The flavor of your fish will be the product of the wood aged to generate the smoke. A well seasoned hard wood (e.g. Hickory-a Fruit Wood) will make a good type of wood to use. You should try several types of wood or wood sawdust to find the one which you prefer.
The fish is most often soaked in a brine before smoking. A fish the size (12”-14”) you are catching will take up the salt from the brine very quickly. The brining may take a few times before you come up with the formula which you like.
1 Gallon Water
1 Cut Salt
¼ Cup Lemon Juice
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
Some smokers will add hot sauce or liquid smoke to the brine to add flavors. For fish of the 12 inch size the time in the brine should be about 2 hours.
1/3 c. rock salt
1 (3 oz.) bottle Wrights liquid smoke
1 c. Mortons Tender Quick
Brine: 1/3 cup rock salt added to 1 gallon of water or enough to completely cover fish. Add liquid smoked and tender quick. Cut off heads and put in any non-metal container. Cover with brine. Cover the container and refrigerate 48 hours. Turn fish after 24 hours. Remove from brine and dry thoroughly. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 4 hours. Turn after 2 hours. Dry and cool thoroughly before wrapping for storage. Good eating. Use mainly for large fish.