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It was another beautiful and yet chilly morning that welcomed us to fish the waters of the French Broad River. I had the pleasure of guiding Arlie and Mark from Jacksonville, FL. TVA was cooperative again with very little generation at Douglas Dam. After yesterday’s successful trip with Michelle and Liam I was stoked about today’s river smallie adventure. The smallies have not been as active lately, but both anglers said they were more than happy to catch a variety of fish species and that they just wanted to feel that pole bend. The trip started slowly, and it was quite obvious that the fish were shut down as was the surrounding wildlife. Nothing was moving. No birds were singing, no insect activity or animals of any kind were in motion except for a distant flock of Canada Geese that were heading westbound down the river. It was as if all of Mother Nature had gone to sleep and the fish right along with it. I have seen this numerous times before, and my hope was as we got into the later hours of the morning that the fish would start to turn on. And that is exactly what happened. Arlie and Mark started to catch a variety of species of fish that included smallies, white bass, and catfish. Mark was the first to tag a smallie. He caught several more but for some weird reason they were turning up their noses when Arlie would make a cast into that very same spot. Don’t get me wrong he was catching fish, but he had never caught a smallmouth bass. Not to mention that he was on a guided fishing trip with River Smallie Adventures. TVA decided to release the water about an hour earlier than predicted. So with two generators or more cranking I decided to make a run to the dam and take advantage of the feeding frenzy that might ensue during the early stages of the water rise. During our first drift Arlie set the hook on something that appeared to be small in size, but as he worked it towards the boat I was happy to tell him that it looked like a smallie. I was relieved when he swung the fish over the gunwale and safely into the boat. It indeed was a smallie. He was grinning ear to ear as I snapped a couple of quick pics. Now the pressure was off the guide. Arlie could now check smallmouth bass off his list of species of fish that he had never caught before. Over the next hour and half they both caught a mixed bag of fish species which included white bass, blue and channel catfish as well as a bonus walleye for Arlie. Another specie of fish he had never caught before. We were running out of time and before we had to head back to the ramp I suggested we make one last drift. I said on several occasions I have had clients who have caught a fish on their last cast or drift of the day. I exclaimed that it was the fourth quarter with thirty seconds to go (I should have said three seconds) and that we needed to kick a field goal to win the game. Arlie piped up “Heck field goal. I want to score a touchdown!” As we made our last drift it was quite obvious that the early feeding frenzy had died down quite a bit. As we neared the end of our drift I was getting ready to ask the two of them to reel in their lines when all of a sudden Arlie yelled that he had something on. As the fish neared the surface and he began to slide it to the boat I saw the familiar gold and white flash of a walleye. It was a real nice one that measured twenty inches even. I asked Arlie if it was was a field goal or a touchdown. He let me know without hesitation that it was a touchdown! ┬áIt was a fitting end to a great fishing trip with a couple of great guys.

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