March 2003



Fished the Bar again today.  Drew up some big fish, but couldn't get them to commit to eating.  Weather was the story, it was awful: N wind 15-20 gusting to probably 35 or 40.  Snow.  Air about 40 degrees.  Water was 53-57 degrees and clear.  Turned in early to save the extremities from frostbite.

Aswipe Jr.:


Started out a loss and ended up a win.  Tried an early season jaunt to the lost Cumberlos.  The water was 44.8 degrees, stained, and flowing 2.5-3.4 MPH.  Not a pretty picture.  Headed back to town and stopped off at Watts Bar.  Picked up a 23 and a 27 and missed another good fish in the last hour of light.  Should have spent all day out there.  Weather took a turn, rained all the way to the Cumberland, was in the 40's and winds 15+ mph from the N.  Nice stripes back home though.



Fished for a loss in the wind.  Didn't get any generation and I don't think that helped the cause.  Water was 51 degrees, good clarity.  Octopi Hollow didn't produce.



More serious.  Three hits, three lip-hooked stripes, three releases.  Two 15 lbers and a 20 lber.  (actually 14.5, 14.5, and 19.5 lbs)  Shad on planers and it was fun.  Water was 50 degrees, clarity was good.  Action was slow, but steady.  Baghdad got a 5,000 lb 'bunker buster' today and they loved it.  Go troops!  Awesome weather despite a stout E-SW wind 10-15 mph, 45 degree start to a 70 degree high and sunny.  Nice stripes.


Back to more serious stuff.  Pulled shad on boards, had two huge blow ups and no hook ups.  Turned into a bass fisherman (lure chucker) and caught 4 little bass and a bunch of yellows.  Wind got N and nasty and air was colder than I expected at about 55.  No stripes.



Caught several rock bass (redeye) and a tiny smallie on the Little Pigeon R. in Pigeon Forge.  It was fun watching those little guys dart out from under the rocks to nab the lure.



Remember Aswipe Pointe.  Ahh yes.  It was windy, so we squatted low today.  We had some fairly serious action around noon on planers, but the fish just blew up and left.  A couple went as far as grabbing the bait and letting go, but no hookups during all the madness.  We caught a 10 lber on a planer and I landed another 10 lber on a wildeye.  Our only other fish of the day was fairly notable, a 37 lb hoglet of a striper.  Water was 55 degrees, clarity 1-2 feet.  Weather was strong SW breeze at 15 and gusty, overcast (wrongly predicted again partly cloudy), temp in the 60's.  Wind calmed down and it was nIIIIce.  Awesome day, the big fish catching has officially begun for 2003.

Here is Mr. Aswipe:




Had the fervor from yesterday and headed back to Melton.  The fish were turned on a little more and we raised about a dozen boils and blow-ups by noon.  Only one fish hooked up, a 10 lber.  We had one blow-up that was a big fish, seriously big.  Trucked the operation south where 10 minutes of fishing yielded our only other hit/landed fish of the day.  A healthy 18 lber.  We got a little wet in the morning, but the sun was out while it rained.  The wind blew N at 10-15 until about 10:00, and then slowly laid down.  It was pretty much calm the rest of the day and it cleared up by sunset.  Nice prediction by the weather again, 70% rain and a chance of thunderstorms.  They really suck at predicting the weather, I could tell by the radar and water vapor loop that it was going to be a nice week here.  Why can't they get the weather right?  Saw stripes and on a great day to do it.  Also caught  my first muskie ever.


The skipjack weren't to be had on the river today.  Conditions got muddier, 6" clarity made it hard for anything to feed.  Headed to Meltonio.  Bait's so easy, you can get it with a 3' cast net.  We fished hard and long and had a very few hits and nervous baits until about 6 pm.  Something dropped a bomb on our bait and it was on.  There was about 30 seconds of drag-stripping and then it was over.  The fish was over 30 lbs, I saw it when it blew the doors off the shad.  No stripes.  Weather was fairly perfect, 60's, overcast and the 70% rain prediction turned into just a minute occasional sprinkle.  No wind again.  Beeutiful.



Began on Melton Hill, caught one chrysops with stripes, but no saxatili.  Headed to Kingston.  Had a small win.  We boated 15 more of those young punks.  Biggest weighed 6 lbs.  It was a little slow at first, then we got in the groove.  The 70% rain prediction turned into a few very light sprinkles and we actually had sun earlier on in the day.  No wind, perfect fishing conditions.  Water is 51 in the river, 68 in the outflow.  Clarity is around 2 feet.



Pulled an all-dayer at Kingston.  The action was spotty, but we managed to land 20 spunky 1-2 year olds.  Many were taken on the wildeye.  The fish weren't in the outflow early on, but moved in later in the day.  Odd generation schedules made the river bite inconsistent, but good when it was on.  No big fish anywhere.  Temps and clarities similar to yesterday.  Weather cooperated immensely, the call was 70% rain and we got no rain at all.  Temps in the 60's.



Stone Cold 3:16.   Got started on MH at about noon.  Got big gizzards no problem and pulled some boards with no serious fish around.  Moved the setup to the respective dam and had another loss.  Not bait there and not many fish.  Temp was upper 48's there.  Rolled on downstream about 20 miles.  Bait is still on the move, but one throw was all I had to make.  Very few fish in the outflow, caught 3 on shad and 3 on a 1/4 oz bucktail.  All from 1-3 lbs.  Temp was 68.  Moved out into the river (temp 51) and put out a couple boards.  Immediately had a hit and missed it.  The fish started breaking sporadically and I landed 8 more in the next 45 minutes from 2-10 lbs on live and artificial.  Had one triple and a double by myself.  It turned out being a good win, total stripes: 14.  Weather was nearly perfect, a little windy (SW 10-15), but the air got up to about 70 and it was variably cloudy.  It was a nIIIIIIce day for catching.



Back to TN, and that rhymes with win.  Took trout to the V.  Not much going on, a few boils, but nothing serious, more territorial pissing than anything.  Headed across the river and through the fields for some river fishing.  Jacks were tricky, but there.  Nothing hitting on them.  Got a few and headed for MH.  Had some exciting stuff happened, and Jason landed a 13 lb hybrid in and amongst the melee.  His biggest, and caught on a trout.  I had a few hits and misses on a super secret new kind of hook, not impressed.  Tried some jacking, slim pickins, most of them are 2 lbs out there.  Nice day, light winds, shifting from NNE to SW.  Low pressure moving through, mostly cloudy, moon is about 3/4 waxing.  You may remember a certain 1 1/2 lb rainbow trout from 1/20/03, well he got released today, unharmed.  



Georgia fishing excursion with my dad.  Old Sinclair rarely disappoints.  Water temps were unknown due to the lack of proper fishing equipment on the sampling platform (ie. temp gauge).  Estimated temps were mid-50's on the lake, 70 in the flow.  Water clarity was poop, or barf, depending on which end of the lake you were on.  We did manage to catch plenty of bait and a good mess of fish.  Most notably was our 7 hybrid catch on the 13th, only 3 hours of fishing.  Big hyb was 6.4 lbs followed by 5.5, 5.1, and several more in the 2-5 range.  Good eating-size channel cats in the 1-3 lb range were plentiful.  We caught several nice 1+ lb crappie....they have been processed in my gastrointestinal tract.  Yum.  Couple of mud cats.  We were plagued by 2" threads, gill net specials, but that's what we caught the fish on, so they were fine with me.  I think we would have done better with some 3-4" threads, but we only caught a half dozen or so of them.  Good times at Sinclair.  And yes, dad, you caught the big one.  Shoish!  Photos: (proof)

The water:



BACK up to P land AGAIN.  Can't get enough, except this time it was a capital P loss.  Well, Ryan landed  one on cut plankton, but I didn't get a bite.  No stripes (which was our evil plan all along).  Water was wayy down from yesterday and a little treacherous, just ask the trolling motor prop.  I think the temp was up around 52 or 3.  Clarity sucks here, muddy.  


Journeyed back up to p land again with Andy and Ryan.  Andy wound up winning, Ryan and I ended up losing on paddles.  Where I did win, however was on striped bass.  Andy's paddles were in the mid-upper 30's.  My stripes were 14 lbs and about 10 lbs, also a 5 lb hybrid and Ryan landed a small stripe.  We got the paddles on live plankton on freelines and boards.  Striped fish were on bucktails and wildeyes.  Nice day, added another coat of red.



Went back for another win in the p zone and lost.  I wound up dragging in two rather smallish paddles, one in the 20's one in the 30's.  Nothing much else doing.



NIIIICE day.  60 degrees and I got a big fat sunburn.  Now I not only act the part, I look it.  The water was a bit up and a bit muddy still, but we made the best of it.  Caught 3 hybrids in the 5-7 lb range and a small smallie.  And then we commenced to winning.  We boated 8 fish from 3-6 pm that weighed from 38-52 lbs.  They really ripped line off those reels!  Oh, should I mention that they didn't have stripes on them?  They looked a little more like this:

and this:

Fintastic!  What a blast even if they are trash fish.  I'll go ahead and say it's worth the trip to go and do this one time.  I'll be booking Paddlefish trips for the next few weeks if anybody is interested.  You get to hold on and watch the line disappear off your reel.  Water temp: 47, clarity 1 foot.  Fun day.



Drove through a good shower on the way today.  Weather conditions were a little different, 45, cloudy, N wind 15 mph.  It was chilly in jeans.  Bait is still moving around, but we got on a good school.  Caught 7 small stripes.  Water was 60 degrees, 2' clarity.  Things are getting back to normal, but there's still a LOT of water around here.




Tried to fish Bull run, plant is shut down, temp in outflow: 43.  Weather was the nicest day this year, 60, sunny, calm.  We turned into "whatever's biting" fishermen.  Caught 4 yellow perch and several yellow bass.  Saw stripes.