In continuing with our look back into the publication Smallmouth we bring you the next issue, Number 4, from April, 1985. Although only four pages in length, you can get a feel that the publication was gaining some steam. The content was solid and with Billy Westmorland and Tom Zenanko on the masthead, you expected something worth reading.
As was becoming the norm for the newborn publication, Tom Rodgers dedicated two columns out of 12 for the awareness of conservation. To start off, on page 2, he has a small piece about the Arizona Game and Fish Department and their efforts to renew the smallmouth fishery at Bartlett Reservoir. No one thinks of Arizona as being a smallmouth haven but back in the early 70s two lakes, Apache and Bartlett, had trophy smallmouth fisheries. Apache continued to be the gem through the 90s when it came to the trophy bronzeback but Bartlett was drained in 1977 and never recovered to what it once was. It was nice to see Rodgers mention a lake thousands of miles from his home in South Carolina – all because of the brown fish.
The second column having to do with conservation dealt with the Wallop-Breaux tax on fishing and boating equipment. If you know anything about this tax, Ray Scott played a big role in getting congress to pass this in order to free up money to better boating and fishing. In 1985, though, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by the lead of David Stockman, proposed a freezing of the Wallop-Breaux funds for the ’86 fiscal year. This meant that 97% of that year’s monies (66-million dollars) would be unavailable for boating and fisheries management.
Next in line, actually first in line if you look at the first page, is a great article on Canadian smallmouth fishing. If you read volume 1 issue 2, you remember that crazy Canadian angler who wrote in about his biggest smallmouth – that he lost. Well, I guess Rodgers was a bit intrigued by the fish story so he had Mr. Bob Denike, the author of the fish story, write an article showcasing Canadian smallmouth fishing. Read the article, it’s a great look back into Canadian smallmouth fishing when all you could find north of the border was salmon and steelhead anglers. It’s got some weird names of fish and something about “fishing seasons” but it’s all about a great fish.
On page two Billy Westmorland continues his column Smallmouth Month to Month. For April, he still relies on the Silver Buddy and 1/8-ounce jigs tipped with pork but as the water warms into the 60s, he moves to crankbaits because he can cover more water. His favorite, as in March, was the Bass Hunter Bass Magnet – his own signature lure. His insights into the movement of smallmouth are still valid today and the article, although short, is packed with great advice.
On page three Frank Brooks continues his piece on Pickwick Lake and famed smallmouth angler Jim Rivers. In this piece Rivers (appropriate name, huh?) talks about how to find fish on the riverine reservoir.
Page four ends this month’s circular with Tom Zenanko talking about clear water smallmouths and the techniques to catch them. Zenanko, a seasoned writer who traveled extensively, talks about how to get past the horror of clear water and how to catch fish from water you’d bathe in.
Lastly, Rodgers has a small ad for the new Smallmouth trucker hat. Sure wish I could go back in time and buy one.
We hope you enjoy reading this back issue of one of the best magazines or papers ever printed regarding our sport.