Haven't posted yet this season but figured breaking my personal best smallmouth record is a worthy occasion. Woke up early, for me anyways, and had an hour or so before work to hit the water from about 7-8am. Was planning on throwing weightless senkos in lily pad pockets for largemouth, but motoring over to my spot I noticed a small school of fish jumping and then what looked like a couple of carp surface in the middle of the scrum...wait, that can't be right.
Immediately killed my motor and glided in to about 50 yards...I've heard stories but never seen it in person until now -- maybe a half dozen monster smallmouth on the surface almost looked like they were working together to herd the prey. immediately dug through my tackle box for a topwater to match and tied on a big spook-style bait (duo realis pencil 150) that was brand new in box as I never had the guts to throw it before as it's a huge lure that looks like you could use to catch tuna.
Didn't want to scare the fish off so made a really long cast to the edge of where they were chasing and started trying to walk-the-dog back...was struggling to get good action on the retrieve as I didn't have the right setup and was about to just reel in to change to a different lure when I saw the back of a giant smallie break the surface about 20 feet away and make a u-turn and beeline straight for my lure jaws-style with it's back out of the water the whole time.
I think my heart might have skipped a few beats as the beast accelerated and then slammed the lure and went airborne at the same time. Epic battle ensued and took me forever to land as I don't carry a net and wasn't about to try and liplock with those huge razor sharp trebles everywhere. Finally fumbled around for a fishgrip, latched on and hauled mama bass into the boat...wanted to get the fish back into the water asap so didn't measure/weigh but snapped a couple quick photos (the cooler is 24" inches so I would guess 23-3/4" and between 6.5-7 pounds). Ended up catching another 19" incher from that pod with a jerkbait before they spooked and disappeared.
Few things I learned: 1. it's really really hard to take a good selfie with your cell phone in one hand and a giant fish in the other 2. it's also really really hard to walk-the-dog correctly with fluorocarbon line, especially when the line is already too light for the lure (had 10# tatsu spooled up) 3. I guess smallmouth do go after salmon smolts on occasion...I've caught a lot of big smallmouth locally and they spit up all sorts, but 90% of the time it's perch and once in a while stickleback or crayfish...never seen one spit up salmon and these were big smolts.