I've always wanted to fish for Smallie's on the Mississippi, but with such a large river, I never felt comfortable taking my float tube down it without some instruction. It's Kind of like trying to navigate life without your bible. Pretty overwhelming and lot's of places to get hurt if you don't know how to avoid them.
Anyway, my old best friend Bruce: (Who I've been flyfishing with for almost 30 years) drove up from Nashville and for his birthday, I hired us the US Smallmouth fly fishing guru. (as he would explain to us) to drift us from Becker to Monticello. Around 5 or 6 miles of world class Small mouth waters. Never deeper than 6 feet and usually 2 or 3. Guide Tim Holshlag talked for 8 hours straight about Small mouth around the world. He worked the boat and his verbal skills like Wayne Newton in Vegas on a Sat. night show. Butta....
The photo below was the first fish. A nice 15" bronze back.
We each caught 10 in the 14 to 161/2 range and I lost two over 19 inches that I swore I set the hook hard enough to kill most other fish..., but after a minute or two of fighting, they would just bear down, down stream and put on the brakes, not allowing you to reel them while your rod is bent over and your forearm is burning from the pressure of being above your head holding a 9ft bent over rod. Then in a flash they turn sideways and pop out your barbless streamer or popper.
Still a lot of fun to get those big ones one and see them cross over and under the boat at will as if to say 'you may think you have me buddy, but I'm playing iwth YOU."
Eight hours in 98 degree heat, and a gallon of water will still not hydrate you enough.
Sure would have loved to eat a few of them that day, but it's those catch and release rules that keep world class fish in a river growing larger and larger with more and more hook scars.
I heard one story by Tim, of a large 21" grandpa that was blind in one eye from a few years ago and he caught that same lunker 4 times in one season. How fun and what an honor to release him back to his neighborhood. So there it was, the day came and went and I'm already dreaming of getting a Tim Holschlag custom built 8wt. smallie rod and tying a bunch of his fly patterns.
Now that I know the lay of the land, I'll be back there fishing that stretch of water in the next few weeks in my float tube, looking for more ways to say thank you God for all the beauty you've created for us to enjoy and relax with. Here's hoping your hobbies and passions draw you closer to Him who created it all for us to enjoy and thank Him for.