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I had the pleasure of guiding Brian and Julie from Evansville, Indiana today. The weather could not have been any better with highs in the mid-sixties and light to nonexistent winds. The fall color along the Little Pigeon and the French Broad Rivers in this neck of the woods is a little past peak, but that did not diminish the beauty of this day in search of river smallies. This fall has been unusually warm with the water temperature today in the Little Pigeon still in the low sixties. We started the trip fishing the French Broad with both live bait and some soft plastic crawfish baits on stand up jigs. It became quite apparent after about an hours worth of fishing without a nibble that this was going to be one of those tough days on the water. A ray of hope suddenly appeared when Brian set the hook and the seven foot spinning rod he was holding bent under the weight of a decent fish. You never know what you have on in the French Broad River due to the variety of its fish species, but I was happy and relieved to see a nice smallie roll at the surface during the course of the fight. Brian fishes the rivers and creeks in Indiana out of his kayak and is an avid smallmouth fisherman. After the fish was landed it measured at 17 1/4 in. I was elated to hear that was the longest smallie he has ever caught. Today would be a day of firsts not only with Brian’s longest smallie but for Julie as well. More on that later. I decided that we should make a move up the Little Pigeon River since the fish in the French Broad were not in a cooperative mood. Moving from one river to the other does not always solve your problems with a tough bite. Sometimes what is plaguing one river with a slow bite is area wide (For example, rising barometric pressure and changing weather conditions) and can equally affect the other river as well. Fortunately, that did not happen. As we entered into the waning hours of the day the fish finally started to feed in the middle of the river. Julie started to get into the action and landed her first smallie. She was really excited after landing the fish and it finally dawned on me that this might be the first fish she has ever caught. She did mention at the beginning of the trip that she had not fished very much and that the trip was really for Brian. She confirmed that this was indeed her first fish. She had fished a couple times as a child on some farm ponds, but did not catch anything. This made my day as a guide knowing that I was able to take part in a fellow angler catching their first fish. The bite continued to pick up as often it does during the last hour of the day with them catching several more smallies. Just as we were beginning to lose our light at the end of the day Julie set the hook on what was quite obvious her biggest fish of the day (and her life). After a spirited fight, I slid the net under what turned out to be a nice catfish. At the beginning of the trip I did witness a bet placed between the two of them. As I recall, who ever caught the “biggest fish” got to name their restaurant of choice and the loser had to pay. I have a feeling that Julie ate well and Brian’s wallet was a little lighter later that evening.