February 2001

 

2/27/01

I had four pretty good fish on at the same time today! That was just my bait. One of them weighed .9 lbs. Conditions were perfect, approaching cold front, little to no wind, overcast, upper 40's. Water on Norris is clearing out and warming up. Main lake is still in the upper 40's, but creeks and coves are mid 50's. I caught about 15 crappie today.....in the cast net. I'm hesitant to tell this story because I'm still traumatized from it, but here's the short version: I planned on putting new runners on the trailer after fishing today.....well I didn't have new bolts to put through the brackets that hold the boards in. I figured I'd make it home to put bolts in when I got back. I made it about 30 feet from the water and the boat nearly came off the trailer....well after unloading all my stuff into the truck, driving to the nearest store about 4 miles away, calling Ezell's wife and driving back, Ezell showed up with Tom with another trailer. He has my boat, I have my lowly trailer, parts ordered to fix it. Moral to the story: if you are going to fix your trailer in the wilderness, make SURE you know what kind of hardware it's going to take to do it right! No stripes today either, just a bunch of nervous bait.

 

2/26/01

River was running 48-50 today.....almost there. Bait was pretty easy. Fished Kingston. No fish, but I was doing more scouting than anything. Need to find some new water. Of course it's supposed to rain tomorrow, sucks. Thinking about going catfishing and changing my name to "Seein' Cats."

 

2/24/01

No fishes. Nice day, temps in the mid 60's. Water temps weren't nice though, 45-47 in the river. Fished Melton Hill, saw some stuff, nothing doing much feeding. May try Kingston tomorrow. Creeks are muddy, rivers are flowing, dams are generating, clarity is variable. Fish catching muscles are atrophied....must.....catch....fish.

 

2/23/01

Norris is warming up slooowly, and clearing up. Bait is tough, fishing is tough, but the weather was exceptional. We just basically trolled around looking at the scenery and commenting on which hill would be the best place to build your dream home. Lots of nervous baits means fish in the area, but nothing serious. This time next week, I'll have something to talk about. My 'lucky' River was 45.8 today, it's not time there yet either. Waiting patiently....

 

2/22/01

Allen and I bummed a trip to Norris out of Ezell today. He said the lake cooled off almost 2 degrees from yesterday. Aparently, the fish didn't like that much. We wound up trolling a couple of miles and just enjoyed the mid 40's temps, minimal breeze and the bald eagle soaring overhead. The water was 45.8 today. Eze says when it hits 50, watch out! There's going to be some big fish being caught VERY soon. They're still pumping water through the dams from the rain we keep getting....that severely disturbs the steam plant fisheries. Am going to fish the river soon.

 

2/20/01

Clarity is back up to 3' on Melton Hill, but temp in the river is running 44....brrrr. Bull Run can't quite keep up with that. My advice is to stay home or go somewhere else. The stripes are there, but not feeding real well. Wound up with a few white bass on the Mepps. Air was 58 today and no wind, overcast with a little bit of blue trying to peek through. Some guy in a bass boat at the ramp said it was cold...I chuckled to myself. Good day for fishing, not so good for catching. Kingston may be on the agenda.

 

2/19/01

W Winds 20-25, mid 40's, clear. Did NOT fish.

 

2/18/01

Today's Kingston tournament: won by Ezell and yours truly. What a formidable duo! Conditions were FAR less than perfect again, but we were the only boat to touch any fish. That equaled big fish pot plus heavy stringer. Water temps were 48 in the river, 64 in the outflow. Muddy, but clearing. Lots of current. Bait was easy. There's tons of birds there now constantly diving. The weather was chilly, but no wind made for an absolutely perfect day on the water. After the weigh-in at noon, we hiked it up to Norris. It was again a picture perfect day except that the lake was still a bit cool. 45 in the main lake, up to 55 in the backs of coves. Muddy in the creeks, clear in open water. No fish there, but it's almost time. Awesome day today.

 

2/17/01

Oh man, what a day. Water's up 2 feet at Melton Hill, 3 feet at Watts Bar, muddy and 10 degrees colder than two days ago! Low 40's and 15-20 mph winds. That means zero fish. River was down in the 48 degree range. We found some fish in the outflow at Bull Run, but they weren't eating what we were offering. Long, hard day on the water. We had one taker pull some drag and then got away, I don't think he ever got the hook. Probably a big catfish. Tournament tomorrow....Ezell and I may have a trump card, we'll know by the noon weigh in.

 

2/15/01

I saw Noah today. He wasn't having any luck either. One striper, one year old. I got so bored that I started fishing for bluegill and anything else I could get on my spinner. It turned out being pretty fun. I probably caught over a dozen fish while pulling baits for stripes. Species included: lm bass, bluegill, yellow bass, white bass, yellow perch, green sunfish, redear sunfish, longear sunfish, redbreast sunfish. I caught a drum and a buffalo carp in the cast net. Caught threadfins and gizzards. I guess that makes 14 species there. Not sure if that was all of 'em. I brought most of that enterage back and stocked the little pond here at my apartment complex. Rain, 60 degrees, no wind, water temp: 59, clarity: 3 feet. Good day.

 

2/14/01

Happy Valentines!

 

2/13/01

Melton Hill: First fish: 29 lbs and healthy. Caught on 10 lb test spinning. Beautiful fish, not so beautiful weather. I took a guest from Ky. out in his boat, Doug Meyer. He said that the 29 lber was worth the $100 in gas. We caught several white bass, yellow bass, and he nearly caught an all-tackle WORLD record today.....skipjack herring. It weighed 3.2 lbs, caught on a zoom fluke. We pulled baits for the remainder of the day without so much as a sniff until a feisty 10 lber lit up my shad at about 6:00. Five minutes later I was hooked up again, but lost that fish. Air temp: 44, 3" of rain (not really, but it rained from noon on), water temps 57-63, clarity 3 feet. High quality fish, low quality weather.

 

2/12/01

Melton Hill. It was a killer day as Steve and I and the beautiful weather combined for lots of fish. I used the bait left over from yesterday to start off today.

Our first fish was an 8.2 lb hybrid.

The second fish was a VERY FAT 24.6 lb stripe which Steve-o did a good job of landing.

Then we wore the heck out of white bass for about two hours. We each caught between 40-50 white bass and yellow bass. I am the yellow bass king by the way. Then we fished a bit more for stripes and he let me reel in a 10 lber that I caught lobbing a bait. No wind, .0001" of rain, upper 40's, water temp, 58, clarity 3 feet. Beautiful day, big fish.

 

2/11/01

Didn't get on the water until almost 5. Winds were light and temps were upper 40s. Bait was in the mouth of the middle cove. We pulled a lot of real estate and came up with several blow ups and boils, but no fish smell on our hands except for shad. Water clarity is 3 feet, temp was 49 at ramp, 57-62 in the river. Beautiful weather, uncooperative fish. Already have bait for tomorrow.

 

2/10/01

It was a tough day to fish. Started off 36 degrees and I don't think it broke 40. I was dressed for the predicted 48...got a little hypothermia I think. Wind was very steady 10-20 mph. Bait was right where I needed it. It was over 30 degrees colder today than yesterday, the fish should be screwed up right? We ended up with 5 in and out of the boat and lots lots more action. First fish was the biggest @ 12 lbs. Two more around 10 lbs and a 9.0 hybrid and a 6.7 hybrid. It was a good day for fishing and action, but bad day for wind and wave and cold. Allan had a 27 lber today. The fishing seems to be really consistent and getting better. Water temps: 76 in the outflow, 60-64 in the strike zone. Clarity, 3 feet.

 

2/9/01

I fished today for one reason, my dad came up to visit and go fishing. Predicted winds by our friends at TWC were 20-30....right on the money. There was one point when the wind was blowing so hard, my 55 lb thrust trolling motor (with fresh charged Stowaway) was just barely holding. We got bait fairly painlessly and were able to find some sheltered areas to drag our shad. Caught 15-20 white bass and lots of little yellows. I caught two drum on a mepps??? and a chunky 2 lb largemouth.

We boated 4 stripes: 5, 6, 10.0, and 19.6 lbs.

I think I broke off a larger one when my line got wrapped around the guide on the middle my rod and snapped at the initial hookup. We had a few more boils and missed potential hookups, but the fish seemed to be pretty serious when they saw the bait. The air temps were in the low 70's!! Water temp was 57-60, clarity 3 feet. Aside from gale force winds (and they were steady as could be), it was a great day.

 

2/8/01

Melton Hill. Strong winds from the S, 10-18 MPH, but laid down at around 6:00. Did something a bit different today. Got bait, then fished for white bass. Caught about 20-25 in an hour and then started pulling shad. Within 20 minutes I had a break off, two jerked baits and four 6-9 lb stripes in and out. I hooked up several more times, but snags, bad knots, light line and rascally fish meant no more mandatory hook removals of striped bass. Water temps varied from 58-61. Air was mid 60's. Water clarity: 2-3 feet. Real good day. A 10+ striper day is in the near future.

 

2/7/01

Today was spectacular. There was no wind, temps were in the low 60's and I caught LOTS of fish. I didn't count how many total fish, but strike to hookup ratio was about 3:1. That equals TONS of action. I broke two off, lost a couple after brief battles, and touched 5 stripes total. I threw the spinner for white bass and caught about 10. I put two smallmouth in the boat for good measure, 3.6 and 3.3 lbs.

There was a beautiful red-orange sunset

and a crystal clear moonrise.

Couldn't have asked for a better day of fishing and catching. Didn't get the 20+, but I think I broke him off on the flyrod. Bait is easy now, the threadfins have showed up already in good numbers. Water clarity, 2-3 feet. Awesome, awesome day.

 

2/6/01

Bummed a ride with Bill () to Bull Run. He did the dirty work before I got there and got bait. It was just a nice day outside. Temps in the mid 50's and the water ranged from 60-64. Clarity has decreased a little and is around 2 feet. Winds were troublesome at times out of the SW from 5-20 mph. We boated 3 fish and had several more crash on the baits. They were 10, 10, and 5 lbs.

I caught one of them on my fly rod and he was doing some serious drag running.

We saw one chase a shad near the bank so I started casting a spook from the front of the boat. I had a good 15 lb fish upset at my lure, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to eat it. He swirled at it 3 times, pretty exciting! I had another one boil on my super shad rap while waking it on the surface. Looks like lures may start producing some fish there. Great day of fishing.

 

2/4/01

Feeling much better, throat's still sore, but the sun and the temps in the 50's were calling too hard to follow doc's orders. Took the boat to Bull Run, wound up bumming a ride with Ezell because I couldn't get my newly fixed trolling motor to function at all. I later figured it out that if there's no power going to the motor, it won't work. HUH! My newly installed foot switch was not on (my head's not completely well yet). Winds were tolerable and out of the west. It took a while to hook up, but we got on a good 1 1/2 lb white bass. What a fight! (not) How do those things eat a big shad? He even swallowed it to rub it in!

Next fish was a little more impressive, an 8.5 lb hybrid that did some mean drag screaming.

Third fish was a 9.5 lb hybrid, great fish.

Fourth fish was a mean 10 lb striper. And for our final fish, I reeled in a VERY healthy 30.5 lb striper.

He demolished that poor shad on top and then ran from the left rear planer to the right side of the boat. He then proceeded to run UNDER the boat and I patiently waited for him to clear the outboard and the trolling motor. Up to this point, I don't think the fish knew he was hooked. Then the line got tight and the fish went about 50 yards downstream just like a freight train. It was your typical tired arms heavy duty battle. I did have the camera and we did get a good shot of the fish (soon to be up). What an awesome day! Made up for being sick for a week.

 

2/3/01

Very sick, no fishing today either. Went to emergency room to find out all I had was a sore throat!

 

2/2/01

Took trolling motor in for minor warranty work, kinda feelin' sick.

 

2/1/01

The bait at Bull Run is the big story, it has become consistently scarce. Never would have thought it. I had to borrow some bait from Bill to finish the day's fishing. I only caught 3 good sized shad in an hour of throwing the net. We caught two stripes that were 7-8 lbs and broke one off and had a good bit of action. If you can get bait, you can get action down there right now. Wind was about 10 mph out of the South. Temps in the mid 40's, water clarity 3 feet. Not a bad day at all.