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North Carolina Sportsman

Float trips providing lots of smallmouth for French Broad anglers

Craig Holt
July 12, 2012 at 11:18 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Smallmouth bass are providing some good summer action on the French Broad River.
Chris Manderson
Smallmouth bass are providing some good summer action on the French Broad River.
One way to beat the heat of summer is a float trip down the French Broad River in Asheville.

Chris Manderson of The Whitewater Sportsman said he’s taking clients on half-day and full-day float trips in a raft and collecting from 40 to 50 smallmouth bass per trip.

“There mostly not large, but they’re a lot of fun,” said Manderson (828-216-1336). “They’re running in the 9- to 12-inch range, but we pick up a 16-incher every now and then.


“It’s typical summer fishing on the French Broad. The mornings are good, then you hit a lull from 1 to 3:30 p.m., then it picks back up in the evening to dark.”


In-line spinners on ultra-light spinning tackle work well along with small crankbaits for smallies.


"Sometimes, we anchor up when we get to a place I know holds fish, and they’ll throw jigs and little grubs,” Manderson said. “Most of the smallmouths right now are in shoals and small (rapids).”


Manderson’s different floats can be anywhere from Asheville to the Tennessee line and cover 3 miles during a half-day or 6 miles for an all-day trip.


“I ask (clients) if they’ve ever fished for trout in a river because smallmouth fishing is pretty much the same thing,” he said. “You fish inside seams and behind rocks.”


Manderson said he likes to “build a book” in the minds of anglers who’ve not fished for stream smallies.


“It’s important for anglers to figure out where fish are, because I can’t tell ’em where to cast every time,” he said. “I spend the first hour usually doing that, then they’re OK, and hopefully they learn a little about stream fishing for smallmouth bass.”  

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