July Journal 2014


Perseverance: well it sounds much better than stubborn

As the Marines taught me to never quit, I headed back to Bluff City Saturday. Today I was certain that things would be different, you know, I had that “feeling”. Well low and behold things were different. The boat was launched and I headed to the mouth of the river, bait has been there every time. Quickly I noticed that my gut could not be more right, I could not locate bait. I went to the little bridge on the right side of the island, one school swam by me before I could get my net in the water, man they were flying (swimming real fast).

I had considered fishing the lake today anyway so I headed toward Davis Marina looking for bait. Typically, I just look for shad flipping; I tend to have trouble catching them in deeper water. After motoring a bit, I found myself in Beaver Creek, filled with tiny shad; I ended up with 6 nice ones. I headed out to the main channel to a few honey holes of the past, and as I was looking for fish I noticed the boat traffic had picked up. Figuring that fighting the boats would just lead to me not having a real good time, I headed back to BC.

When I arrived at my destination, I found that shad were stacked in there; I simply wasted a significant amount of gas today and an hour and a half catching bait. The fishing began and my no quit attitude is now seriously in question. Fortunately, one of my lines caught a stick, this gave a slow, yet rod bending pull and for that split second I felt that feeling. I spoke with a number of anglers and to my enjoyment, no one was doing very well, no stripers had been caught. Now I do not find joy in others not catching fish, but it did bring me a bit of contentment knowing that I was not alone in my quest.

The bright spot of the day came in my search for shad. The schnauzer is with me and we are headed down river. I fill a bucket with water when I am catching shad. This is due to shad releasing a film of sorts when they are caught. I put them in this 10 gallon bucket for 5-10 minutes, let them get that gunk off, then they go in the live well. It’s a great plan and today was worth every bit of the labor intensive manual filling of this bucket. As we are traveling down the lake a few waves come, the water from the bucket swirls then releases giving the little girl a magnificent bath. She turns circles; you see confusion, then darts under the console for the next 10 minutes. This brought me some laughter which I had to reflect on when I left.

I know I keep saying I am going somewhere else and when I left Saturday I thought the same thing. I think I will watch the generating schedule this week and just not commit to anything. My time may be better spent behind the airport or at Winged Deer Park, but hey, I have never been accused of being too smart. Good luck to all and eventually I will get a few pics up, if I just don’t quit going there first.




Warning: fish may be smaller than they appear

The stripers have had the lockjaw and I just didn’t have the energy to drag out the boat this weekend, but out of responsibility to the millions of readers (by millions I mean 3, thanks family) I had to wet a line. I had read the TWRA 2013 South Holston River data and well, I figured I would do my part to help.

Friday it is raining, this is giving me hope the generators will kick on for a while, so I thought I’d go fly fishing. I do enjoy fly fishing in the rain, I think the added distraction may take away from the appearance of the flies that I tie. I spend about an hour or so out there and I get two hits. I have got to stop saying out loud that I am going to keep me some fish. I head home, wet and still scratching my head.

Saturday comes, not having the energy or desire to take the boat out if a lightning storm comes, I head to the river with a spinning rod and waders. Nightcrawlers in hand and some red eggs, supper table is going to be good tonight. I fish for about an hour and a half and land two beast that may have gone 8 inches if I accidentally stepped on them. I gently released the trout, fished a bit longer, headed home.

Sunday evening I figured about an hour and a half at the river, no stringer, might bring some good times. See an angler when I get there with a stringer full, took hime about thirty minutes. He told me where and what, I had the what but decided I was going after some bigger ones. I did catch one nice one, released, and caught another 8-10″ one. This was a pretty good time as any time on the river is fun. I sat and talked with an angler for a while, great gentleman.

Multiple reasons led to not going after the stripers, but when the sun is out and the cool water is flowing, it’s a great time to hit the river. Hoping next week will lend to better opportunity to land a big one. Hope everyone got out and about this past week. Hope you did better than I did, but again no complaints, that will start when fishing becomes about catching fish, not there yet.





July is Obviously My Month

A family friend is heading off into the Navy, what a commitment. We attended the party and it was a great event. We get home and my fishin’ buddy aka daughter, says we should go after the stripers, bless her hear she can’t sit still. So we get everything loaded and head to Bluff City.

We launch and and head to the mouth of the river to try and catch some bait. I make a toss and the net is full of what I refer as head pinchers. This is when the shad are so small their head get pinched in the net. I end up catching two net fulls of them. We finally get near the cold line and find the mother load, more big gizzards that we will need.

We begin our fishing with high hopes trolling down stream. The shad are abundant and if I were a striper, this is where I’d be. Plenty to eat, cool water when you get too warm, just good living from the stripers view point. After a down and halfway back pass the daughter realizes that the temperature is about 10 degrees above hot. Knowing stripers don’t care what is in the water because they think they are the baddest thing around, I told her to take a dip in the lake. She loved it, coole down and more fishing ahead. After about an hour of see shad everywhere, me roasting like chestnuts on an open fire, and absolutely no activity other than boat traffic, she begins the swimming.

We fish for about two hours, some swimming hear and there, seeing very few anglers, we decide that we should go home and get some viddles. She grabs the shad out of the live wells and tosses them into the lake. On the last shad she tossed, a striper nails it on the top of the water. I think to myself, obviously I am doing something wrong. The fish are here, but the bites are few.

Lord willing next weekend we will venture out again, maybe even sneak an evening during the week. Last year with all the rainfall the generators were pumping more. Not sure if this is this has had an impact but it appears to have effected the fishing, we may need more rain. East Tennessee Fly Fishing said in his report for the Watauga River that they are catching stripers on that side. I may need to just break my habit and head over there,  we shall see if stubborness continues or if I will break my pattern.

Anyway, hope your trips are going a little better. We still had a ball as fishing has never been so much about catching fish as it has been about getting out on the water. And when I can spend time with family while doing this, each trip is a blessing and a blast.



I Continue to Smell a Distinct Odor

I’m combining two days of fishing in this entry and what….. no pics. That is correct, but still some “great” stuff happened and allow me a moment to share. We started off fishing on Friday, I head to the lake to catch bait and the fishing buddy is meeting me later. She is a bit wise because if I don’t catch bait, she don’t come, seems like she is getting sharp, let dad to the work.

We finally begin doing a little fishing, trolling around with planer board and balloon. We get a couple of swirls but apparently the stripers are bored quickly and have not attention span (they must be American). We’ve been out a while with no bent rods, however the lines are tight due to trolling. I’ve got my double treble set-up in place, one in nose and one in the tail. The fish just don’t cooperate, they are not messing with us today.

As we are trolling, the daughter and I begin to contemplate whether we should perhaps paint the bottom of the boat. Our thought process is that the fish have began to recognize the quality of our angling and have stopped messing with us altogether. Our average is about 1 fish per 3 trips, this has to be taking a toll on the jaws of the beast.

Well as we are using the big gizzards, just haven’t found anything else, I notice that my planer board shad is at the back of the boat. My deck hand grabs the line and we realize that the big shad had wrapped around my motor. This blood pressure raising event took me about 10 minutes to unwind, 3 or 4 near misses of getting a Boone bath, and would have been hilarious to watch. However, I was not watching but performing, sure am glad no one witnessed the event. This day finished with a few swirls and no fish, we blamed it on the weather.

So Friday as this is a girls night out, I take out to the lake on my own, well, the schnauzer is keeping me company. I head to the river, catch a dozen small threadfins and a gizzard I put the gizzard on  with a balloon (this will go on my planer board, that rascal ain’t wrapping around my motor, I don’t care how fast he can swim). When I make the cast and begin to feed a bit of line, a huge striper comes after it. I saw the body, no head or tail, he was well over 20lbs, probably would have been one of my biggest. I give a little slack, balloon under, line tight, I go to set hook and nothing. Shad still alive, with 2 trebles and I just set it up with a planer board and begin to troll.

I stayed till dark and with no other bites coming my way I decided to call it a night. Today, which is Saturday, I have no plans to go out, it’ll be a good day to work on a rod, the yard, then spend time with my wife. Hope you all get a chance to get out and have better luck than me. I just can’t seem to get away from the skunk smell right now. I may have to resort to chasing a different species. Have a great 4th of July weekend and be safe.






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