Now that I had finally caught a bass this year, I felt it was time to catch the other black bass. I was in serious need of a smallmouth fix. I loaded my vest up with about 30lbs of gear and took off for Preston. Things were quite a bit cooler and cloudier than they were supposed to be as I arrived at my favorite smallie run. I decided to try the fast water below the pool where I had hooked a couple of fish last time around, but nobody was home apparently. I situated myself a the tail end of the slow water and let a pink X-Rap fly. A couple of casts later I wrestled in my first smallmouth of the year. I must say, it was quite the leviathan!
I fan cast across the lower end of the pool and soon caught a bit larger specimen. I tried fishing a dropshot rig through the area as well, but only came up with moss. I moved up the run a little way and decided to switch to a small rattle bait. That quickly did the trick as I brought in this fat little fellow.
I cast downstream to the spot where I caught the first two fish and scored another bass. I was getting frustrated by all the moss I was hauling in, so I switched over to my jigging rod for a bit. Since the drop shot wasn't working, I thought I would try a little 1/8 ounce Bitsy Bug Jig with a small reaper as a trailer. I'd heard that these were killer on smallmouth, but I hadn't had a chance to use them. About five minutes later, as I hopped my jig through a deep trough, I felt a thump on the end of my line. I drove the hook home and it was obvious right off that I'd hooked a better fish. No jumps today, but I enjoyed a hard, bulldogging fight before I brought in this bloated chunk of a bass.
Not a giant, but a good, heavy, quality fish. I was just glad to have finally caught a bass on my jigging rod. I worked my way upstream and caught another bass of about 10" on the jig. I tried a small pearl white swimbait on my lighter rod for a bit, but oddly nothing touched it. I fished the jig some more, but at 1/8 ounce, it was having a hard time getting to the bottom with the current. I switched over to a small tube on a 1/4 ounce head, but still nothing. I didn't get any hits for a bit, so I decided to move upstream.
I drove about 1/4 mile or so before stopping at a spot that had looked intriguing last time, but hadn't produced. I worked the far bank's slackwater with both baits to no effect. I moved upstream to where some nice riffles came down and made a seam. I ditched the swimbait in favor of an old trusty Panther Martin spinner, gold blade with a black body. It came through the slower water but only made it a few feet into the riffle before something hammered it. I chased the fish downstream and eventually scooped this lovely rainbow into my net.
I still don't feel quite right about catching trout on spinning gear, but at the same time I felt a bit nostalgic. When I first moved to Utah as a teenager, fishing spinners for trout in streams was the name of the game most of the time. I worked my way up a little way, but no more fish showed up to play. I had about an hour left now, so I drove up to the shelf where the rainbows were hammering the pink X-Rap on the previous trip.
I saw a couple of fish jump as I approached the run, and my first cast brought me another bow of about 12" on the spinner. I took up the jigging rod again, and the first cast got me a fat little smallie.
As I was working the hook out, I noticed something odd in the bass's throat. Upon removing the jig, I discovered a mouthful of fish eggs. Yellow ones. That makes me think they might be sucker eggs. I hope so, I'd feel kind of bad if he was raiding walleye nests, though I would imagine their eggs would have already hatched by now. I caught a few more small bass before moving upstream. There was a deep pool between some boulders here, and I quickly scored three more smallmouth on the tube before I had to leave.
Overall it was a fun day. I've caught more and bigger fish on this river, but they were all beautifully marked, and all very well fed. I'm curious to see how this fishery develops. If the bass are packing on the pounds like they are, we may see some true monster fish before long.
Final Tally: 13 Smallmouth Bass, 2 Rainbow Trout
Year Tally: 233 Fish