I've done well with a variety of topwaters for Smallmouths, but 3 have been very consistent over many years. Sneaky Pete's, Dahlberg Divers or Rabbit Strip Divers, and Gurgler's tied with hackle tails. I use bigger flies than most, usually size 1/0, but size 1 or 2 should be fine for a 7 wt. Really depends on the water I'm fishing, as I will go down in size on smaller waters, but rarely go smaller than a size 4.
I can't argue with Rip Tides advise of the Lefty's Bug either, as I've caught plenty of Smallmouths on them as well!
My color preferences are simple, all white, all black, and chartreuse with a black collar for the Sneaky Pete's. I usually tie Sneaky Pete's with splayed hackle tails also.
All white, all black, or all chartreuse for the Gurglers & Dahlbergs, except I like grizzly hackle in the tails on the Divers (marabou tail with grizzly on each side, and some flash) and for the rabbit strip versions, same colors but I tie them with the bar dyed rabbit strips, and usually with black barring.
Gurglers are often seen displayed in catalogs with hair tails, but again I like splayed hackle tails on them as well, at least for bass fishing.
If you'll be tying your own, consider straight shank worm hooks, like Mustad Ultra Points, Gamakatsu Rubber Worm Hooks, or Owner straight shank Worm Hooks for these flies. These are all fairly light wire hooks, but are superior to most fly hooks in strength & sharpness. I tie a lot of bass flies on these types of hooks. I also use them for poppers & sliders, but Mustad kink shank popper hooks, CK52S are an excellent hook too!
I use two surface flies for smallmouth. A Madame X tied on a #6 hook, and a foam bug with two sets of legs. The Madame X is tied with bright yellow thread, and natural deer body hair. It's a very simple fly to pump out, and deadly for smallmouth. I bought some bright green foam sheets that are supposed to be hung from door knobs (don't know what for) at A.C. Moore, and I cut a 1/4"x1" strip from the sheet. I cut a triangle shape for the tail, and tie the back of the strip to the end of the hook shank. Some peacock ice dubbing gets wrapped around the hook shank up to a couple eye lengths from the end, and then the front of the foam strip is secured to the hook. The foam is secured tightly, creating a segemented effect, and then rubber legs are tied and whip finished into each of the two segments. It's a really effective fly, although I prefer to use the fur Madame X, rather than the fully synthetic foam bug. You can find a picture of the Madame X anywhere, and here's a pic of the foam bug (ignore the #16 pack of hooks. The bug is tied in a #6 standard hook):
guys, i appreciate the help. i am on my way to a local gander mt. to see what they have and then tomorrow to a fly shop to pick a few more up.
as for tying, i am inept. shoot, with my busted up and arthritic fingers, i can barely tie my shoes these days. besides, to tie, i am thoroughly convinced that one has to have some artistic talents and i have none. but i am so impressed by your handiworks.
Almost any color popper with legs; yellow and chartreuse being the best in my experience.
Cast out to about 5' from the edge of a bank/shore/tree overhang/weed bed/rock outcropping, etc., give it an immediate twitch, let it sit for 5-10 seconds, twitch it again, wait again, then strip it in. Smallmouths like instant activity followed by inactivity/drift; sort of what you'd get if a dragonfly landed on the surface.