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The Knoxville stop of the Riverbassin Trail marked my first Riverbassin tournament of the year. The format for this series is awesome, allowing you to fish any flowing water within a 2 hour drive from the check in location. With the tournament check in being at Uncle Lems Mountain Outfitters in Knoxville, TN there were several options nearby that have good reputations for big bass. However, I had never fished any of these waters so I was depending on my buddy who lives in the area to put us on the fish. After checking the generation schedules we decided on the French Broad River. Heavy rains the day before the tournament had muddied up many of the eligible rivers but the French Broad remained low and clear due to the lack of generation from Douglas Dam.

The river was much larger than I am used to fishing in Kentucky but at the same time very similar with clear flowing water over the rocky shoals and riffles. We quickly realized that the big smallies that inhabit the river were holding near the shallow shoals with the quicker moving water. My team Yakmaster partner Matt Schaefer and I caught fish on a variety of lures including topwater plugs, crankbaits, jigs, and plastics with most of our bigger bites coming on bottom contact baits. My 49” stringer was anchored by an 18.75” smallmouth and Matt’s 54.25” total was greatly elevated by a 20” largemouth giving team Yakmaster a 103.25” total. Matt and I were fortunate enough to finish first and second individually while also taking home the team title.

The Riverbassin Trail and Uncle Lems Mountain Outfitters put on a great tournament. I will definitely be back for the Knoxville stop next year and am looking forward to the rest of the 2014 Riverbassin season.