I kept fishing up, with every cast envisioning that 4lb smallmouth inhaling my popper. I kept catching fish, but not the target species.
This is where it gets interesting (and long-winded)....as I wade upstream, I am having to watch every step as there are some slick shoals with lots of troughs and drop offs. I cast upstream and give the popper a couple of good pops. I look down as I make another step forward and look back up to find my popper missing. I set the hook (like Bill Dance) and I have successfully hooked into the best smallmouth I have ever hooked into. Unfortunately, almost as quickly as I hooked it, I lost it. My 8lb tippet snapped in half like it was 6X. Not at the knot, but in the middle. It was not worn as I had just re-tied. I did catch a glimpse of it and it was at least a 20", 4lb fish. I feel like a 5wt is no longer suitable for this pursuit. That fish felt like a bull red. My knees were shaking and I felt sick to my stomach. It was like winning the lottery and finding out there was a mistake and you didn't win. However, I guess those are the experiences that keep us going back for more. That makes 2 very nice creek smallmouth I have lost after extremely short battles. I am starting to wonder when I will have my day.
Well the girlfriend called again it said it would be about another hour, so I decided I would check on the section I usually fish. After a quick game of "pick the spot that looks the least snaky" I cautiously made my way down the weedy bank.
I made a few casts, more green sunfish and small redbreast. I get up to the more productive water and make a cast close to the bank. That cast moved something, but not a fish.
He started angling toward me and I thought it was a good time to retreat, since my gun was in my car. He was as big around as a baseball and apparently pissed that I disturbed him. This was the second time I had shaky knees and thought that was good for one day.
I caught shellcracker, bluegill, longear, green and redbreast sunfish in the panfish category. Then largemouth and smallmouth bass. I would say that's a good variety.