View Full Version : Warm Water Wonderings

06-01-2013, 06:22 PM
After graduating I have had to grow up and get a big-boy job and that required a move down south. Having been relocated down south (Chattanooga) the trout waters are quite frankly not worth the drive, especially when I now live in a warm water wonderland! I am surrounded by the Tennessee River, countless streams, and man-made lakes. My background always has been bass fishing, while at UT I was on the UT bass team, but never felt like a 20K boat was worth the trouble and fly fishing has always been more exciting to me. Maybe its the simplicity or maybe its just different I just dont know. What I do know is that I like catching bass and brim on a fly rod.
Since making the move, the main issue I have had over the past few months was getting acclimated to the deeper water and the lack of wading and bank fishing opportunities. Needless to say the only solution was a boat. I don't have a truck so I was limited to whatever I could transport using the little Toyota I currently drive. After shopping around, I found a good deal on a Gheenoe-like boat. She is 13ft of 5HP powered beastliness known affectionately as the "Snookie" after the obnoxious reality TV star. My bass-boat buddies claimed that she was short, tan, and had been ridden hard also the little boat was fun to run around in as long as I don't have to tell them about it.
The boat is surprisingly stable and two people have no problems fishing and even standing and fishing. I spend most of my time by myself and have no issues moving from the back of the boat to the front to operate the trolling motor. I figure she has a 3-4" draft making almost any water accessible. she truly is a link to an unlimited supply of water
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/2013-05-27112444_zps0b0af048.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/2013-05-27112444_zps0b0af048.jpg.html)
There is a great little bay near my current home base that has become my main water. early in the season the crappie were in there thick and taking a little black wolly-bugger like crazy.
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/crappie2_zpsb1c9b41f.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/crappie2_zpsb1c9b41f.jpg.html)
During the memorial day holiday I trailered up and ran home to see the family and check on the smallies in the little river. As stable as the Snookie is, she would not fare well with the Memorial day lake traffic (why anyone needs an ocean going vessel on the TN river still baffles me). I put in below Walland and ran up a bit and would float/fish down and repeat. Early on the top water bite was good. I bagged a few bass and blue gills on the popper and then switched to a full sink line and a Clouser minnow. I located some rock formations in a deep pool and the fish were stacked up there pretty good. I was catching small-mouth every few cast. The size wasn’t anything to write home about but small-jaws always fight hard.
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/P1030448_zpsecf3787c.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/P1030448_zpsecf3787c.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/P1030444_zpsa4ef7a99.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/P1030444_zpsa4ef7a99.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/P1030445_zps4dc5eb02.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/P1030445_zps4dc5eb02.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/P1030453_zps352f6f62.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/P1030453_zps352f6f62.jpg.html)

The grass in these lakes also comes in much thicker than it does on Loudan or the other impediments farther north. Whether it’s the cooler water or the deeper lakes im nor sure, I do know that the bass love it! in the past few weeks the grass has come in thick and the bass are in there. The highlight of bass fishing, in my opinion, was busting Florida strain large-mouth on a frog. My current obsession has been doing the same with a fly rod, which is no easy task. Last week after countless misses and blow ups i finally set the hook and landed my first frog fish of the season. It was not the biggest but man did he blow up! nothing in the world like seeing that fish come up and DESTROY the bait. True carnivores!
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/2013-05-30203742_zps4a91c4a4.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/2013-05-30203742_zps4a91c4a4.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/2013-05-30203745_zps7d4e6e11.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/2013-05-30203745_zps7d4e6e11.jpg.html)

More to come as the summer wears on!

FYI .....
bass like wiggle minnows
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/2013-05-29221649_zpsfd257f19.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/2013-05-29221649_zpsfd257f19.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/P1030464_zps9abfae40.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/P1030464_zps9abfae40.jpg.html)

06-01-2013, 10:26 PM
Great post! I think you will get a lot of enjoyment out of that boat. It will take you to so many places a big gas guzzling bass boat won't and do it cheaply. I fish out of a old resurected v-hull jon and a single seat canoe. Both are great platforms and cost very little.
I would recommend taking that boat over to Indian boundary also. Would be a perfect craft for working the shorelines in the morning, picking up bass and bream on the fly. :smile:

06-02-2013, 08:41 AM
Great shots and post, I am big fan of Todd's wigglers and love the action of it in the water, almost every guide I talk to has a stash of them. Interested in your sink tip experiences, I keep a reel loaded with it but hardly have used it, I think I hesitate whenever I think about using it by telling myself the waters not deep enough, or other reasons, mostly its probably I am too unsure when is the proper time to use it. Do you troll or drift with the sink tip out or sling to the bank with it and retrieve back fast or slow? I bought and rigged a kayak for fishing this winter and have thought the sink tip may be another arrow in the quiver but not sure. Thanks!

06-02-2013, 09:21 AM
not at thing wrong with that vessel. It reminds me of when a friend of mine and me started fishing together 10 years ago. all we had was a flat bottom boat and time to fish. we went striper fishing, crappie fishing and bass fishing. many a great hours were in that small boat. But then he decided to go big time and bought a 18 ft ranger bass boat. we fished some tournaments and did a little crappie fishing. Then that wasn't good enough and he wanted to be the next big thing so he sold it and bought a $50,000 ranger and only fished tournaments. I no longer fish with him due to his goals and mine had changed. I still fished because I enjoyed the outdoors, friendships and relaxation. I am not sure he enjoys any of it anymore. So if the boat brings you enjoyment and serves your needs, don't sweat the other crap. I look forward to seeing the post of where your travels will take you in your new chariot of the outdoors.

06-02-2013, 09:56 PM
My bass-boat buddies claimed that she was short, tan, and had been ridden hard also the little boat was fun to run around in as long as I don't have to tell them about it.
That has to be one of the best descriptions of a boat I've ever heard. Excellent post!

06-03-2013, 09:53 PM
Got out a bit tonight to check out a little pocket i had been eyeing for a while. The water was up and the wind was blowing into the pocket making it darn near perfect. I started strong with the wiggle minnow on the grass lines but had no luck. feeling that the bass would be back in the nasty stuff i tied on a big nasty deer hair frog and still no hits. at this point I got a bit discouraged and was hearing the ever telling brim and bait "pops" from the mat. So I did what any fly rodder would do to boost some confidence and decided to catch a few quick ones. I went with my go-to smaller popper and a woolly-bugger dropper. On the second cast I felt a slight tug, figuring it was a submerged grass I gave a solid tug to free the dropper. To my dismay the grass began to make a run to deeper water FISH ON!!!! after a short battle that involved Mr Large-mouth turning back into the weeds and a footrace to the mat to lip her out of the pads, she was officially fish in hand! Nothing like a solid bass to bend the 7wt! you simply cant beat a big black woolly bugger no matter what.

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/biggerside_zps0b93685a.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/biggerside_zps0b93685a.jpg.html)

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/bigmouth_zpsd6a7b713.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/bigmouth_zpsd6a7b713.jpg.html)

With my confidence renewed I decided best put my head down with 30 min of day light remaining to get my frog on. Not long after another glutton obliged and I had my second bass in 10 minutes. Making it better was seeing the gear fishers standing on the bank who must have thought me crazy for wading up to my waist in a mud hole!

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/basssmallerside_zps4f69b07d.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/basssmallerside_zps4f69b07d.jpg.html)

Until next time.........Tight Lines to all and to all a good night

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/byebye_zps8d3c9609.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/byebye_zps8d3c9609.jpg.html)

06-25-2013, 09:49 PM
I have Been busy chasing the grass monkeys down south in Chatt town the past week. They got a huge FLW outdoors bass tournament going on this week and the lake is slammed. The Snookie and her Captin have been busy holding their own though.....

They say all the fish are deep but i say the gear fishermen are just using patterns that are just too big and noisy. I have no issue busting bass froggy style. every night I’m going out im getting plenty of blow ups that make my hear skip a beat, unfortunately i only manage to boat a fraction of the darn bass. The emotional roller coaster experienced when you see that fish destroy the fly, dive deep feel the rod load and begin frantically stripping only to lose the fish 2-4 seconds later is something you just dont get too much fishing for trout (at least to my knowledge). You see the fly rod is great for many reason but also falls short in some areas. Im noticing that my hook up ratio is much higher on the fly rod since the rods are so limber. The issue comes when im trying to keep the ba$ta#ds on the line. I have trouble keeping enough pressure on them while they are jumpng with a wad of grass on them as well.....guess you can’t strip as fast as you can real....sigh any way i have been busy busting fish much to the chagrin of the others watching me

he he he :biggrin:

a few of my catches this week

Oh and i recently got my hands on a 8wt TFO Mangrove rod paired with a TFO BVK reel.....thats one sweet set up especially when paired with the Rio outbound short. it loads fast and carries a frog a long way yet still has enough back-bone to get some too the boat (no easy task). TFO is a great company to deal with and helped me out a ton....not sure i will ever buy a different brand rod after my recent experience.

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/basshand_zpsf4f0c1c4.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/basshand_zpsf4f0c1c4.jpg.html)

the big un' so far
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/waterbass_zps76d0db0d.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/waterbass_zps76d0db0d.jpg.html)

The vacuum
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/bassmouth_zps274235da.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/bassmouth_zps274235da.jpg.html)

el' Mangrove
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/mangrovebass_zps7e1a01f8.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/mangrovebass_zps7e1a01f8.jpg.html)

06-26-2013, 06:42 AM
Nice post and excellent pictures! Thanks for sharing!

David Knapp
06-26-2013, 09:18 PM
Man I'm loving these reports! That topwater action has got to be a blast. Keep 'em coming. Good work and good luck as you keep getting back out there!

Byron Begley
07-31-2013, 07:31 PM
Hey Big Max,

Thank you for sharing your story, photos and that incredible boat. I know that boat! So, I guess I know you too. I'm pretty sure I talked to you and admired your vessel at the shop.

I always wondered what it would be like to fish lower Little River in a boat like yours. That seems to be a perfect Little River boat.

I think the grass you are talking about is milfoil. I may be wrong. I've heard milfoil is coming back on your waters and improving the fishing in a huge way. I wish we had some up here, just not too much of it.


07-31-2013, 09:04 PM
Awesome reports! And what a Pig in those last few pic, gorgeous Bass!!! I like the boat, like everyone else has said, perfect skinny water platform, and economical to run I'm sure. Nice rig!
Byron, we have some Milfoil too, but we have a lot of Hydrilla here and that stuff is worse than wire grass! Once you've got it, or Lilly pads, then it's everywhere.

08-06-2013, 09:51 PM
Brian you are correct! I stopped by the shop after my trip to the little river earlier this summer. I remember you asked about a place to stay to fish the Big Chick as they are calling it these days. Dayton TN has rebranded herself as the “New Bass Fishing Capitol of the South.”


I bet if u called around u, or anyone else, could find a cabin to rent. That area is great fishing. We have done well in tournaments up there throwing frogs and sammys.

As summer as dragged on the Snookie has continued to chase bass around Chickamauga and Nickajack. There have been some changes as of late. My early summer grass bite has tapered off as the water temperatures have climbed. The bass have gone deep in search of cooler water and I have struggled to catch the big uns’ as of late. That being said I am still catching smaller buck bass in the grass and schooling on points. I cant wait for later in the year when the grass starts to die and the canopy forms. This is when the BIG GIRLS come to play on top!

Schooling bass are something that I hope everyone can witness sometime in theor lives. Rapid fire fishing is lots’O’fun! It never fails that my casting ability (mediocore at best) drops significantly when my blood boils as the fish start jumping. Speed is of the essence as the only thing that matters is getting any bait into the target zone! Wiggle minnows, poppers, clousers, and even frogs it don’t matter the fish will eat.

The Honey Hole! and

Obligatory Bass Pics...enjoy
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/honeyhole_zps62b365d4.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/honeyhole_zps62b365d4.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/backhandbass_zpsdaf0b3bc.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/backhandbass_zpsdaf0b3bc.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/smallschooler_zpsccfb67ff.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/smallschooler_zpsccfb67ff.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/smallbassbigfrog_zps0b0f4e03.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/smallbassbigfrog_zps0b0f4e03.jpg.html)

There are times when it doesn’t seem to stop raining. It seems all I do is dodge storms.

fish till the storm is on top of you then run home
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/Thundahead_zpsc58d4c16.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/Thundahead_zpsc58d4c16.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/sunsetandcloud_zpsa3220003.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/sunsetandcloud_zpsa3220003.jpg.html)

The grass as continued to grow. The spots I was fishing a month ago are now covered with a combination of American Pond Weed (I think) and hydrilla on top with a healthy layer of milfoil coming up below. I tend to troll or paddle around listening for ever telling sounds of the snap crackly pop of the active areas and proceed to beat them up with the frog. Last year, when I was in Knoxville, the upper stretches of Loudon around campus had grass all around. Go check out the bank around Sequoyah hills, you will see

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/themess_zps6c955ba7.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/themess_zps6c955ba7.jpg.html)
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/underwater_zpsd788ac74.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/underwater_zpsd788ac74.jpg.html)

Summer continues..............keep getting all that you can out of her!
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/SunsetonSookie_zps0ff3639b.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/SunsetonSookie_zps0ff3639b.jpg.html)

08-06-2013, 10:43 PM
MUSKY!!!...a TR

I was lucky enough to have a good friend in engineering school who was a di- hard fly-guy that got me turned onto this sport a few years back. After school he went up to Virginia for a job (apparently you got to have one of those) there he began to chase the fish of 10,000 cast on the Shenandoah. Now this kid has probably put in 30,000 cast and doesn’t have anything to show for it except a strong shoulder and a handful of follows. Undeterred he called me up and said he would be back in Knoxvegas for a day and want to go check out “Da Hill.” Having not seen him in a few months I obliged and we decided on a day I hitched up the Snook and drove north.

We got to the water early around 7 and the fog was thick. Be began throwing the modified chicken carcasses (musky flys) at lay downs realizing it was still early and the water was cold. We both took turns casting or should I say hucking flys with most retrieves ending in a lengthy figure-8. This is something that I have decided that fly rods were not intended to do. Melton Hill is surprisingly clear, I have not been on this lake in years. My dad used to take me down to Clark Center when I was yound to catch blue gills and such. It was good to be back.

Flied tied and ready mounted on BIG STICKS
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/muskyfly_zps50e035ac.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/muskyfly_zps50e035ac.jpg.html)

The Snookie was loaded and ready to hunt
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/snookieloaded_zpsd3480b5d.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/snookieloaded_zpsd3480b5d.jpg.html)

Casting at day break the fog was thick
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/calebcast1_zpsdccc6b1f.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/calebcast1_zpsdccc6b1f.jpg.html)

Figure 8
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/figure8_zpsfb78eb4f.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/figure8_zpsfb78eb4f.jpg.html)

One of the dead chickens in action
http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/muskyfly2_zps97b44ec9.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/muskyfly2_zps97b44ec9.jpg.html)

An hour or so into the trip we found some schooling smallies. I have never seen smallies school, and it was fun to watch. It was a 15 minute long affair that took up nearly half a cove. This was much longer and bigger than a largemouth feeding frenzy. Didn’t get any pics of the bass, but they were good sized and each puked up a fair share of “leavins” in the boat.

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/leavins_zpsebe09a58.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/leavins_zpsebe09a58.jpg.html)

Breakfast was served on the boat as we ran to warmer water in the back of large inlets and creek moths looking for the monsters.

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/breakfastofchamps_zpsfc6409f6.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/breakfastofchamps_zpsfc6409f6.jpg.html)

Navigation was key

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/map_zps7627daf0.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/map_zps7627daf0.jpg.html)

Later in the day I, my turn came and I mounted the bow of the Snookie. A few cast in I started my retrieve as normal as my ***-hole 1st mate continued to critique my “side armed, ill-timed, and inaccurate” casting (hucking) of the 8” fly. A few strips in from the bank a NUCLEAR SUBMARINE became faintly visible behind the fly. My heart beat jumped, hair stood up, and breathing stoped. There she was….over 40 inches of pure predator. As I stripped she would follow…each strip my muscles tightened. What felt like an eternity was probably 30-45 seconds? I have never seen a fish move so slow or deliberately. Bass and other game fish make a decision to eat or attack and do it instantly….not musky. As I brought the fly to the boat, musky in tow, I begain to make my figure 8. The fish was so long that I was careful not to hit her with the rod tip. 1 ½ times around the fly went and she followed………and like that the fish disappeared below the boat into the deep. I continued to repeat my the cast and figure 8 with no luck. It was hard to cast since my leg continued to shake for a few minutes afterwards. A few minutes later we decided to contine down the bank as we assumed we were in the right place. Just a few minutes later I saw another musky, smaller than the first lurking below a over hanging tree !!!!! my buddy could not believe my luck. He though for sure I would land a musky of my first outing while he still has not gotten his first. Cast after cast began to seduce her out of hiding. These fish are fearless as the fly banged and splashed around her. Finally she appeared to take note and the process began again….muscles tightened breathing slowed and hair stood on end. Strip…..follow, pause……strip….follow,pause….strip……follow,pause……s trip……follow,pause……strip……follow,pause….to the boat she came paying no attention to the Snookie and her crew. As I began the figure 8 she dove….never to be seen again. After collecting my thoughts and letting all of the surrounding area know my displeasure we switched and proceeded to fish. I wish I would have gotten a picture of these fish chasing the fly but we were both so entranced it was the last thing on our minds.

As the day wore on now more fish were seen but the feeling those fish gave me well bring me back soon. The muskellunge is a worthy advisary and will test a seasoned angler, but the sight of a small submarine following the fly is something I have not experienced and will not experience again until It happens again

Until Next time

08-12-2013, 11:55 AM
Love Love these posts!!

08-12-2013, 01:59 PM
I didn't realize that this post kept going. I'm glad I checked back. Keep up with the updates.

08-12-2013, 02:12 PM
Hey Buzz,
Check out that t-cloud with the mushroom top! Awesome shot!!

08-12-2013, 03:49 PM
Hey Buzz,
Check out that t-cloud with the mushroom top! Awesome shot!!

I thought it was a cool shot. He almost got the whole reflection off the water.

08-12-2013, 03:52 PM
Breakfast was served on the boat as we ran to warmer water in the back of large inlets and creek moths looking for the monsters.

http://i481.photobucket.com/albums/rr180/mtrent11/breakfastofchamps_zpsfc6409f6.jpg (http://s481.photobucket.com/user/mtrent11/media/breakfastofchamps_zpsfc6409f6.jpg.html)

I'm not real sure what I think of this. A vanilla bean stout!?! I might try it if someone else was buying.

08-12-2013, 09:33 PM
Great post and photos.l live near chickamauga and the photo of the mushroom shaped cloud got my attention. Look in the treeline,just a little right of center,and you can see the twin cooling towers of the sequoyah nuclear plant. Pretty cool photo