Cliff Brittingham fished with me earlier this year and had such a good time he wanted to come back for Round 2. This time he brought Gene and Chris with him for the morning trip. He said, "We just want to catch fish," so we first went to my old reliable spot on Chickamauga Lake. Well, old reliable failed me. \:\( After 2 hours we'd caught one 16-pounder and four little eaters. I told 'em, "We're bailing out. If we can't catch numbers, lets go look for quality." They were all for it. It was a good move... a VERY good move. My first downriver spot was empty. Next two spots paid off. In about two hours of fishing we caught five between 5 and 16 pounds... then Chris punched a good fish. It went a solid 27 pounds. I told them I had time for one more drift before I had to head for Job #2, and we were just about to the end of the drift when "The Big One hit." I knew it was a good fish, but had no real idea how good until about five minutes into the battle and Cliff hadn't moved him very far of the bottom. I knew this was serious. It was the hardest, longest fight (on big tackle) I've ever witnessed. Cliff was begging for relief after a while. We told him he was on his own and I told Gene and Chris, "This is an honest-to-goodness Tennessee River catfish here!" When Cliff got him in sight, we all sort of freaked out. But about the time Cliff got him in sight, he decided he didn't like daylight and left again. The battled raged on for lots more minutes. He finally wore him down into grabber range. His lips were almost too big for grabbers but I got them on there, handed them to Chris while I grabbed on with two bare hands and we hauled him aboard. High-fives and exclamations all around... it's the biggest fish I've had a client land (to date). Like a dummy, I didn't have my big scales... and my 50-pound scales bottomed out. But he was 48 inches long with a 32-inch girth, which by the official formula, puts him at 61.44 lbs. Between the very long battle, and picture-takin'.... needless to say I was late to work. I showed the boss the picture and he forgave me. Life really is good and gettin' better every day.

Read my book, "An Outdoor State of Mind"
"The outdoors is not just a place, it's a state of mind."