I was contacted several weeks ago by Catherine from Oklahoma. She was going to take her husband (Danny) on a surprise trip to East Tennessee. Upon arrival in Pigeon Forge she had each days activities already planned. Each day would be a new surprise for Danny to enjoy. She told me that he was a an avid outdoorsman and tournament fisherman and that she wanted to surprise him with a river smallmouth bass fishing trip. We were scheduled to fish on October 29, but the remnants of Hurricane Zeta were supposed to move through during the day so we delayed the trip until today. In addition to the heavy rain there was supposed to be a sharp temperature drop. We were going from highs in the seventies to the low fifties which does not bode well for a good bite. I talked to Catherine on Thursday afternoon and was less than encouraging about the prospects for a productive fishing trip on Friday. I am honest with my clients concerning their upcoming fishing trips and will let them know if I believe it could be a tough day on the water. I allow them to decide if they want to move forward with the trip or they have the option to cancel or postpone it for another day. Catherine understood that I was not optimistic about our chances to catch some nice smallies. She talked to Danny and he said he understood that it was probably going to be a challenging day on the water but he wanted to go ahead and give it a shot regardless of the conditions. TVA was generating 14,000 cfs at Douglas Dam and had opened the “mud gates” so the water on the French Broad was stained. Danny and Catherine fished hard for the next five hours. They managed to catch four smallies, two white bass, and one of the biggest skipjack herring I have ever seen on the river. A picture of Danny with a nice sixteen inch smallie is included in this report. Catherine and Danny were extremely nice people and a great couple to guide. I give them props for fishing as hard as they did and scratching out a few fish when the bite was slow. However, it was a beautiful day with cobalt blue skies and the fall colors starting to appear in the foothills making it a win regardless of the fishing.