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I had the good fortune to take Robert on an afternoon and evening trip on the French Broad River. My plan was to also fish the Little Pigeon, but they got just enough rain the day before to leave it stained to the point where it was not going to fish well. Also, they were generating 15,000 cfs at Douglas Dam which can in my experience ┬ámake the fishing tough. We contemplated fishing another day, but decided to give it a shot. Robert is an avid fisherman and due to a busy personal and professional life he had not been on the water in almost a year and a half. So the pressure was on for me to get that rod to bend more then a few times over the next six hours and to get him back in the groove of putting fish in the boat. So I went to my favorite spot on the French Broad when the Little Pigeon is dirty and they are moving a lot of water below Douglas Dam to start the trip. Robert made his first cast and within seconds of the bait hitting the water he had a strike. He set the hook hard and after a brief fight the line went slack. I joked that it was bad luck to catch a fish on the first cast and that he was fortunate that the fish got off so we wouldn’t have that dark cloud hanging over us that would keep him from having a good day on the water. With the prospect of that jinx now off the table, Robert began to work over the smallies as well as some pesky white bass. He proceeded in the next several hours to catch fifteen smallies, ten white bass, and a bonus eighteen inch walleye. A few of those white bass and the walleye went from the French Broad River to his grandmother’s frying pan. The majority of the smallies were in the fifteen to seventeen inch range with his biggest fish coming in nineteen and half inches. There was also a decent chance of thunderstorms forecasted during the trip, and they did billow up around us in what it seemed almost every direction, but we barely felt a drop. It appeared that it was a fishing trip that was meant to be. Robert is a really good fisherman and a great guy to have in the boat. I was happy that he was able to get a chance to wet a line and catch a bunch of fish after all his time away from the water.

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