Fishing Smallies with Jimmy Reese

If there’s anything that makes Jimmy Reese green with envy, it’s a waterway abounding with chunky smallmouth bass. With a solid track record on California largemouth factories like Clear Lake and the Cal Delta, Reese gets plenty of face time with jumbos of Florida-strain origin; but every now and then, he feels the need to pick on the those big brown beasts.

In fairness, several western fisheries — Trinity Lake, Almanor, Clear Lake, Shasta, Mead, Havasu, Mojave Lake — hold respectable smallmouth bass populations. But geography matters little to Reese; and whether he’s east or west of the Mississippi River, he regards smallmouth as a prize worth seeking.

“I have Clear Lake in my backyard, and I get to catch largemouth all the time; so when I get a chance to go to a fishery with smallmouth, it’s a treat,” Reese said. “They fight HARD; there’s just something about fighting a smallmouth, especially on light line.”


Calling a 5-pound Lake Cumberland smallmouth his personal best, Reese said he expects the same mix of baits to be productive anywhere smallmouth roam. The biggest difference he’s noticed between western fish and those in the Eastern U.S. is the way they relate their environment.