Congrats on the fish!
My intro to river run smallies were accidental catches file fishing for trout. Biggest smallie I ever landed was on a 16 Light Cahill DRY. Fish was rising in the same spot regularly sipping duns of the surface gracefully.For me that was up in the wierd-factor range with watching a little bunny swim across a narrow section of the Farmington.
My experience with smallies is rather limited with sort of a hit-or-miss-best-guess approach. I do have several largish Picket Pins (weighted) and some big heavy stone fly nymphs in my smallie boxes.
Have a buddy who throw a #12 GR hare's ear at just about anything and has picked up a lot of smallies with it.
The smallies acting like trout have all occurred in the lower Deerfield not so far upstream from where it flows into the Conneticut.