August Journal 2014


Wow, I can’t even come up with a title  20, 22, 23 Aug 2014

Sorry for my lack of creativity in the title, as you can see, I ventured out 3 times this week. So why so much trouble with a title? The days have differed, the bite has differed, however, the results are the same. I have reached a point in asking myself, will I be skunked the entire month of August?

South Holston has been generating and the fish have been active. I have converted a couple of the lines to steel circle hooks, they are not bending these bad boys, and out trying to catch a few. Each trip produced attacks, with yesterday only getting one swirl, but I still count it.

Wednesday after work was the most activity, within the first hour we had at least 6 hits on our lines. My planer board rod bent to the point that it was difficult to remove from the rod holder, I got the rod out, pulled not jerked and nothing, shad still on the line and kicking. This happened a few times, really, the rod was almost doubled and marks on the shad, he must be stopping just short of the hook.

My fishing partner has one out with a balloon, the balloon goes under and swims at least 10′ slightly under the surface, he sets hook only to find that there was nothing there. This activity continued for an hour then the wind picked up and seemed like a storm was coming. The fish just quit biting at this point.

Day 2 the activity was somewhat less, but still a little more of the same. I did find one 6″ gizzard, the rest were big, and baited him up. After a few minutes, big hit on the shad and nothing. Somehow the striper took the bait and missed the hook. I hook them through the nose and apparently that was not the right spot.

Day 3 gave us one swirl and I told my fishing buddy (daughter) please make sure that next time I hit the lake that I do not come back to Bluff City. There is a pulling from that place that I can’t seem to get away from. However, the water is already dropping and although the generating is doing well right now, I think I can use that excuse to go give Candy Creek a try.

Dont’ give up on us here, Lord willing we will get a few fish boated. Even if I have to try bass fishing a bit. Once we get to the main lake, if I can find shad then we should have at least a bass or two hit us. If not, maybe I will take some bread and try to get me a carp or bluegill. Mercy, I’m gonna have to knock the dust off the camera if I get to use it again. Hope your fishing has been better than mine and that you have a blessed week.





Missing the Bent Hooks  15 Aug 2014

Friday is here and the activity in Bluff City has been pretty good; I head out to the lake around 3:00pm.  The water is not down yet from the generating so I head past the swinging bridge looking for bait. I make a toss and catch one, throw it on the flat line and begin looking for more. I head up to the cold line and on my way back through, a huge group of large gizzards swam by. With my cat like reflexes I grab the net, make a cast, and miss them all; onward I travel.

I finally get one more shad, so with planer board out and flat line, I begin to go back and forth from cold line to the island dock. Every pass I get at least one or two swirls, knocking at the bait, and just them stripers messing with me a bit. I’m still looking for shad and finally net more gizzards than I can keep. Seems like the shad choice is either huge gizzards or tiny threadfins, I sure would like the inbetweens.

After a while I check my baits, teeth marks, red all over, so obviously I should use fresh bait. I toss the used one back in the water and start hooking another. The one I just tossed starts getting hammered. I toss my fresh lively and should be the preferred choice of the striper out near the swirl. I try this three time and the used bait gets eaten and my fresh bait gets left alone.

I fished till around 7:00 getting more hits than I can remember, about every pass they are biting. I tried throwing a big white jig at them, by the way, every time I pulled the jig threw the school of shad, I was getting bumped. Probably just running into them but no matter, it felt pretty good.

The bites were plentiful, the catching few. Next week is race week so Bluff City may not be an option. My apologies for not catching anything, I am a little to tight to spend the money on boat gas to drive around the lake an find smaller shad, but possibly this is the key. I am really hoping for at least one pic in August, I may just have to go bluegill fishing pretty soon. Let us know how you’ve been doing and have a great week.





Freaky Friday or Freakin’ Friday     08 Aug 2014

The generators are rolling and the rain is coming down. I get off work at 11:00, dodge the rain drops to the truck, head to the house and eat a bite. After eating I decide to head to the Walmart to replace my fishing hooks, not going to have any bends this trip. I grab a pack of the bronze trebles as last week I had lost one on the circle hook and I really just need to land one. I finally get prepared and head to the lake around 2:30.

The days starts off similar to last, I see a flip near the dock at the apartments, grab the net, see a big flash and toss it into the lake. About 8-10 gizzards in the bucket. I toss three in each livewell, more than that is pretty hard on them, bait two hooks, leave one in my bucket, and toss the rest out. Within just a few minutes I get a run, line gets tight, rod bent, my muscles tightened to set the hook, slight resistence then slack; I really need more patience.

I then head down the lake a bit trolling around and the attacks begin. Multiple swirls and the knocking of bait out of the water, then all the sudden, the fight is on. I loosen the drag a bit so as not to muscle too much and begin fighting. I am putting a bit of confidence in my glued $25 reel. The drag is a bit spotty and as I fight for about a minute, the common feeling arrives, slack. I reel in the line, look at my bronze treble hook and one is just about straight. I considered slamming rod on the edge of the boat, but didn’t figure that would help, I chalk it up to 2014, it’s been quite a year for us.

As I start my search for another hook, which I will come back to later, the planer line gets nailed. Now this one is set up with my Penn Reel I found at a yard sale, it was in great shape for $15, bargain up. I fight the beast for a spell, chasing it down with the trolling motor. Apparently the trolling motor ran over my down line cause that braid snapped like a twig, another awesome event but who cares I am getting this one to the boat. When the fight seems to slow and I am gaining on the beast, I begin to go for the net. Net in hand, I say to my self, self, you are getting ready to finally get a picture, I think yee haw was even said. The monster is right at the point of being seen when it turns with a massive burst of strength and the line snaps. So I have three rods I was fishing with 15 minutes ago and none of them have hooks on them.

So I find the hooks, these are some expensive trebles my brother had purchased a few years ago and I just haven’t felt a need for them yet, but now it is time. I load up my smallest gizzard on the balloon line, I think small gizzards are doing a little better right now, they don’t seem to play with them as much. I bait up planer line and put up the down line. As things calm down a bit, I look up and a hawk drops and picks up my balloon bait, yep the one I think will work the best is beginning to fly away with a hawk. My mind says that would be a great picture, you really need to get you a go pro Phil, and I yell at the hawk, hey dude, quit that. When he feels resistance he releases, but not before draining most of the life out of my shad.

The remainder of the day sees a few more runs and a whole lot of swirls, but nothing substantial. I am not certain what is going on right now. I have never had hooks bend like this, nor have I had lines breaking as such. I go to the dock to load up and wanted to check the water temperature at the ramp. After the boat sat there while I back in the truck, I checked the temperature and it read 42 degrees. The water was crystal clear and that seemed very cold. Bluff City is doing great right now, I just have to figure out how to land these rascals. Hope your fishing goes well and you can snicker at my day. It was awesome with activity and eventually something will get to the boat.




Generating Some Strikes    06 Augus 2014

Saturday was a good day watching the stripers and feeling one tugging on the line. Checking the generating schedule, it appeared that they turned them on in the morning and were going to run them a while. So with my theory of the lack of generating affecting the bit, I decided to squeeze in a short trip after work. I usually don’t go on the weekdays because I can’t stay up late and get up early anymore; man getting older has given me limitations.

I get to the boat ramp at 5:30, launch boat, load the schnauzer, and head downstream. The cold water was there, the trash line was at the end of the ball field and boats were everywhere, apparently everyone checked the generating schedule. I head past the ball field in the 5-6’ water looking for shad flipping. Make about 6 cast with net and have to throw some of the shad back, if I keep too many gizzards they just end up looking rough or dying. In front of the apartments dock I throw out my second line (planer board) in 5-6’ of water and start the fishing. The line pops off the planer board, I grab the rod, as it gets tight I set the hook and the fight is on. The fish rolls the top of the water, and then I feel the slack. Adrenaline is flowing and I reel in the line the hook had bent. I quickly switch to a circle hook and fuss about saving a dollar to buy apparent junk, sometimes my being tight does not pay in the end.

When I get my line in the water again I look at the clock, it’s 6:03, I think to myself, wow, this is going to be fun. I continue down the shallow side and the balloon line began to get some attention. I see a few big swirls then watch the shad get knocked up in the air a couple of times, this goes on for a few minutes with no bite. A few minutes later it starts again, playing with the shad, maybe they like to see those things scared, but then nothing. This continues most of the evening, probably 6-8 or more stripers just playing with the bait, then another run. I don’t jerk with the circle hook, someone told me just to pull, but as the line got tight, the pole bends, I pull and feel tension for about 3 seconds then nothing. The bait had been stolen and fish had not been caught.

At about 8:30 the wind picks up. I remember seeing scattered storms on the radar and decide to pack it up to beat the rush. The evening had been awesome, the stripers were keeping my attention with rarely going more than 10 minutes without one at least playing with the bait. Looking back, I should’ve put on a zara spook or redfin to give it a try, but hey, it was a blast. As I head back there are quite a few boats at the trash line fishing the cold water side. I have no idea how they did up there but I left the place tickled pink. I reckon I know what I’ll be doing this weekend, eventually I will get one to the boat. First thing is to go buy some better hooks, the benders are going in the trash.






Don’t Let the Lack of Pics Deter You  02 Aug 2014

Initially, you may think it was a bad day with no pics to show, however, Saturday was awesome. With the weather cooling down this week, the mighty Vols beginning practice, one might think fall was in the air. As Saturday arrived, my first item on the agenda was to go early vote. Not to get too political but I am really hoping for the opportunity to vote for folks as opposed to voting against so often. Anyway, I don’t want to get on that soap box.

I didn’t get out on the water until around 10:00 or so. I had to talk myself into going to Bluff City, but the cool weather offered me hope (I don’t know why, I think it was just my excuse). I also did not want to fight the boat traffic on the main part of the lake, so off I went. When I arrived at the boat ramp I noticed only 4-5 boats had been launched and one was returning. My excitement was trying to get dampened with thoughts of nothing biting, but hey, I’ve lived that many a time.

My first spot is straight to the river, a feller had told me that it was full of shad. Catching the gizzards was not difficult at all so fishing began quick. My shad get chased a couple of times pretty early but they didn’t even mess with it, so I headed toward the cold line and let the excitement began. As I was going up, my planer line started getting a striper messing with it, I began to prepare for the fight when it sounded like a bowling ball got thrown in the water. I look back and my balloon line was getting attacked. I ran to the back when another explosive attack commensed. I grabbed the rod, let the line tightened, then set the hook. I looked down and could not reel. The line got pinched in the $20 reel I had purchased, man why do I try to save a dollar. I quickly grabbed the line then let go just as fast, no fish is worth me getting cut too deep. I held rod and watched my 17 lbs test line snap as if it were 2 lbs test. The sound was similar to a small caliber pistol and I could see my balloon heading down stream like those drums in jaws. Then the line went through the balloon and I retrieved it to use again.

I had a couple more nice ones that I did not get a good hook set but they did take it. In all I may have had 10+ stripers messing with my bait that day, but that wasn’t even the best part. Now I have seen the stripers attack bait fish, but this was the first time I had seen this in 3-4′ of water. This happened out of my casting range, but about 3 times this trip. On one particular feeding frenzy, the shad took off, the stripers in hot pursuit and the wave that they produced gave me a reminder of the beach. It appeared as if they chased those shad 30 yards and produced waves that reminded me of Gulf.

This was a great trip, not sure why they were hitting today but I had a ball. The one that broke my line was a big’un, not sure how big but would have been one of if not the best one for me yet. I can’t wait to get back out there and this just solidifies my thinking that I am not defining insanity, I have defined commitment, at least that sounds better. Good luck and have a great week fishing.







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