April 2002



Started out below Melton Hill.  Bait is plenty up around the dam.  We caught a few skipjacks and took off for productive waters.  Planed two jacks and two threads.  Caught a 15 lber on a thread and had a very serious 30+ take several swipes at one of the jacks...couldn't make her bite.  Big storm blew through and missed us by a mile or two, dropped 1" hail on some people, I heard.  Went to the Holston, fished white bass.  Boated a boatload and one .9 lb yellow perch.  Fun day out.  Wind was ridiculous, blowing from all directions at speeds anywhere from 5 mph to category 4 hurricane force.  Temps stayed in the upper 70s, cloudy until about 5, then the sun stayed out.  Tough day to stay on the water.



Hit it early today, 10:00.  Started out at Meltonio.  Got gizzards, got hits from some decent fish.  Couldn't hook up.  Got skipjacks, got hits from better fish, couldn't hook up.  It was hellish torture, so I left.  Went below Loudos and had a pretty good time.  Boated 4 stripes @ 15, 18, 20, and 25 lbs.  Had several other blow-ups from some good fish.  Weather was picture perfect all day, temps ran in the upper 60s with little to no wind, some sun early, but overcast the rest of the day.  Water temps and clarities: 67, 5 feet; 68, 3 feet.  Good fishing day.



Went out in the boat, cooked out, got engaged.



Pulled jacks.  Got hits.  Could NOT get a hook stuck in a jaw.  It was frustrating seeing 30 lb fish nail the bait and then not get stuck.  Things like that should be illegal, but that's fishing.  Just watching those critters get evil on the skipjack will get your heart thumping.  Weather was niiiiiiice, mid 60's (yes big cool-down from last week), NO wind, a few clouds.  Water was 67 degrees, clarity 5-6 feet with some light current.  Left a planer behind and realized it once we got back to the ramp...had to go back for a S&R mission.  Found her on the bank after a bit of spotlighting.  Perfect evening, no fish hooked.



Striperbowl tournament on Cherokee.  Didn't catch a thing.  Out of 48 entrants, only about a dozen fish were caught.  Seemed like the action was over very early.  Any time spent on the water after 8 was wasted catching time that should have been spent on more productive waters.  Just my little opinion about Cherokee this time of year.  I said my farewells to the place until about November.  Weather was nastily windy, 20 mph from the W, temps were 80's, blue sky with some clouds.  Little rain the night before.  Water was 74-75 degrees, 3 foot clarity.  Crappy fishing.



Snagged a few fish.  They were big and ugly.  Hope to get the pics soon.  I got a hot tip on these fish and took my buddy, Ryan, out for some drag-ripping action.  We got 9 fish total weighing about 350 lbs.  You'll just have to wait and see the photos.  Wind was virtually AWFUL, pushing us up a pretty good current.  Sunny, 85 degrees, blue sky.  Water clarity was about a foot, temp 77-85.  Neat trip.



The lake: Meltonio, the bait: live skipjack, the fish: 31.5 lb striper.  Water temp: 56-70, clarity 4+ feet.  Weather was perfect 80 degrees and sunny, no wind.  We tried cut-bait with no success after dark for a couple of hours.  The fish I caught was serious about eating that skipjack.  The amazing thing was that, after the fish was landed, the skipjack had slid up the line and was still good to go for another round!  Didn't connect any after that one fish.  



Tried the Rio, struck out.  Water temp is 61-63, clarity 3 feet, but a little stained.  Plenty of jacks, just no takers.  Weather was nice and warm, 85 degrees, slight SW wind 5-10 and mostly sunny changing into cloudy by dusk.  Didn't even see a big striped creature, they may be on the spawn.  If so, it happened about 2 weeks later this year than last.  Still good to be on the water.



For anyone wondering what a THIRD forty pounder in a week's time looks like, here's one:

Caught on a skipjack and released .

It was the only striper we hooked, but we had a chance at another one and donated the bait.  A little windy from the SW at 10-20, air was in the mid 60s with periods of light rain.  The sun came out from behind the clouds for a bit.  Water was 62 degrees clarity 3 feet.  We also managed to catch about 20 white bass and 14 million skipjack.  Good catch.



Began at Bull Run.  It's about over there.  Bait was super easy, but only got one 7 lber to hit.  Tried various other areas with no luck.  Headed way upriver, ramp was too shallow to put the Kraft in thanks to the 8' tall trailer.  Headed to little Compton, water was too far down to use that ramp, so I had to make the sacrifice and go to El Rio.  Skipjack were easy, the smaller ones weren't, however.  My only fish caught was a 38" 23 lber at about 8:00 + or -.  Had one other blistering run, but didn't get a hook in her.  Rainy off and on late in the day, sunny early.  Wind kicked out of the SW at 10-15, temps in the 70's.  Pollen is going to kill me slowly but surely.  Water is 67 at the Run, 61 on the Rio, clarities: 3, and 3 feet.  Nice day out.  Oh yeah, caught 20-30 whites and yellows for the hell of it.




Fished El Rio.  It is on.  Skipjack were on the menu and big fish were eating.  Caught two fish and had 3 or 4 others not get the hook.  Water temp was 59-62, clarity 2 feet.  First fish was a 41.5" 35 lb log.  The second one was a big momma 44" @ 42lbs.  Probably the hardest fighting striper I've ever caught.  She ran drag all the way to the opposite bank and then fought hard all the way to the boat.  25 lb line is a must, a stout rod is a must, and I believe that without the drag on that Penn, the fish would have ended up around a log that it tried to get into.  Both fish released healthy.  Weather was perfect despite the mini-downpour we had for a couple of minutes.  Temps dropped steadily into the 60's, skies were mostly overcast with a few breaks.  Wind blew 15-20 at times out of the SW.  Great fish!  That's two over 40 in a week!  Ridin' the wave of stripes.



Fishing on Melton Hill with my buddy Ryan.  He achieved bait before I arrived and caught two stripes in the meantime.  We pulled planers for a while and caught a 10 lber and headed to the steam plant outflow.  Temp there was 67-68, clarity 4 feet and the fish started breaking back where the water comes under the RR.  Couldn't get close to them in a boat for all the bank fishermen and another boat which was already there.  Funny thing was, we didn't see anybody, bank or boat, catch one fish out of all of that breaking which lasted for 5 minutes.  We caught some skipjack for cut-baiting and headed out into the river.  The fish started breaking on the opposite bank and we were right in the midst of it all.  Wound up catching 4 with a 12 lb hybrid, a 12 lb stripe, and two smaller stripes.  Three were on artificial.  We had live gizzards out and they wouldn't touch them.  Ran to the cut bait spot and tried for another couple of hours with no luck.  Weather was perfect, sunny and 70, but cooled down on the water after dark.  Shorts and t-shirt proved to be insufficient outerwear.....borderline hypothermia.  End total was 4 stripes and a hybrid. 



Daylight savings....ahhhh.  Was going to go catfishing, but Loudon generation was right, so I went striper fishing...weird!  Picked up a bank fisherman and headed up to the dam with a boxful of lures, no shad needed.  We ended up with 14 stripes.  3 of them in the 10 lb range and the rest were Kingston size.  Fun and no muss, no fuss.  Wind was RIPPING out of the S at 20-25.  That's the beauty of casting for them, less wind effect.  Air temp was 72, water was 56, clarity about 1.5 feet.  It's still stained.  Saw a few breaks, birds were diving when we got there and then stopped.  The fishing slowed down immensely after the birds left.  Good catchings.



"....And it swam off...."


It sounded like a cannonball hitting the water.  It was an EARTH-shattering, record-BREAKING extravaganza today.  Some people might even not believe it, but for those of you who follow my fishings, you know that I don't lie about fish.  We caught 4 fish that totaled 114 lbs.  The smallest of the four was this RECORD hybrid that weighed in at 16 lbs.  It hit a 7 " gizzard on a freeline somewhere in the neighborhood of here: .  Now click on the photo to see the next biggest fish and to read on.....

Weatherwise, it sucked.  The wind was incessant and blew hard from the SW at 15-25 all day.  Skies varied from clear throughout the early part of the day to a pretty thick upper layer of cirrus or stratus clouds almost overcast.  Clearing to mostly clear at dark.  Temp was probably 65 at its peak.  Water clarity was 3-4 feet.  Very Very tiring day.  Got to wash up and get some shuteye.  Records in the book, unbelievable catches today.



Began today on El Rio.  Temp's not right and clarity is off.  49 and 1-2 feet.  Caught a few skipjack and a mooneye on a grub, tried some planing and headed for Kingston.  Temp and clarity were right on there, 67 and 3-4 feet.  We managed a 'measley' 26 stripes ranging from 2-8 lbs.  Good wholesome clean fun.  Wind was nasty all day: NW at 15-20, air temps struggled to hit 55, and high blue skies.  All in all a good day's fishing.



Fished Kingston with same bait and tactics as last trip.  Caught 12 little stripes.  The wind was anally 15-20 and steady out of the S.  Clarity was down to a foot from Sunday's rain.  Air was in the 60's, clear sky.