Bryson City Seasons — One Big Fish

This is from the thirty-third chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


After our hike, we returned to the boat.

“Son!” John exclaimed as he pushed the boat away from the shore, “let’s go catch us some big fish.”

He started the motor, and we were off—out of the cove and down the lake to the back side of the dam.

After he turned off the motor and set the boat up to troll, he commented, “Son, there’s some monster bass along this dam. No one fishes for ’em but me. Catch and release is what I practice up here, so these fish have gotten mighty big. But they’re also hard to catch—they’ve gotten awfully smart.”

We changed lures and began trolling the dam. Several hikers waved to us from the dam, heading to and from the national park. John noted, “The Appalachian Trail crosses right across the dam. But people can access all sorts of trails into the park. But the Appalachian Trail brings the most.”

“Just how long is it?”

“Well, the Appalachian Trail starts down in Georgia and extends over two thousand miles—all the way up to Maine.”

He pointed to the south end of the dam. “There’s a trail shelter just up there. The hikers call it the Fontana Hilton.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, I think it’s because of the hot showers at the TVA Visitors Center.”

Suddenly John dropped his pole and his eyes got as wide as saucers. I looked over to the edge of the dam—perhaps thirty feet away—and saw an amazing sight. It was a hole in the water. The hole was perhaps ten inches in diameter, and in an instant, it closed.

“What was that? I’ve never seen anything like that!” I exclaimed.

John dropped to his seat and was rapidly opening his lure box. “There must be a nest up in the works under the edge of the dam.” He was cutting off his lure. “I seen a little baby bird fall out into the water.” He found a huge lure that looked like a small mouse. “Was gonna point it out to you—when this huge bass come up and opened her mouth and done sucked in that chick.”

“I saw the end of the action but never saw the bird!” I cried.

He had the lure tied on and in seconds was flipping the lure to the exact spot. He played the lure for only a few seconds when the hole opened again.

John set the lure, and the fight was on. The enormous fish would run fifty to seventy yards of line off John’s reel, and then John would begin reeling her in. Then she’d run again. The process was repeated over and over until he got her close to the boat.

“Oh my goodness! Looky there. Looky there! Grab the net, Doc. She’s a monster!”

Then I saw her. She was huge!

“Bet she’s twenty pounds!” he cried. “Oh my goodness!”

He played her up to the surface—less than four feet from the boat. She looked like a small barracuda—not a largemouth bass. John was slowly lifting the end of his rod, drawing her closer and closer. “Oh my! Goodness gracious, looky here! Get that net over here and in the water under her! Slow and gentle. Don’t scare her!” I dipped the net in the water and began to work it out toward the fish.

“Oh my ever-loving goodness!” John exclaimed.

Then she turned her head to the side, gave a flick, threw off the lure, slapped her gigantic tail on the surface, and was gone.

“Oh no! No!” John whispered as he slumped into his chair.

He took a deep breath. “I’ve been tryin’ to catch her for years. That’s as close as I’ve ever gotten.” He smiled at me. “Least I got to see her eye to eye.”

“Man, that was some fish, John.”

“Yep. She was a beaut. Well, what say we go home?” “Sounds good to me.”

Back at the dock, we cleaned the fish and wrapped them in freezer paper. John handed me the fish and pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket.

“Take these fish back to Barb. And here’s my favorite recipe for grillin’ or fryin’ or broilin’ these fillets. They’ll be some good eatin’.”

“Thanks, John. I appreciate it.”

As we were walking off the floating docks, we heard a voice thunder across the piers. “Doc, Carswell tell ya any fish stories?” We looked across the water to see Carl Walkingstick sitting on a bench.

I cupped my hand to yell back. “No need for him to tell me any stories, Carl. I saw him catch a monster bass.”

“How big was she?” he hollered back.

I held up my right arm—my right hand stretched out in the air—while keeping my left hand in my pocket.

“This big!” I exclaimed.

Carl’s laughter ricocheted off the walls of the cove. John and I laughed.

He slapped me on the back. “Let’s go home.”

I felt I was already there.


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3) 
  33. One Big Fish
  34. Memorial Day (Part 1); (Part 2)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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