Surface temp: 65, clarity: 3 feet. Heavy rains earlier today didn't affect the river any this evening. I had Allen with me today. We had no trouble at all getting some small skipjack to start out. He caught a relatively small 10 lber on a skipjack. I am still trying to figure out how that fish ate that size bait. I hooked up on a fairly serious surface blow-up with one that weighed in the mid 20's and measured 38 inches long. Many other slammed skipjack, but no other hookups. Air was low 80's and humid, no wind, mostly sunny. The fishing is consistently good.
Surface temp was 70 at 5:00. Clarity back up to about 3 feet. Small skipjack were hard to get, but we got some. No fish until about 6:30 when Ezell latched into a good one. It measured 42" and mid 30's lbs. We had some INCREDIBLE surface blow-ups that Hollywood special effects couldn't have done any justice. I just had several of my baits brutally murdered and didn't ever hook up. Ezell caught his second fish, about 20 lbs on the next round of bait. It was all over by 8:00. Air temp: 80, no wind at all, partly cloudy. The fish are there.
Took a relatively early start on the river today hitting the water at 9:00. The water has become off-colored and clarity is down to a foot. Small skipjack were hard to come by and we spent an hour getting 4 smaller baits. Once we figured the stripes weren't hitting, we fished for sauger. Caught about 4 keepers, several smaller sauger and some white bass. We had a fish fry for dinner/break and then hit it again for the stripes at about 6:00 pm. No fish. It must be the muddy river turning them off. Air temps got up to 75. It was VERY windy, gusting to 40mph out of the S. Clouds threatened rain, but it stayed dry. Will try again very soon.
My better 5/6 accompanied me again to the river today. We hit the water at about 3. The water temp. was 64 and clarity was about 2 feet. There was some light generation and the river came up about a foot at 6. We boated 3 fish of 30, 35 and 22 lbs. Small skipjack were the preferred forage. I tried a couple of mooneye, but to no avail. Jodi handled the biggest fish like a pro. I'm still not sure what kind of pro. ha ha Those pictures are split up on two rolls, but here's one of the smaller fish:
Air temps were around 70, winds were strong out of the SW shifting to SE and then laid down by 8:00. Variably cloudy skies.
BIGGEST FISH EVER DAY
First time out in a while. It has rained pretty good for the past 3 days. The upstream dam was releasing some water, but not full generation. Water temp was back down to 63, clarity was stained but about 2 feet visibility. We used live skipjack. The first two hits produced fish of 42" and 39.5". The first fish was very healthy and would have drawn the scale down in the upper 30's,
the second was skinny and might have gone 25 lbs.
Jodi had a time with that second fish. The bigger fish fought like a truck, the second one made more runs. It's good to get my hand bitten by a big fish. I think the bite up there will be more consistent. Winds blew out of the W today at 10-20, but died down flat by 8:00. It started out cloudy and wound up mostly sunny. Temps in the low 70's, very very nice day and big fish.
The river was 70 degrees today and way down. Tons of bait, no fish.
There were more boats than fish below Ft. Loudon tonight. Nine boats were trying to hustle only 2 generators. Fortunately, I forgot my boat and was fishing from the bank. I hooked a good fish early on and it straightened my hook out to a 90 degree bend. First time that's ever happened with this particular hook. The threadfins are running thick on the left side ascending in the eddys behind the boulders. The best way to get them is from the bank with a scoop net or small cast net. I didn't hook up any more fish. There were two guys using threadfins from the bank catching a lot of drum (up to 15 lbs) and a small striper about 3 lbs. Several stripes were caught in the boats...the biggest I saw was maybe 15 lbs. Air: 80 degrees, E wind 10 mph. Water's probably 66-67 degrees and 2 foot visibility. Big fish withdrawals are setting in already.
Hit the 'river' at about 10:00 am today. Early start, I know. Fished with some leftover bait from last night. Caught a 10 lber on a threadfin on a planer with splitshots. Caught my second (and only other) fish on a skipjack, about 15 lbs. Water temp started out at 59, ended up at 66.4. Air temp probably maxed at about 75, bot got cool quick at sundown. Winds were N 5-15 mph (yes, our buddies at TWC got that one right for a change). At about 2:00, we pulled out and headed to Douglas dam to get some good gizzards to try. They were generating when we got there, and we ran up to the dam. Water temp there is 52! The generator shut off at 3 and it settled down. We started trolling looking for shad (the herons were catching their fill). If it weren't for my polarized shades, we'd have been throwing blindly. I saw a large school of shad and dropped the net on them. It was the throw that ends all throws, I love that one. 30 good gizzards and we fished down from the bridge for about an hour with only a couple of nervous baits. Headed back to the sacred river. We fished the gizzards and some more skipjacks, but couldn't hook up. We caught mooneyes and used them. I had one mooneye get yanked pretty hard, but no hooky hookup. 8:30 rolled around and we had to go. Ten hours of fishing, I think it's my bedtime.
Made a half-assed attempt at catching fish tonight below Melton Hill. Caught a load of threadfins, one big gizzard and a handful of ALEWIVES. Odd. This is on Watts Bar and they were mixed in with the threadfins. They became bait anyways. Only had one authoritative slamming on the big gizzard and that was it for the action. Unusually high amount of debris in the water...have to be careful down there. Grass pollen is killing me too. Air: 75, water: 65, clarity: 3 feet. Early showers then cloudy, annoying SW wind at 15. No fish.
Went fishing with my best (and best looking) good luck charm, Jodi. Much better looking than that other good luck charm of mine, a ragged out striper hat with screen mesh back and in severe need of an oil change. The big fish were not bashful this evening on the river. Several of our innocent skipjack were clobbered. Four fish found the hook and two found the inside of my boat. The other two were smart enough to let go. Beautiful day, beautiful fish, beautiful company. Fish were 39 and 41 inches...mid to upper 20 lb range. Did get a picture of the 41".
Air temp: 80, no wind, mostly cloudy, approaching cold front. Water temp: 66, clarity 5 feet. Stretched mono....yes!
Bummed a ride with Allan. Bait was catchable below Ft. Loudon on the left side rocks in the eddys. Prepare to lose a few cast nets there, and DO NOT tie it to yourself unless you are absolutely sure of yourself and your driver. Allan stomped me into the ground, catching 6 to my 1. His biggest was about a 25 lb male taken on a big gizzard shad. My biggest might have gone 1 1/2 lbs. I had my line broken and virtually all of my baits got hammered, but I couldn't catch a fish. Oh well. Water temp: 64, clarity: 3 feet. Air was perfect, around 70, some sprinkles clearing by 7. Generators shut off at 8.
Fished below Melton Hill. Bait was fairly accessible. They had just cut the generators off as we got there, so the water was on the decline. We managed three smallish fish and lots of action. Had a couple of good sized shad get licked, but no hookup. The weather couldn't have been better if it was made to order. Upper 60's, no wind, overcast skies, we even got a little sprinkle before the rain clouds cleared out. All in all, a good trip with fish in the boat. Water temp: 66, clarity: 3 feet.
Yesterday was the longest day of my life. Up at 2:00 AM, fished in the sun all day, home in Knoxville after a 3 1/2 hour drive at 11:00. Fooled around in the boils below Loudon, saw some fish caught on live bait. All I had was artificial, no fish.
Fished the Striper Kings/Alzheimer's tournament on Hartwell, S.C./GA with the "Cut Bait King" aka Randy Brown. It was a great trip and very educational. We fished cut skipjack on the bottom and caught striper! It was a bit more laid back than pulling live bait. It was 85 degrees and not a cloud, barely any wind. Water temp was 76, clarity was 4 feet. Our first fish was a tough 8.3 lber and the second fish was also a fighter and weighed 12 and change.
Myself, Randy, and his lovely wife, Nancy. The cut bait rig is in the background.
You can read the results on the message board posted by Warren Turner, president of the Striper Kings. I will apply what I learned there to my own fishing and see what happens.
Here are the JET-SKI BANDITS of the SHOAL CREEK SKIPJACK SHODOWN:
Note: fishing rod in foreground.
Got skipjack for bait for Saturday's tournament on Hartwell. Below Ft. Loudon it was 60.8.
Started off below Melton Hill. Caught some skipjack, but no threadfins. Tried some plastics in the boils with no luck. Scooted over to Ft. Loudon dam. Got some bait, but caught all fish on artificials. Skipjack are in there so thick you can walk on them. We boated about 6 or 7 stripes with a 30-inch [probably] 15 lb hybrid as our big fish.
Steve-o caught it on one of my leadheads rigged with the plastic of choice. His personal best hybrid and a real trophy! That fish is probably terrorizing a shad as you read this. I caught a few smaller fish up to about 10 lbs. Had one 3 lb striper take on 6 lb test while anchored in the current...WHOA!!! Any bigger and I'd still be fighting that fish. Air temps were around 80, water temps were 67 (pre generation) at melton hill, 62 post generation; 60 at Ft. Loudon. Clarities were around 4' at both. If you were fishing for skipjack, you couldn't NOT catch one. Good day of catchin'!