Just a quick comment as we head into the serious smallmouth bass season. A bad habit I tend to fall into in my excitement to hook up with big smallies is to both overweight my line and overpower my cast.
It's a pretty well-known fact that to catch big fish, you need to use big lures. I fall into the trap of tying large, heavy flies on my 6wt line and expect to be able to cast with elegance. I even tried using the Sharkskin Magnum Taper line in the hopes that it would carry the weight better. I did not see any difference between it and the regular 6wt Sharkskin or a bass taper Rio line. In fact, my bottom line (pun intended) conclusion is that the heavy flies were just too much for the line to throw out. It resulted in shorter erratic casts instead of the longer ones you need to get to the big fish. I believe that stealth is probably more important a factor in catching than size. This year, I do not intend to make that mistake and will downsize my poppers to size 6 from size 2 or 4 and see what happens. Of course, the simple solution is to up gun to an 8wt system, but I can't sneak another rod into the house without having to sleep on the couch.
The next issue is to overpower the cast. With all the heavy weight in past seasons, I found myself trying to put too much power into my cast; resulting in slapping presentations or a jumble of line on the water. This year, I'm telling myself to slow down, be gentle and expect to get better results. The next time you're on the river, you should do the experiment I did that was to cast gently instead of powerfully and see if it makes a difference. I found I could get more distance, more accuracy and a better presentation if I didn't try as hard.
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