We’re back at Smallmouth Magazine, this time with the final issue of the inaugural year 1985. After this segment, we’re going to take a break from Smallmouth Magazine for a couple weeks in order to get some other things published and then we’ll pick right back up with Volume 2.
In this issue, from December, 1985, we have the usual cast of Smallmouth contributors, Tom Rodger, Billy Westmorland and Tom Zenanko. But there’s also another well-known writer/angling guru by the name of Rich Zaleski who made his Smallmouth debut in this issue. We’ll talk a little about that later.
The magazine starts off with Tom Rodgers, publisher and president of Smallmouth, talking about their first year and what a success it was. What kind of got me about the piece was on two different fronts. First off I was amazed the membership fee was $29.95 per year for 1985. That’s a lot of Hoss Flies for a predominantly four-page newsletter. It was nice that Rodgers got enough sponsor support that he could lower the membership fees for 1986 down to $19.95.
The second thing that grabbed my attention was they were looking to break the 5,000 mark for membership in 1986. He didn’t say how many more members they needed to hit that mark but I’d be willing to bet it was around the 2,500 mark. Those numbers are surprisingly low compared to what I figured the membership was. Makes me feel a bit inadequate having less than 3,000 Facebook fans after three years online (insert shameless plug here – Like Us On Facebook Please!).
The second piece on the cover was penned by Billy Westmorland and was titled Dale Hollow’s December Smallmouth. Like all of Westmorland’s articles to date, he talks about monthly patterns for smallies and the baits to catch them on but this piece hit a little closer to the heart for one reason. I just talked with the new owner of the old defunct company Pedigo Lures this past weekend and they’re back in business after about a 50 year hiatus. In most of Westmorland’s articles, he mentions the use of the Uncle Josh Spinrite – this article is no different. What many people may not know is that Pedigo Lures was the inventor of the Spinrite, the first tail spin ever made. In a week or so we’ll have a piece on the new Pedigo Lure Company and how it was brought back from the grave, much to the chagrin of the smallmouth bass.
The next page is dedicated to piece by Tom Zenanko called Things “That Hold Smallmouth.” I have to say there is more good information packed in that 400-word article than I’ve seen in a long time. I suggest this article to anyone that fishes bass – it’s that good.
The third page of the newsletter was an ad placed by Smallmouth for their new subscription fee. Not much more to say about that. On page four, there was a short on the new South Carolina smallmouth record and another short on how to winterize your boat. The gem of this page is a quote from Jason Lucas’ book, Lucas on Bass Fishing, 1st ed. That said, “Have you ever noticed that nearly all resort owners are gray or bald, with distraught, hopeless expressions on their faces?” You got to love Lucas and his candid way of expressing himself.
Page five – Rich Zaleski or, how most people know him, RichZ. His article, Spoon Jiggin’ for Smallies, can be read and implemented today. As usual, Zaleski takes a topic and writes an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand article that’s as good today as it was in 1985. One thing that dated the article, though, was his comment, “The new long-handled ‘crankin’’ rods are ideal for casting tackle…” Yep, back then the rod of choice was still a 5 1/2-foot pistol grip rod for most bass fishing techniques. Also, you can follow RichZ’s fishing exploits on his blog located at www.richz.com)
Page six ended the newsletter with the remainder of Westmorland’s piece on Dale Hollow’s December Smallmouths – complete with a picture of an Uncle Josh (Pedigo Lures) Spinrite.
We hope you’re enjoying these old Smallmouth Newsletters. Let us know what you think of this type of article in the comments section below. Also, we’d like to thank Mark Blahut (again) for his generous gesture of letting us borrow the newsletters.
The whole issue is posted below. Click on the pictures for a full-size, readable picture.