No pyrotechnics played a part, but I can't say I've ever witnessed better 4th of July fireworks display. A friend and I had opted to celebrate Independence Day by wading a Smokies stream and wobbling Rebel Crickhoppers across the surface, and when the smallmouths hit the baits, they did so with rare explosiveness.
Making a great thing even better, virtually the whole day was like a Grand Finale, with the fireworks going off one-after another. Once we worked our way a little upstream of the point where access is easy, we found ridiculously plentiful and active fish that seemingly wanted us to enjoy a very memorable holiday.
The equation was simple. Cast upstream, let the Crickhopper drift a bit, and then work it on the top either with slow steady reeling or with erratic twitches. Many fish hit before we ever moved the baits.
I don't really know how many fish we caught that day, but I wouldn't be surprised if we reached triple digits. They weren't large fish but catching them was hugely fun both because of the explosive strikes and because we had the cool stream, its rugged gorge and its bass to ourselves that day.
Looking toward the holiday weekend, it appears I'll be in the Smokies with two of my sons on the 4th of July. I think we might need to break out the ultralights and Crickhoppers and see if we can set off some fireworks!
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