As a young boy I remember wading the New River in Southwest Virginia with my step dad. We would dodge the deep pools in the rocky and crystal clear water, slowly making our way around the water willows and working up to the deeper ledges in search of smallies. We mostly used live bait such as spring lizards and night crawlers. The older I got the more I experimented with artificial lures. The Zoom watermelon lizard was always my favorite. My personal best smallmouth bass to date came on that particular lure while wade fishing one mid September evening. For many of those adolescent years I spent much of my time in the shoals of the New River in search of the bronzeback that would surpass my personal best of 21 1/2". And then on my 25th birthday I got my first kayak. I quickly took to the New where I was all too familiar with the fishing. Casting plastics into the eddies and being able to do it in stealth from a kayak now made all the difference. It meant that the possibility of beating my previous record was now at my fingertips. I quickly found that to be easier said than done, with or without this new means of transportation. In fact, it was only the beginning!! Over the next 4 years I would paddle and fish a majority of my days in search of that next giant, line peeling, acrobatic river smallmouth.