I know this isn't the best way to handle a smallmouth bass. I'll be the first one to tell you that but it was also released quickly. Somebody made a statement about my grip and I was quick to say that it's not like the other photos I see. It seems that folks will tire out a bass so that they can place the fish on a paddle, on the bank with their rod or somehow grip it with one hand as it hangs limp.
Obviously, this is a better hold. A few folks were upset that I even defended that at the least I don't tire the bass out and place it for a photo opportunity . . . but it was catch-and-release. I am doing my best to hold it properly and when I took the first photo, I figured it was resting on the back of my hand. Quit a few folks don't really care or perhaps just a little bit. I care. I do. I want that bass to continue to grow and help provide off-spring.
I can appreciate the smallmouth. Year after year, my accesses are shut down. Year after year, more and more developments come and cause improper run-off and pollution issues on my smallmouth streams. I understand that folks just don't care if there are fish or the state of the habitat or environment. I've seen a stream's quality go downhill and an organization created to preserve it by creating awareness. And with that same stream - the knowledge that it is there and was once a popular recreational stream and that there were publications printed about it . . . and that it isn't just a river where affluent flows from several streams.
I know that it is my - heck, all of our responsibility no matter how small to help preserve what we can - even if it is griping a fish properly so that it is released unharmed for a prosperous future.
That being said . . . I am still chasing smallies and they already seem to be holding tight and deep. We've had some colder nights which temps ranging from 35-45 degrees and daytime temps about 60-70. Fishing on my stream is slowing down. I am fishing deep and slow. The smaller bass are hitting the fly on the drift in swift riffles running about 1-3 feet deep. I am catching smallmouth and spotted bass in deep still pools at the edge or riffles with a heavy fly that is stripped VERY slowly. On Friday, I took about 20 rock bass around structure. They were pretty slow too. Bass and panfish were slashing or soft-striking my flies. Recent rains with some regularity have brought dirty water since August which still runs swifter than the norm and at a high level which has prevented me from getting to certain locations. I actually had to put on my waders to stay warm which is the first time since maybe March or April.
The rock bass love that Shucker pattern. If I had a nickle for every one of those panfish . . .