I was contacted by Jeanne from Alabama. She and her husband (David) wanted to take their ten year old grandson  (Jagger) on a fishing trip while they were on vacation in Pigeon Forge. During our conversation Jeanne mentioned that Jagger wanted to catch a largemouth bass. He had not caught one before and my hope was that I could get him his first largemouth as well as some nice sized smallies. I told Jeanne that I predominantly fish for smallmouth bass, however, I knew some spots on the French Broad River that held some decent largemouths. It was absolutely a beautiful day on the river with blue skies, light winds, with a high around 80. We anchored in our first spot and on the first cast of the trip Jagger caught the first smallmouth bass of his life. It was about ten inches long and he couldn’t believe how hard it fought for its size. I have caught both smallies and largemouths in that spot and my hope was that he would catch that first time largemouth. I also joked that he put the “Hoodoo” on the boat by catching a fish on his first cast and that the fishing was likely going to go downhill for the rest of the trip. TVA had a really bizarre and inconsistent generation schedule that day at Douglas Dam. They made some changes at the last moment that threw a wrench into my plans, but we made the necessary adjustments and caught fish regardless of the conditions. After scratching out three smallies and no largemouths I decided to make a run to the dam for the last hour of the trip. TVA was generating 18,000 cfs. A release rate that I have had some success at fishing over the years. We had gotten about a quarter of the way through our first drift when Jagger yelled that he had a fish on. From the bend of the rod I knew that it was a pretty good one. You never know what species of fish your are going to catch below the dam, but when it went airborne I breathed a sigh of relief after I saw that indeed he had hooked a largemouth bass. In the past, I have caught some largemouths below the dam in heavy current but it happens once in a blue moon. After a couple of more jumps Jagger eased the fish to the boat where I quickly scooped up his first largemouth. Everyone was ecstatic that he got his wish. The fish was sixteen inches long and weighed an even two pounds. The picture of Jagger proudly displaying his first largemouth is included in this report. All on board caught fish which included a channel cat and white bass. They were great people to have on the boat and they all fished really hard and worked for every fish they caught. David asked what the best time was of the year was to catch smallies. I remarked that I catch them all year long, but the most productive time is in the spring when the smallies begin migrating from the French Broad in to the Little Pigeon River to spawn. The latter part of April and the first part of May over the years has been the sweet spot, but you will see fish start to arrive in the middle of March and leave as late as mid-June. David said that he would like to come back in the spring. He is a tax accountant and he said that it would be perfect timing to come back and fish for smallies and relax after the tax deadline of April 15. I hope they can make it back in the spring. It sure is a lot of fun!

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