Re: Nymphs for smallmouth bass?
First - congrats on catching that 18" smallie! On the 3wt, that had to be an absolute blast!!!!
Getting back to your question - I don't deny that the smallies feed on nymphs quite regularly....What I do question is if it is really a viable/best presentation if you are out specifically targeting them. I am sure a lot of that decision would be based on the stream itself. For bigger waters, I would almost always throw a streamer of sort. It's bigger and in my opinion lends itself to actually being chased instead of having to rely on placing that nymph directly in front of the fish.
If you are fishing a super clear creek, I could see the benefit of possibly using a nymph - especially if the fish have lock jaw with your streamer.