March 2001

 

3/31/01

It was a little cool as we were about 7 degrees shy of the predicted high and without any sunlight at all (also not predicted). The white bass, yellow bass and skipjack were fairly willing today. The most notable event was when I got a 1 lb+ skipjack ripped off of my 7/0 circle hook, and the mooneye which came back with no scales on his body. It is time for BIG fish in the river. If I was going to book a trip with a striper guide for trophy striper, I would do it from now until mid-July. *hint hint* Despite cool temps: air 52; water 51; clarity 2-4 feet...and no sun, the lack of wind made for a good fishing and catching day.

 

3/29/01

Another successful trip below the dam. The fish are scattered, but aggressive. The lure of the night was a 1 oz silver Kastmaster on a steady retrieve casting upstream. Hooked up on 4 and landed 2. Water temp is still 50-51 and clarity is 4-5 feet. Air temp was 48 and it rained all day except for when I was fishing. Winds were light out of the east. We're hitting them with flyrod tomorrow.

 

3/27/01

Total brain fart day. At least Ft. Loudon threw in 5 stripes to compensate for my retardation. My biggest blooper was filling my bait tank OVER the rim.......with 3 tackle boxes in it. There's nothing quite like a tackle box that tests the buoyancy of your lures BEFORE you tie them on. There's lures all over the living room now drying out. There was a double break in on trucks at the boat ramp yesterday before I showed up. There was an officer there and both of the trucks that got broken in. One had a broken out window and had some stuff stolen and the officer said it looked like they tried to steal the other truck, an F-150. Hopefully they get thrown in jail for a few years to think about it. Back to the fishing. Water temp was 51, air was upper 40's, clear skies with E winds at 5-10, clarity was 4-5 feet. First fish came on a bomber long a, blue and silver: 10 lbs. Second came on a 2 oz Kastmaster, silver: 16 lbs. Third, fourth and fifth came on my own creation, my 1 oz shad head with a 6" Rattlesnake Lil' Jerk Twitch in smoke/blue color: 10, 8, 8 lbs. Fun fishing, and not too hard to get hooked up on a lure. Rain in the forecast, but warmer temps!

 

3/25/01

Yet another beautiful day. Had success at three different locations. Started off at Melton Hill at 9 AM, had bait within 10 mins and had a 21 lb stripe in the boat within 30. One more blow up after that and we did a bit of scouting and headed up the river. The skipjacks are in there and I think I got a hit on one behind a planer board, but not completely sure about it. He did have a few scales missing on both sides near the tail... I'm excited about that fishery right there. Then we went below Ft. Loudon with our bait from Melton Hill and racked up 4 more fish @ 8, 8, 14, and 18 lbs within 40 minutes. I did manage to hook one up on a husky jerk, but the fish ran at me and coughed up the hooks pretty quick. The wind blew all day N, shifting to W from 5-15, mostly 15. Air temps were slightly cool in the upper 40's and water temps were slightly unknown due to the nature of the temperature gauge...or should I say temper-tantrum gauge, Jason? Clarity was 5 feet on MH, 2-3 up the river, and 4-5 below the dam. Minimal difficulties and some cooperative fish made for a fine day.

 

3/24/01

Jodi and I headed for the hills today and wound up in the mountains at about 4,000 ft elevation. Cherokee National Forest on hwy 165 along the Tellico River is a great drive. I stopped and fished but I don't know why. Trout aren't my thing (unless they're on my hook trying to aggravate a big stripe). We visited the Tellico hatchery and saw about 3 kajillion rainbows and one of the raceways had some trout that would push 10 lbs! We saw the 'famed' Bald River Falls which has a vertical of over 100 feet...they said the rivers were really running full from all the rain. It was a neat place and we even got to see some kayakers and canoers go down a class 5 rapid. I'll get those pictures if they turn out. Back on the stripes tomorrow.

 

3/23/01

The weather was perfect...65 degrees and sunny with very little breeze out of the SE. We fished for everything and pretty much caught it. My wonderful girlfriend didn't want anything to do with my first fish...a 12 lb carp caught on a breadball. Second fish was a deformed 3 lb blue cat. Jodi started outfishing me as she caught two yellow bass in the Little T arm below Tellico dam. I caught a yellow and a baby spotted bass. Mission accomplished: smell like fish when you get home. Jodi says, "EW."

 

3/22/01

Parked it at Kingston and did pretty well on small fish. Our biggest stripe was about 5 lbs, but we had lots of action. Had a great time busting yellow bass on grub and spinner virtually every cast up until dark. Air was upper 50's, water in the outflow was 62 and clarity was 5-6 feet. Unusually clear for Kingston. Had a good time catching fish.

 

3/21/01

Got bait for tomorrow's trip. Took 3 hours. When I found it, I found ALL of it. One throw was all it took after about 50 worthless throws. It was in 59 degree water adjacent to 52 degree water on the downstream side of a vertical thermocline.

 

3/20/01

Tried the artificial approach again at Ft. Loudon dam. The fish were definitely there and BREAKING, but for some reason, they were wise to my lures. I tried just about everything I had in the box. Hooked up on the Yo-Zuri mag darter, but lost the fish after a couple of minutes. Finally landed a 13.0 on a 3/8 oz white bucktail of all things. Winds were NASTY 20-25 out of the E. Air was 46, water was 51, clarity 2-3 feet. Frustrating frustrating. Still came home smellin' fishy though.

 

3/19/01

Could NOT catch any shad at Ft. Loudon tonight. Water temps were 51-52 and clarity improved to 3 feet. The generators kicked on at 6 and I had no bait. Decided to chunk artificials.....GOOD IDEA! Caught 3 in about 30 minutes. Had a 11.3, a 17.0, and another about 10 lbs hit a 5" sassy shad rigged on my 1 oz shad head. I have already taken the bait tank, extra battery, anchor, cast nets and planer boards out of the boat...it's HUGE now. I can't wait to chunk some more lures. Air temps were upper 50's and winds were 10-15 out of the W but died at about 5. All in all a great time fishing and catching.

 

3/18/01

Late start: 3:00.....should have been later. I didn't land a fish until 6:50. I forgot to mention how bait was yesterday...I loaded up at Bull Run and fished that bait everywhere else, small to medium gizzards yesterday. I hadn't tried getting bait at Loudon dam yet, but figured I could. It was not too hard, and BIG threadfins. Water temp was 51-52 until they kicked the power on and it fell to 50.6. Clarity was about 2 feet. Air was 55, winds were a solid 20 mph out of the NE. Mostly clear skies. The generators were OFF yesterday when I fished and they turned two on at 6:38 today. Hmmmm, did anybody notice what time I landed my first fish? Correlation to when the generators kicked on? maybe..... yes, sort of. I had several hits and slaughtered baits proir to the generation including a VERY impressive hookup on the fly rod...I never turned the fish...didn't even slow it down for about 30 yards before the hook pulled out. Not sure I could have done anything with it if the hook had stayed in. Well.....after the first fish (about 8 lbs) I doubled up on a 15.5 and a 12 and caught another 12 and missed a couple more in a span of about 15 minutes. Tried a sassy shad for a bit in the boils, nothing doing there. This is early for the fish to be up there, but they are there in fairly good numbers. Awesome 30 minutes...the wind even laid down calm when the sun went down. Back to work tomorrow, but will try to hit the dam again as much as possible this week until something better happens by. (shouldn't be long for that either) Nice day.

 

3/17/01

Lonnnnnnng day. Fished Melton Hill (Bull Run), Watts Bar (below Melton Hill dam), Watts Bar (Kingston), and Watts Bar (below Ft. Loudon dam). That's 4 separate put-ins and take-outs and about 80 miles. It's what you have to do this time of year when the fish are starting to hit everywhere. Temps were: 56-57, 49-50, 62 (outflow), and 50. Clarities: 4 feet, 1-2 feet, 4 feet, 1-2 feet. Air temp was 45 and winds were NW at 15-20. Overcast until 3 or 4:00. I didn't wear enough clothes again, froze to death. It wasn't worth it either. All I got was a teeny hybrid at Bull Run and a big white bass below Melton Hill. Had a couple of HUGE blow ups and stolen baits below Ft. Loudon, but no hook ups. Wind and cold and hunger finally got to me at about 5:30 and I headed in. Probably going to hit Loudon dam again....encouraging stuff there today.

 

3/14/01

The new job has been a breeze so far....all schooling. Fishing today at Melton Hill from 4-7 pm. Air temps were 60 and dropped to probably upper 40's by the time I left. Water temp was 58-64, clarity: 2-3 ft. Had several baits do their best to try and get eaten, but failed. They just became casualities of war. One bait sacrificed himself to the striper gods, and another one did his job. It was about a 12 lb fish that I hauled all the way into the side of the boat on the flyrod only to have him steal my hook and swim off, prick. That was it. Repaired trolling motor is exceptional, but it's screwing up my Eagle now. Tit-for-tat I guess. Nice evening on the water, very slight winds.

 

3/13/01

Trolling motor pick-up day. John Swallows in Cleveland does great work, highly recommended. It's about a 140 mile round trip though.

 

3/11/01

Started off at Melton Hill. Bait is easy in the backs of coves. Surface temp was 55-56, clarity 4 feet. It was going to be a good day until my battery died completely and I had no trolling motor to battle the steady S winds of 5-15. Caught 3 fish, all on the fly rod! Two stripes and a hybrid all about 8 lbs...the hybrid went 8.5. I decided to hike it to Kingston and anchor down since I had no power. Wound up being a great choice. I caught about 8 stripes from 1-10.3 lbs. The second biggest was about 7....good fighters. Bait at Kingston is tough, but still available if you look on the dropoffs from flat to channel in 15-25 feet of water. Water temp was 65, clarity: 1-2 feet. Air temp today was around 60, winds laid down at about 5. Full time with Bellsouth starts tomorrow. I don't think they'll put too bad of a damper on my seein' stripes. Superb day of fishing and catching today.

 

3/10/01

Just a beautiful day to be outside. One more free day until the REAL job. Journals will slow down, but stay tuned. Two words: Daylight Savings. Melton Hill was good to me today. Caught two 8 lbers on the fly rod, great fighters. Also pulled up a brute 25 lber, it measured 37 inches. Great fight on the 10 lb spinning. The fish hit near a channel buoy and I was sure it was going to wrap around it when I realized I wasn't slowing it down with 10 lb test. Fortunately, it stayed RIGHT beside the buoy and never cut back behind it. Took about 10 minutes to subdue and for a couple of minutes, the fish was directly under the transducer. It was cool watching the fish fight on the little TV. I had one more mangled shad and missed the hookup. 3 out of 4 isn't bad though. Threw in a couple of white bass for good measure. Here's the latest incident: Norris Craft, 80 mph, ran over my fly line. Do you think he was going to do that and not know about it? NOPE. I reeled my five lines as fast as I could, and followed to the boat ramp. They were already out of the water hooking up the boat when I approached. I said, "How's it going?" They said, "Fine." I said, "Did you know you ran over my line just a minute ago and you didn't need to?" The one guy said, "Where?" I pointed and said, "Right there," motioning like it really mattered where. I said, "I saw y'all coming and tried to get out of the way, but you cut real close to the back of my boat. Next time give a man a little more space. I appreciate it." The guy said, "Sorry about that buddy, I couldn't really see too good going that fast. I didn't know you were trolling." Like he could tell how someone is fishing at that speed anyways. The moral is: if you are going to go 80 mph, give other boats plenty of space because it could damage your motor as well as the other guy's line. It was still a good day. Air temp: 58, water, 58 + or -, clarity, 4+ feet.

 

3/8/01

Cherokee. Cold water. 45 surface temp at 8:30 this AM. Yes, AM, I got up early....weird. Ended up barely breaking 49 in places. Wind was steady 20+ gusting over 30, 2' swells on the main lake. Don't think it hit the predicted 57, even though it was sunny. Wind chills kept me cool all day. Within 2 minutes of putting bait out...hook up. Planer board. 13.7 lbs. Fought like a catfish, but was a strippety striper. Had two more serious grabs and missed hookups. Packed it on the trailer at 4:00 and Allen showed up. Bummed a ride back out. We hooked up three and boated two more in the EXACT spot I got all three of my hits. One of them was 13.7, the missed one was fairly good, and the third one was about 9 lbs, very skinny fish. We were done at 7:20...that's 11 hours on the water. THEN there was this full moon thing and I had my lure box and casting setup. I put my boat BACK in the water and headed out again until 8:30. Heard a couple of blow ups, but surface temps just aren't there thanks to the cool snap this week. Wrapped it up and went home. After 12 hours on the water and 2.5 driving time, I'm smoked. Good night.

 

3/7/01

Fished Kingston. Small fish running rampant. Caught two baby stripes and lost several more. Sat in the outflow and caught the snot out of whites and yellows. Had a 1.0 lb yellow. I didn't have enough gas to go anywhere, but it was fun. Outflow: 64, river 52. Air was upper 40's and wind was blowing pretty good out of the NW, 15-20. TWC predicted 5-10, hmm, never saw whitecaps off of 5-10 MPH winds before. The anchor even drug at times. Still a pretty good day.

 

3/4/01

Started off nice, 58 degrees, slight winds at around 10:00. We caught a few white bass out of the Holston, but nothing to brag about. It sprinkled and spit rain at me and my Virginia buddies for a while and then the winds picked up. At about 1:00, I decided to head back before it got worse (yeah right!). It was blowing 25 mph steady with gusts to 35. The little boat took a pounding, but got us back safely. A bolt broke on my trolling motor bracket from the beating it took. Trolling motor is on the fritz, it quit working completely today. This is the third time in less than a year it has had fatal problems. I will take it in for warranty work AGAIN. I don't know why Minn Kota put a 3 year warranty on the motor.

 

3/3/01

The 90% chance of rain magically turned into partly sunny today....thank you, Weather Channel. Now, let's see if it really snows tomorrow evening. The white bass cooperated nicely today for my out-of-town visitors. My old college roomie and his better 7/8 came down from Virginia to do some fishing. We had just a beautiful day on the water. Temps were in the mid 50's with little to no wind. Water temp was 58 at Bull Run and 52 in the river. Clarity is 3-4 feet. Bait wasn't a problem, but catching stripes was. They were there, but all they did was make our bait nervous. Hopefully, they will do something tomorrow for us.

 

3/2/01

First outing since the trailer incident. Turned into a white bass extravaganza. Well, not really an extravaganza, but I caught about a dozen in an hour or so. The wind is blowing and the river is still booking. I had a few whites pushing 2.5 lbs...lunkers! ha ha Some of the smaller ones will be dinner. Temps: mid 50's water temp: 49-53, clarity: .5-1 foot.