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My last trip with Robert was on May 22 and the conditions on the French Broad River have changed dramatically since that time. Western North Carolina has received a tremendous amount of rain and that water has been showing up here in East Tennessee. At ┬áthe time of the writing of this report most of the TVA dams are doing a combination of sluicing, spilling, and heavy generation. For certain species of fish like stripers this can be a great time to fish below the TVA dams. In my experience, I have found the opposite to be true when fishing for smallies in these tailrace fisheries here in East Tennessee. It can be a challenge to find the fish under these conditions, but certainly not impossible. The average outflow for today was 28,000 cfs which is the highest I have seen in years. Even with that obstacle to overcome Robert still wanted to give it try. The first time we fished together he had a strike on his first cast. The fish subsequently pulled the hook and I joked at that time that he was fortunate that the fish got away because it would have put a dark cloud over the rest of the trip. Believe it or not on this second trip he did it again. On his first cast into the roiling waters of the French Broad he got a strike, but unfortunately landed this sixteen inch smallie. I teased that the jinx was now on and that the fishing was going to be tough for the remainder of the trip. All superstition put aside we both new that the fishing was going to be a challenge to say the least. He caught a few on the French Broad before we decided to make a move and head up the Little Pigeon River. Same story there. He caught a few and by the end of the trip he landed seven smallies. They were all quality fish between fifteen and seventeen inches. We’re not done yet as he has another trip scheduled for Friday, June 8. I wonder if he can make it three times in a row and get a strike on his first cast? Time will tell…

 

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