There are pure-strain, landlocked striped bass all over the country, but there are only so many places in freshwater where these fish reach the same “cow” proportions as their coastal cousins. Being a Jersey guy, I know a thing or two about big bass (or pretend to, anyway), so it’s taken me a while to pull the trigger on a sweetwater striper hunt. That’s partially because it’s hard to break the mentality that the biggest bass are salty, and partially because picking the right body of freshwater and finding the right guy to get you on the big fish is tricky. But I finally found him. In three days on the Clinch River in Eastern Tennessee, veteran guide Bud White made me and fellow Northeast striper nut Mike Sudal realize that you can’t appreciate the fight of a 30-pounder until you need to lock down the spool with your thumbs to stop the fish from running into one of many downed trees that are always in close proximity. Enjoy the show.