We caught up with Jackson Kayak Pro Staffer Eric Atkins as he was working with Alabama Kayak Anglers to ask him about his trip to catch smallies in a small town. Atkins was happy to oblige, providing us with director’s commentary on his “Small Town Smallmouth” bass fishing video.
Prime-time bass fishing in small town Tennessee
“This trip was taken in 2016 with my fellow Jackson Kayak Pro Staffer Evan Howard and our buddy, Dobyns Rods Pro Corey Galloway. The May weather turned out to be colder and windier than expected.”
“We hit the road to middle Tennessee to try and time the spawn for smallmouth bass. We wanted to get there at a prime time when big smallmouth were eating big lures. Evan and Corey are founders of the Kayak Swimbait Fishing group on Facebook.”
“15 minutes into our fishing trip I lost a five-pound smallmouth. I know it was five pounds because a bank fisherman saw the fish miss my lure and casted in and caught it on a small jig. He showed it off in front of us. We tried to shame him into releasing it, but we were pretty sure he fed his whole family with that fish later that night.”
Testing out a prototype bait
“Evan brought along a prototype swimbait, the Bull Gill, from the renowned swimbait maker Mike Bucca. In the video, you will see Evan holding a large smallmouth that was caught by throwing the test lure below a rapid. The smallmouth absolutely hammered it and it was likely the first smallmouth ever caught on the Bull Gill lure.”
“Each of us also took our fly rods along in hopes of catching a large smallmouth on the fly. We had varying success. I caught a one-pounder on an articulated jig tied by my friend Brandon Bailes. Evan somehow ended up catching two walleye on the fly. You’ll see him holding one of the walleyes in the video. It was a rare catch for those waters.”
“We all caught about a dozen fish each day, and also caught at least one of the large smallmouth that we had been searching for. My large fish at the end of the video was caught on a six-inch Bull Shad.”
The smallmouth hits keep coming
“As luck would have it, Corey caught another five-pound smallmouth in the final 15 minutes of the trip. He threw a spinnerbait into some wood structure on the bank and hauled out a trophy fish.”
“I’ll be headed back this spring to see if I can hook up with the five-pound smallmouth that escaped me last year.”
For more smallmouth bass fishing videos and more, see Eric Atkins’ YouTube channel.