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This story starts with a trip to the Jackson Kayak Factory back in October of 2019. My buddy Jason Cassetty and I drove down to pick up a Bite Angler but on the way home we found ourselves standing on the shores of Dale Hollow Lake. In that moment I spent gazing across the lake I knew I had to get back, I was instantly obsessed.

My 1st attempt to get on the water was in August of 2020 which turned into a trout trip down the Cumberland River. Attempt number 2 happened to be Labor Day weekend which lead to yet another trip on the Cumberland due to the overwhelming crowd at the lake.

The stars aligned when the Tennessee Bass Nation Kayak series scheduled their 1st event in December on Dale Hollow. After months obsessing over Dale Hollow I knew right away this was without a doubt the window I was looking for. The big smallmouth on this legendary lake are known to bite better in the colder months. Without hesitation I called my buddy Marcas, we paid the entry fee, found a cabin and locked in our commitment.

Day one on the lake was about trying to figure out what presentation these fish were looking for. Months of watching various YouTube videos had lead to an arsenal of different lure. The one that would play key for me was a 6th Sense,  3/4 oz Divine Hybrid Jig paired with a Bizz Baits, Cutter Craw on a 7′-6″ heavy rod. Not really what most folks think about when they think smallmouth bass, you can thank one Mark Zona of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show for that tip. If you have not watched Zona’s episodes on Dale Hollow… stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.

My 1st Dale Hollow smallmouth bass came within the 1st couple cast with the Divine Hybrid Jig. I’d made a long cast towards a submerged bridge in 40 foot and continued to drag my jig up to 20 foot never losing contact with the bottom. When the fish hit I knew right away it was big, it took off running hard and spun my Big Rig HDFD right around. Once I had that 4 pound smallmouth in the net the feeling was overwhelming. I’d done what I’d come to do, I’d caught a quality smallmouth bass on the lake where multiple world record smallmouth have been caught.

We fished the day out catching a few more 3 1/2 pound to 4 pound smallmouth. Tournament day was unfortunately a huge miss for me. The weather changed and my stubbornness for another jig bite got the best of me. I didn’t make the changes I knew I needed to make and oddly enough I’m okay with it. My mission was never really the tournament as much as it was that fish on that lake.

Since returning home I’ve been stuck day dreaming about those fish and that place. It’s not just the lake as much as it’s the whole area around it. I’m drawn back to the Dale Hollow / Cumberland River area, my experiences with the water and the locals have been amazing. I can’t wait to get back, immerse myself in that lake and fishing culture. Dale Hollow has me.

Stay Crazy,
Chad Brock