I enjoy reading books by Larry McMurtry, He is the Pulitzer prize winning writer of Lonesome Dove, The last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment among others. One book is called Cadillac Jack and it's the story of a picker. You know one of those guys that travels all over the country hitting garage sales and auctions and old junky farms finding things to resell. Well towards the end of the book the hero Jack has a run. Seemingly every where he goes he buys something swell and rare till it finally ends in this flea market where he buys this Mongol parchment worth a fortune this couple had their depression glass for sale wrapped in. What's this got to do with fishing???? Well I've felt for a bit now that I've been on a bit of a run myself and sensing that I've tried to squeeze in as much fishing as possible into a schedule that's been pretty full lately. I think in anything that is a combination of luck as well as skill such as pool or hunting or poker(or fishing) when fortune smiles on you, you ride that pony for all it's worth. And nearly every trip I've caught some swell smallmouth for a while now and I guess like in the book the run peaked...
Ninety two degrees, 4:45 pm, a little place where the sweet spot is only maybe eight feet long and six feet wide. The water pours over this stairstep of natural boulders and then is shunted sideways by a big chunk of concrete so it dumps into this little pocket that also has water dumping into it from the riffle above. It ends up being a little U shaped slot with water falling and rushing into it from about a foot higher on three sides.
I can get close because of all the fast water and pitch a curly swim underhanded into the U. It sweeps down thru the U and just as it's leaving it swirls around behind one boulder about the size of a bushel basket before moving on. I didn't even feel the strike even though I probably only had ten or twelve feet of line out. Instead it just tightened up and the fish was on. I set the hook twice. In this kind of take it seems the fish is always spitting the lure back out and when I can remember I'll set the hook more than once. The fish swirled once right under the surface and I could see it was a really big fish. I've only had on a few fish that I knew for certain, "well this fish is over 20 inches". I've had plenty I thought might go 20 on but only two or three that I knew for sure were at the time. Well with ten feet of line out and the fish right there in a foot of water it was obvious it was going to go at least that. What it didn't do was stay ten feet away. In a few seconds it had traveled the length of the riffle and was jumping on the other side of the stream 40 feet away.
After years of trying to baby big smallmouth and losing them my philosophy is land em or lose but don't play with them. Besides it's better for the fish to release them not worn out from a long struggle. So I had the LittleMiami Rod bent into the cork though it probably still took another minute to land the fish on 8lb test. I've caught a couple fish longer in the Little Miami and the Great Miami but considering this tributary stream was maybe a third or half as big as the Little Miami the fish has to rank as one of my best catches ever out of southern Ohio. I'll be honest I snapped a few quick pics, turned her loose and just headed home. With a quick stop at the Wendy's drive thru for a celebratory Frosty. I'm guessing it's all down hill from here for a bit but I don't mind.