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BigMax 06-01-2013 06:22 PM

Warm Water Wonderings
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
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.
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 wasnít anything to write home about but small-jaws always fight hard.

The grass in these lakes also comes in much thicker than it does on Loudan or the other impediments farther north. Whether itís 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!

More to come as the summer wears on!

FYI .....
bass like wiggle minnows

Troutman 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:

bigsur 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!

flyred06 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.

buzzmcmanus 06-02-2013 09:56 PM


Originally Posted by BigMax (Post 106406)
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!

BigMax 06-03-2013 09:53 PM

Grass is good!
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.

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!

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

BigMax 06-25-2013 09:49 PM

most exciting way to fish.....and most heart breaking
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 Iím 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 canít 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.


the big un' so far

The vacuum

el' Mangrove

MadisonBoats 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.


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