May 2002



Fished El Rio.  Had the first ZERO...of the season.  Correct bait was nearly non-existent.  We did get a few and managed some nasty hits with no hooked and landed fish.  Water was 68 degrees and 2 foot clarity.  Still a nice day to fish, 85 degrees, sunny. 



Saw the Indy 500 Sunday.  Zoom.  Went fishing today.  The right size jacks were a bit hard to come by and mooneyes weren't as thick as they have been.  Didn't take too long to hook into a whale.  The fish was 46.5 inches long and weighed 34 lbs.  We had a couple more big hits and I caught a sick looking 10-12 lber with a blind eye.  Air was 80 and partly cloudy, no wind.  Water was 65.8 and 2+ clarity.  It's cleared up a little bit finally.



El Rio Striper bends yet another Dad on Rio with a Striper infected rod Great day on the water!

Two new Seein' Stripes records broken today!!!  They are, longest striper: old record, 45"; new record, 48"!  

Can you give this one 48 inches? Big striper, 39 lbs 48 inches 48" Striper holding my dad up The scale doesn't lie, Roland.

And highest average weight per fish (for 5 fish or more): old record, 23 lbs, new record 25 lbs!  My father and I touched 6 stripes today.  Weights in order: 15, 20.5, 22.5, 25, 28.5, and 39 lbs.  That's about 150 lbs in 6 fish, not too shabby.  The payoff locations were La Ria

Dad on Ria striper 20.5 lb Ria Striper

 Wrestling with an almost 30 lb striper The moment of truth 28.5 lbs, Nice Striper. Side view

and El Rio.  Weather was near perfect with temp reaching 80, mostly sunny, light SW wind.  Ria was 60 degrees and clarity 10 feet.  Rio was 63 degrees with 1-1.5 foot clarity...the water was running a little and receding.  Lots of other hits and misses, but altogether an awesome, record shattering performance.  Congrats, Pat McNew on the 39 lb, 48" fish of a lifetime.

Circle Hooks: Good Lip Hook Ratio of Circle Hooks



La Ria and big fish.  Didn't get on the water until 7:30.  Pulled gizzards on boards and pulled 3 stripes in.  In order of catching: 30 Self-Photo on the Ria with 30 lb Striper, 25 Ria 25 lb Striper, and 17 lbs.  Great fishing, great catching.  Both of the bigger fish really put me in a bind with 4 planers WAY out and a freeline.  The 25 headed directly for a stump and was successful in wrapping around it, he couldn't beat the 25 lb P-Line though.  It didn't even have a scratch on it when I finally landed the fish.  Air was mostly sunny, low 60s, no wind, perfect.  Water was 59 and 8' clarity.  Got photos coming.  

And here was the sunset: East Tennessee Sunset on the Ria



EL RIO!!!  Nothing less than awesome today.  Boated 9 stripes, lots of other hits and misses.  The two biggest fish: a 30.5 lb male Shawn and Striper and a 29.9 lb fish Striper and Shawn.  Ryan had a nice 16 lber to start the trip off .  There was one other stripe in the teens and the rest were all 9-12 lbs with one 3 lber caught by Jason on a skipjack grub....quite a fight on that 4 lb test!  So we have 8 fish weighing in around 140 lbs in 2 hours of fishing.  All caught on skipjack.  Water was 61.6 degrees and 2' clarity.  Air was 60 and cloudy, very little wind, perfect fishing conditions.  A very nice day.

And the release:




El Rio.  Air temp this am was 49, it might have barely broken 65 by the end of the day.  Water: 62.0 degrees, clarity about 2 feet.  Circle hooked and landed and released a 10 , 18 , 19   Ryan Trying to Break the 20 lb Mark, and 25 lber today.  The 25 was a male, very happy to see us 25 lb Rio Striper, by: Shawn McNew.  All caught on skipjack.  Wind blew steady from the NE at 15 all day, brutal.  It calmed down, but the fish were done hitting by 6:00.  Mostly cloudy with some warm outbreaks of sunshine.  Nice day of fishing with the buddies.



Started out below Loudon, one generator kicked at 11, nothing happened.  Lots of boats, no catching.  Left at 11:20, Rio bound.  Got on the Rio at about 12:30, got jacks, got stripes.  On 6 jacks, we caught 3 stripes, 10, 13, and 23 lbs.  The second round of jacks yielded 1 murdered jack and 2 ripped off the hook and stolen.  No stripes.  The third round didn't get any hits.  Off the water at 8.  Good day of catching, 3 stripes and 825 skipjack.  Water temp 64-67, clarity 2 feet.  The weather channel pulled one of their more spectacular predictions today.  Predicted: rain and t-storms 90%, Actual: partly cloudy 100%.  They suck and can't admit when they were wrong, it just hurts too bad.  Wind blew hard from the SW up to 25, then shifted in the evening to ENE, weird.  Temps stayed in the mid 70s.  Real good day on the water.



Did the loudos again, this time under generation.  Fish were breaking everywhere, mostly skipjacks, but some big stripes.  I caught 8 small males 2-5 lbs, most on artificial.  It was good catching.  Water temp 67, clarity 2 feet.  Jason was out there in his ride and caught several fish also.  Weather was perfect, sunny, couldn't tell about any wind, 70 degrees.



Got out below Ft. Loudos this evening.  The gar action was incredible.  Caught one stripe about 15 lbs.  Others went after the bait, but no more landed fish.  Had one abut 30 lbs hooked up and pulling drag, but the hook came loose and came back with a bent point.  Evidence of hook hitting solid bone, a big problem with large striped fish.  Water clarity 1.5 feet, temp 66.  Weather was SW wind 15-20 mph and partly cloudy, temp in the upper 60s.  Good day, saw a stripe.



New place, new fish species on the year.  Completely different fishery.  Holston river.  Water temp was 62-64, clarity was variable thanks to the 17 inches of rain today.  Inflowing creeks had the banks muddy, but the main river was 3-4 ft clarity.  Caught rainbow trout (in the cast net, cough, cough), might have even used them for bait, who knows.  Caught a rock bass.  wow.  No stripes, but good experimental day.  Temp today started out at 73 this AM at work, was 55 when we left the water at 9 pm.  Can we say COLD FRONT?  Good trip, educational.  All three trout survived.



Tried it on Rio again, couldn't get a big fish to take the bait.  Caught an 11 lber and that was it on stripes.  Other species caught: mooneye, skipjack, gizzard shad, yellow bass, white bass, smallmouth, spotted, drum, carp.  I think that was it, a 10 species day.  Water was 63 degrees, clarity 3 feet.  Air was lower 80's, and mostly sunny after noon.  Wind howled from the S gusting up to probably 35.  Worst sunburn of the year.  Called the day at 5:00 due to misery.



El Rio was pretty good to my new ex-buddy, Jason.  He brought in 3 fish at 11, 17, and 25 lbs.  I got to feel a few good hits, but that was the extent of my day.  Pretty nice day, mid 70s, some dark clouds threatening, but no rain, can't remember about the wind now.  Jacks are ridiculously easy, gizzards are plentiful and mooneyes are running rampant.  Jacks are hands down the best bait.  Good day of catching for Jason, good day of fishing for me.  I did wind up bringing home 3 sauger for dinner.. yummy.... Clarity: 3 feet, temp: 64.



Tried it again below Meltonio, boils were running so hard, it made it tough.  Water was up about 1.5-2 ft above normal.  Shad are so thick you can walk on them.  We even ran a million little threads and a big skipjack up on the bank at the boat ramp which I dipped up in the bait net.  Water was 63 degrees and 4 ft clarity.  Air was 85 and partly cloudy, winds were blowing but didn't affect too bad where we were.  No stripes, two blue cats 10 and 17 lbs on cut bait while generating.



Tried the boils of Loudos, one hit on the initial drop-down and then not even a sniff.  Had heard good things about it, but can't say the same for myself.  Went to Meltonio and wound up with 5 between Ryan and myself.  I won't tell who caught 4 and who got 1.  The biggest one might have gone 12 lbs.  Temps: 64, 65, clarities: 2, 4.  Weather threatened thunderstorms, but cleared up to mostly clear by evening.  Temps around 80 and muggy.  Fair catching.



Fished most of the day and fished it hard.  Nothing on Melton Hill.  Bait was easy, but no fish.  Not much below Melton one 3 lb stripe.  Skipjacks were breaking downstream from the dam and we had some nice ones, but nothing wanted them.  Took the whole operation cross country to La Ria to try the luck again, but to no avail.  Not even a strike.  It was a slow day all over creation.  We had great bait and fished some fishy zones, but it wasn't happening.  Temps: 68, 63, 56.  Clarities: 4, 3, 8.  Weather was pretty nice, light winds, partly cloudy mid 70s.  A true no-biters day.



La Ria.  Winning is good!  Caught my first fish ever out of the Ria.  Also caught my second fish.  The first was a fat female 14 lber, the second was a big brute 34 lb male striper.  Weather was almost perfect, the water looked like a mirror when I got there.  Heavy drizzle set in a couple of times and low 300-400 ft clouds set in later in the evening.  Air temp was about 60.  Water was 54-55, clarity 7-8 feet.  They were running a little bit of water.  Excellent trip, about my 10th time on the Ria, I knew she was holding good stripes.



First trip to Cumberland system.  Interesting trip, lots of info learned.  Didn't even so much as sniff a striper.  Bait was a success, but we didn't have anything to try it out on.  Will try it again soon.  Water temps ranging from 55-62, clarities were 1 foot.