander to a warmer place. A place where shorts and a pair of wading sandals are all you need to be comfortable on the water. A place where you actually need a coozy and a cooler full of ice to keep your beer cold.
That being said , for all of the good things that go along with it , Springtime smallmouth bass fishing can still be tough and isn't necessarily a sure thing in my experiences (fishing and "sure thing" probably shouldn't be used in the same sentence together anyway , unless your skills are much improved over mine). Early Spring fishing always has it's own pitfalls to deal with...high water events , lingering cold-fronts that shut the fish down and last but not least , the part-timers who having just spent all Winter sitting on the couch watching re-runs of American Idol are now ready to get back to communing with nature. Even with these minor nuisances to contend with the mere thought of Springtime smallmouth fishing brings a big smile to my face.
As good as all of that sounds , I suppose I still have to deal with reality. Which right now means throwing the sand bags back in the bed of the truck for the 3-6 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow and slipping back into that damn winter coat for another day. Still , it sure is nice to do a little Springtime Dreaming...Smallmouth Style!