Well the big fish finally hit the net, after 20 years of looking for her… If you live in middle Tennessee you already heard me holler the day Ms. Smallie hit the net, and what a day it was. It was one of those real high blue sky days and i was worried the bite was gonna be very slow and deep. Man was I wrong… I had my best client Lawrence Waldman with me and he was sure part of the catch. We were fishing below Old Hickory Dam in the current casting fat free shad’s diagonally to the bank. The bite slowed after the sun got up good and then they kicked on another turbine so we went to deeper diving fat free shad’s and worked them hard on the bottom were they would really hit the rocks hard and bounce off. This picked up the activity but still only 1 fish every 30 minutes. The only thing left to do was run downstream and find some slower current. Now I can’t tell you exactly where I caught the fish but I was real close to Opryland. This area constantly kicks out good fish for me, they really love that green crawdad fat free shad. On Lawrence’s first cast he got a 6 lber. To the boat and it did a double flim flam backstroke flip and left us crying. Well not to be deterred Mr. Waldman promptly put a 3 lber. In the boat and then Mr. Big hits him again. Now right off I had a funny feelin about Lawrence’s fish, it just took off across the bottom with no twist and turns. Lawrence is hollerin get the net, get the net and I am trying to convince him he has a drum but he is sure he has old Moby himself and must have the net now. Well sure enough it was a 7 lb. Drum and now Lawrence is laying on the floor in the fetal position winning. Being slightly distracted by the pain in my side from laughing at Lawrence, I was bringing my fat free shad in very slow with long pauses for added laughter at Lawrence, who is now contemplating going home. About that time, just as I moved my bait after a 20 second pause (although it was still drifting with the current) Ms. Big almost took the rod out of my hand. I have never had a fish hit so hard, when she hit she took drag and it was set pretty tight. The first time she came up she was at the end of a very long line and I figured we might be parting company. Thank goodness Excalibur has the best hooks in the world and this fish had it sideways in it’s mouth and I breathed a sigh of relief. I told Lawrence get the net, get the net and I know its not a drum, fast as fast can be Lawrence is by my side with the net. The first time the fish came by the boat it was mad as hell and we let it take line and fight a couple long more minutes. Now this has always been the hardest thing for me, letting them just swim under the boat on a tight line, all i can think about is putting my thumb on the spool and saying come here now. Patience payed off and on the next pass she slid into the net like honey on a hot biscuit. Well the rest is but a fond memory, the big fish still swims in Cumberland and one day you might catch her too but you better have good everything because fish like these take advantage of weak line and poor hooks. Don,t forget, set the hook, wear that life jacket and may the fish be with you.
Jim Duckworth – Ducktrail Guide Service