I've done, SM and LM bass as I do most other fish - especially catfish and trout. I usually don't cold smoke, but smoke cook it - so it is not cured. Marinade it in something you like (salad dressings aren't bad, especially Italian) or don't. Season then put on smoker at 225 until done. Doesn't take all that long, - when it looks cooked - white throughout. Sometimes I just sprinkle on some cajun seasoning and put on the smoker. Another time I mixed some tequila, lime juice, cilantro and garlic for the marinade - that was pretty good. Another time lime and chipotle.
Did some tuna one time by chopping it finely and mixing in one egg, some lime juice, chopped scallions (including greens), fresh cilantro, mayo, s & p and prepared wasabi and smoking the patties - got me a second place the only time I did it in a comp. Some guys at the fly shop always ask me for it when I put a feed on.
I've got a book somewhere that has a recipe for smoked whole fish that the author's won a couple of contests with. Can't find it right now. But here are a couple of other recipes I've done over the years. These are all catfish recipes, but substitute other freshwater fish - I've used LM, SM, Stripers/White bass and Crappie
If you do want to brine here are a couple recipes.
Smoked Catfish Brine Recipe
For 5 or 5 pounds of filets
• 1 gallon cold water
• 3/4 cup non-iodized table salt, or canning salt
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup soy sauce
• 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Mix until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
For best results, use fillets that are about the same size and thickness. Thinner fillets take less time to brine and less time to smoke. If you're brining and smoking whole sides, trim off the thin belly edge and the thinnest part of the tail end so the overall thickness is fairly consistent from end to end, and top to bottom. And this is catfish so the skin has to be removed.
Use a non-reactive container (I usually use gallon freezer bags- you’ll need two for this recipe) to brine in. Put half of the fillets and half of the brine into each bag. Place the bags in a large bowl (just in case they spring a leak) and put it in the fridge. Leave it there for 4 hours. Move the brining catfish around a few times while it's in the fridge so it brines evenly.
Give the fillets a quick rinse. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
Lay the fillets on a raised rack, so air can reach both sides. Let the fish air dry for an hour or so at room temperature, until it's not sticky anymore. It should start to get a slightly hard coating on the surface (called a pellicle). When it does, it's ready to smoke.
Put in smoker. It's important to keep the temperature down just below 200 degrees if you can. 190 is good. If the smoker temperature gets too hot, the juices will start to bleed out of the fish, and it won't be as moist. Smoke until done – it flakes.
Here is another brined recipe
Smoked Catfish Recipe
• 7 lbs. catfish, cut into 1 1/2 thick steaks
• 2 c. water
• 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/4 c. salt
• 2 tbsp concentrated liquid crab and shrimp boil
• 1/4 tsp dried whole dillweed
Place fish in a large shallow dish. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over fish. Cover; marinate at least 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator, turning occasionally. Pat dry and let dry till a pellicle forms. Put in smoker at about 200 deg and smoke till it flakes.
Here's one I really like - I have also done the horseradish with salmon and tuna.
Grilled Smoked Catfish With Horseradish Cream
For the Horseradish cream:
• 1 cup crème fraîche or use sour cream with a little milk mixed in
• 1/2 cup prepared horseradish, drained
• 1 or 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
For the Smoked Catfish:
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup lemon juice
• 5 cloves garlic, sliced
• 4 shallots, sliced
• 2 tablespoons salt
• 2 tablespoons Sugar (you can leave our sugar if not wanted)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 6 Catfish fillets
To prepare the horseradish cream, mix crème fraîche, horseradish, mustard, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving.
To prepare the smoked Catfish, mix water, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, salt, Sugar and dill in a small bowl. Place Catfish fillets in a shallow dish and pour marinade over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours to marinate.
Put on smoker at 225 to 250 and smoke/cook until done. Done when it flakes
This one is good too.
Grilled Catfish in Corn Husks
Grilling fish in corn husks helps to keep it tender and moist, as well as making it very flavorful.
• 4 catfish fillets
• 4 fresh corn husks
• 3-4 green onions,chopped finely
• 1/4 cup butter, preferably unsalted
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place each catfish fillet into a husk. Season with salt and pepper and remaining ingredients. Fold husks to cover fish and tie with kitchen twine. Place in smoker at 225 until fish flakes.