5/14/17 Smith. Smith has been great lately. I won the Grabow Outdoors tournament on April 29th and have had some unreal guide trips since then. Fish are starting to school a bit and the topwater action has been tremendous with the Strike King Sexy Dawg. Throw it on 15lb P-Line CXX Xtra Strong mono and hang on! Shaky heads with a KVD Finesse worm are also producing when the fish are not schooling on top. The night fishing is also very good although I have only been able to go once due to fishing every day.
5/14/17 Guntersville. The fishing has been good at Guntersville lately. A variety of baits in the grass have been producing. Each morning a KVD Spinnerbait has gotten us off to a good start around the shad spawn. After that bite is over, a Texas Rig has been good. Just about any plastic has been working, from Game Hawgs to Thumper worms in green pumpkin. A KVD Splash has also been picking up a few fish and the Sexy Dawg bite will pick up any day now.
5/14/17 Pickwick. The plentiful rainfall lately has kept the water moving, which has been positive for the smallmouth bite on Pickwick. My last trip saw my client boat a 6.0 and a 5.5 smallmouth in the first hour on a Shadalicious Swimbait and a KVD Spinnerbait. The flipping bite has also been good down the lake. The ledge bite is just around the corner, so its almost time to get out the Strike King Football Jigs and Rage Craws.
3/8/17 Pickwick. So far we have had enough rain to keep the current moving and the smallmouth have been responding this spring. I have also had some big largemouths lately on Pickwick. Shadalicious Swimbaits have been the best bet along with football jigs and shaky heads for smallies. The KVD Red Eye shad and KVD 1.5 squarebill has been good for largemouths. It is shaping up to be a banner year at Pickwick!
3/7/17 Smith. The fish have been very active lately with water temps in the mid to upper 50s. I have had consistent success with a 1/4 ounce shaky head rigged with a green pumpkin Strike King KVD Finesse worm or Ocho. Rocky banks in 10-25 feet have been the prime locations. We have also been able to catch fish on a Sexy Dawg topwater already as there has been some schooling activity. A few fish have also been caught on a Strike King 5XD in dingy water.
11/23/16 Wheeler. The fishing has been very good on Wheeler lately. Find the shad and you will find the fish and the shad have been easy to find lately. Different baits seem to work better on different days, but the mainstays have been Strike King Sexy Dawgs, KVD 1.5 squarebills and lipless Red Eye Shads, all in shad colors. A shaky head with a KVD Finesse worm has also been productive when the fish dont want to chase.
2/29/16 Smith. Smith Lake just may be the best lake in Alabama right now. 20lb limits of spotted bass have been winning tournaments all winter long. The lake is still below full pool and much more stained or muddy than its usual clear self. This has had the fish shallower than normal all year and also biting with water temps in the 50s. Strike King crankbaits have been the best lures, from a KVD 1.5 squarebill in super shallow water to a 5XD out to 15 foot depths. Another hot bait has been a Bitsy Bug jig with a Rage Craw trailer in black and blue or green pumpkin depending on water clarity.
12/14/15 Guntersville. The mild weather has the fishing pretty good right now on Guntersville. I just spent a lot of time on the lake in preparation for the BASS Team Championship last week. I had some great days and some good ones and caught lots of nice fish. My best bait was a half ounce Red Eye Shad followed by a KVD 1.5 squarebill. I also caught fish on Shadalicious Swimbaits before the water got dirty. Scattered grass areas were the best areas for me in 5-10 feet of water. We wound up 25th overall after catching almost 22lbs the first day and 14 the second.
12/14/15 Smith. The spots at Smith are still biting and will bite all winter. This is the best time to catch trophy spots on Smith. Jigs and shaky heads are the top two baits and they should be fished from 15-30 feet. Brushpiles are key to a consistent bite. The cold weather does not hurt the bite on Smith during the winter.
8/20/15 Guntersville. It's all about the grass right now at Guntersville. The flippiing bite is pretty good in the hydrilla and milfoil. A 1 ounce Strike King flipping jig with a Rage Craw trailer or a 1 ounce tungsten weight with a Strike King rodent are the best options. The frog bite is also starting right now in a few areas as the milfoil gets topped out.. It should only get better in the coming weeks.
8/20/15 Smith. The daytime action has been sporadic on Smith lately, with the best fishing coming at night. However, that will change in a week or two as the daytime action heats up. September is a great time to be on Smith for big spotted bass. Topwaters like a Strike King Sexy Dawg, swimbaits, crankbaits, and a shaky head worm will catch fish throughout the fall..
8/20/15 PIckwick. Right now the grass bite is the best on Pickwick. Look for the hydrilla and milfoil down from the Colbert Steam Plant to find the best action for largemouths. Topwater, spinnerbaits and worms are the best options. The Smallmouth bite is just around the corner. The fall is a great time to catch big smallmouth on topwater, swimbaits, and jigs. Book now to get in on the best smallmouth action in the state.
6/20/15 Guntersville. The fishing at the Big G is pretty good to great on most days. We have been catching fish on big worms in the grass and out deep on the ledges and shell beds. The Strike King Anaconda worm has been effective on a Texas Rig or a Shaky Head. I have also been catching them on a football jig deep and a Hackney Swim jig in the grass with Rage Craws as trailers on both. When the fish are feeding aggressively, the Shadalicious Swimbait has been dynamite for short bursts of activity. It is hot and has been very calm most days lately, with the fishing a grind until you happen on a school of feeding fish. We have had 20-30 minute flurries everyday where we catch or lose multiple big fish, those are the times that make the day! I expect the action to pick up in the next few weeks on topwater and the Simming Caffeine Shad around the grass.
6/20/15 Smith. There is still some feeding going on at Smith in the mornings and late in the evenings. Stripers have been very active this week early. The majority of the fishing is done on Smith at night from now until September, however. The spots have been biting a spinnerbait on the few trips I have been able to do this summer. There is certainly nothing quite like a big Spot hammering a spinnerbait at night. A half ounce or 3/4 ounce black spinnerbait on 20lb P-Line flourocarbon is my go to bait for night fishing. Getting bites on the old reliable shaky head with a black KVD finesse worm is not a problem on most nights. Brushpiles are the key for big fish in 15-25 feet of water.
6/20/15 Pickwick. I have spent quite a bit of time on the lower end of Pickwick lately fishing ledges and shell beds. The fishing has been pretty good every day, and great when there is a lot of current running. It seems as if you can catch them on whatever your favorite deep bait is right now. Strike King 6XD and 10XD crankbaits, 5.5 inch Shadalicious Swimbaits, 11 inch worms, football jigs, drop shots, shaky heads, you name it, they have been biting it. Get in the right spot at the right time and you can load the boat.
5/24/15 Smith. The fish are feeding voraciously on most days right now. Schooling activity is common on lots of days and the schoolers will bite if you can get close enough to them. KVD Sexy Dawg topwaters, Caffeine Shad and swimming caffiene shads and Strike King Series 5XD crankbaits will catch the active fish. We won the early morning tournament out of the park on Saturday with 17.71 pounds in 5 hours. I have also had a lot of recent trips in which our best five spots weighed 17-19 pounds and we have caught between 30-60 fish on all of them. No doubt the impact of the blueback herring in the lake has made Smith Lake a great spotted bass fishery. Night fishing is also picking up. I caught a ton of fish on a 1/2 ounce KVD Night spinnerbait last week at night. We also caught them on a shaky head with a black KVD finesse worm. All the fish we caught at night were in 15 feet of water or less.
5/23/15 Guntersville. Fishing at Guntersville is getting better and better. The fish are done spawning, the milfoil is growing well and they are becoming more and more active. Fish can be caught around the grass or on deeper shell beds and ledges. I have had a lot of success with a KVD Swimming Caffeine Shad around the grass and the Sexy Dawg is also catching more and more. The deeper fish are coming on a Strike King 6XD crankbait, a Shadalicious swimbait and a football jig with a Rage Craw trailer.
4/1/15 Pickwick. Clients and I have been having some success for both big largemouth and smallmouths in the last couple of weeks. As always, when TVA runs a lot of current though the lake, the fishing gets awesome and it slows down when the current isn't very strong. The best baits for both lately have been Strike King Shadalicious Swimbaits, football jigs, The KVD Jerkbait and a KVD 1.5. We have caught fish from deeper rockpiles, current breaks and shallow wood. They have gotten really shallow the last few days.
4/1/15 Smith. Smith has been awesome all winter long and now the fish are really moving up and biting in shallow water. Any number of presentations are working at the moment. The shaky head worm with a green pumpkin KVD finesse worm is the steadiest producer. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits and A-Rigs are also working. There are fish on the beds and still lots of prespawn fish as well. They can be caught from 0-20 feet right now, but most of them seem to be shallow.
4/1/15 Wilson. The fishing has been really good on Wilson lately. Clients and I are catching lots of big largemouth and smallmouths on every trip. The fish are also very shallow and many are on beds or close to it. Soft plastics on a shaky head or a weightless Ocho have been great in the shallow water. We have also caught fish on deep rockpiles and points with the Shadalicious and a Strike King Series 5XD crankbait.
4/1/15 Guntersville. The fish at Guntersville finally seem to be moving up into the shallow flats and bays. There are fish spawning and prespawners as well. The Redeye Shad rattlebaits are still working around new grass growth on the outer edges. The soft plastic bite is also picking up. A green pumpkin Ocho rigged wacky or weightless or with a small tungsten sinker will work well.
2/15/15 Guntersville. Fishing has been picking up on Guntersville after a slow winter. The dead grass areas are holding fish as usual and the typical patterns are working for February. Some days the fish will be pretty active and on other days it is a grind to catch a few. The best baits have been rattle baits and crankbaits in a red color. The KVD 1.5 and Red Eye Shad have been my favorites. A jerkbait has also been effective over the top of the dead grass.
1/18/14 Smith. There is no better time than the winter time for catching big spotted bass on Smith Lake. The action isn't as fast as the spring or fall, but the big ones like to bite this time of year. The Strike King Bitsy Bug jig with a Rage Craw trailer is hard to beat for big spots. Fish it around brush anywhere from 20-30 feet deep. If the fish won't hit the jig well, the shaky head with a green pumpkin finesse worm is the other option for this time of year. Throw it in the same places and don't expect a hard bite. Most likely, the fish will just swim off with it, so having a good rod like the Dobyns Champion Series 703SF is a key to feeling the bite.
12/7/14 Smith. The fishing has been awesome this fall on Smith. We have caught tons of big spotted bass on a variety of lures. The Strike King Sexy Dawg topwater has been my clients favorite with the explosive topwater strikes. A caffeine shad has also been very good at times. The fish are beginning to transition to their winter homes, requiring a slower presentation in the coming weeks. A Strike King Bitsy Bug jig with a green pumpkin Rage Craw trailer becomes my go to bait in the winter time. A shaky head with a green pumpkin finesse worm is also an option when the fish wont bite the jig. On some winter day the spoon bite can also be a lot of fun. Look for schools of fish in 20-30 feet of water with your electronics to find the spoon fish.
10/15/14 Pickwick. The recent work on Pickwick Dam has the water level lower than usual, but this week's heavy rains has temporarily alleviated that problem. The current has been kicking up in the afternoons, but again, the rains have solved that problem with a constant heavy flow this week. The result this week should be awesome fishing from one end of the lake to the other. It has been decent at times lately, as my clients have been catching some big fish, both smallmouth and largemouth, but the action has been sporadic. Early morning and midafternoon have been the best times. The cooling nights will also drop the water temps, another positive factor for fishing. The next few weeks will be the best fishing of the fall on Pickwick!
10/15/14 Smith. Water temp low 70s, clear, down 8 feet.The fishing has been fantastic on Smith Lake this fall. The big spots started biting in early September and haven't stopped. The feeding frenzy should last throughout November and into December if it doesn't get too cold. The fish are biting a number of different lures, with a topwater walking bait such as a Strike King Sexy Dawg being the best and most fun. A fast walk the dog retrieve works most days, but on some days they prefer it a little slower.
9/12/14 Pickwick. The grass on the lower end is producing largemouth, with some schooling going on around it. Spinnerbaits, Topwaters and swimbaits have been the best bets around the grass. The smallmouth bite is just around the corner and there is no better fishing in North Alabama than the fall bite at Pickwick. I have a few days open in October and plenty of days in November to catch the smallmouth of a lifetime.
9/12/14 Smith. I have had some awesome trips on Smith in the past couple of weeks and the fishing will only get better as the water cools off. The fish have been active most days for 2-3 hours at a time and my clients and I have been catching some big spots. We have fished all over the lake at various depths to catch them. Jigs, shaky heads, crankbaits, swimbaits and topwaters have all been in play, with the best bait changing from day to day.
9/12/14 Guntersville. The fishing has been pretty tough for the most part on the big G. I have seen a few schoolers but they are tough to catch. Finesse worms and jigs, swimbaits and topwaters around the grass have been the best bets. The frog bite is best up the river, with the milfoil mats few and far between midlake and downriver. The hydrilla is very healthy and taking over in a lot of areas with milfoil. The flipping and frog bite will get better daily from now on.
7/1/14 Smith. The daytime bite is pretty slow other than the first hour or two of the morning and the last hour of daylight. Crankbaits, Jigs and shaky head worms are your best bet for these times. The best fishing is at night, however. A Strike King single Colorado blade spinnerbait is my favorite way to catch spots on Smith Lake and they have been biting it well lately. Fish are anywhere from 2-20 feet at night and you will catch them at all depths over the course of a night. A shaky head around brush is a good alternative when the spinnerbait bite is slow.
7/1/14 Guntersville. CIients and I have been catching them on every trip to Guntersville lately. Some days the numbers are pretty good and other days the quality is terrific with fewer numbers. I have basically targeted whatever my clients wanted to do. I fished one tournament on June 28 and weighed in 22lbs which took 7th place on a day that the big fish didn't bite well and we lost a couple that would have helped. For numbers, a Strike King Sexy Dawg or KVD Splash on top and a swimming caffeine shad have been the ticket over the grass. The bigger fish I have been catching lately have all been on a jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer. We have had some awesome days on the jig in water from 5-20 feet.
7/1/14 Wheeler. I haven't fished Wheeler much, but when I have it has been pretty good. I weighed in 19lbs on June 14th in the Autism tourney and I have had some really good days with clients as well. Our best day we had 24lbs in a short time. All of my fishing on Wheeler lately has been deep, with shell beds, brush and ledges being the targets. l have been catching them on the usual baits for me: 3/4 ounce Strike King Tour Grade Football jig, Shaky head, 11 inch worm, and a Strike King 10XD crankbait. As usual, the more current the better and when you find one, there are more with it.
5/24/14 Smith. The topwater bite has been terrific on Smith Lake over the past two weeks. The Strike King Sexy Dawg has been the bait of choice for me and my clients. We have been catching between 40-60 bass per trip with a few stripers mixed in each day. Look for bass feeding on the surface and thrown right in the activity. If there is no visible surface activity, look for feeding fish on windy banks, points and pockets. Other good options have been a Strike King Caffeine Shad rigged on a weightless hook and worked very fast or a KVD Swim-N-Shiner rigged on a light jighead. This is absolutely the best time to fish Smith Lake and the great fishing should last another few weeks.
5/24/14 Guntersville. The fishing at Guntersville is awesome right now, the best time of the year to be on the lake in my opinion. Fish are everywhere from very shallow out to 20 feet on the ledges. The shallow fish are around the growing milfoil and the Swimming Caffeine Shad and the Swim-N-Shiner have been the best bets. Some days they will also bite a topwater, either the Sexy Dawg or the KVD Splash. For the deep fish on the ledges and shellbeds, a variety of baits have been working. My favorite is the Tour Grade football jig with a Rage Craw trailer, and we have also been catching them on a Shadalicious swimbait on a 3/4ounce head, a Sexy Spoon, and 6xd and 10xd crankbaits. Recent trips over the past two weeks have resulted in 30-65 fish per day.
4/28/14 Guntersville. Fishing remains pretty much the same at Guntersville. The fish are still in all three phases of the spawn, with more in the post spawn phase than anything else. The soft plastic bite in and around the spawning areas has been consistent for numbers and some big ones as well. A Strike King Ocho rigged wacky or with a small weight Texas rigged were the best bets. The swimbait bite has also been good around new grass growth and will only get better and better. The shad spawn is getting started as well and the May feeding frenzy will offer some awesome fishing.
4/28/14 Pickwick. The smallmouth are mostly finished bedding and are beginning to feed again. We have had some great trips tossing the Ocho around shallow rocky flats and pockets over the past couple of weeks, but that seems to be coming to an end. The topwater bite and the swimbait, jig and crankbait bite will be firing up on the offshore humps and ledges. Largemouth on Pickwick are behind and many are still spawning or just beginning to spawn. We caught lots of fat prespawners last week around the same areas as the smallmouth.
4/28/14 Smith. Smith Lake has been awesome lately, although I haven't been able to get on the Lake as much as I would have liked. When I have been able to go to the lake, the fish were shallow and feeding. Some fish have been on the beds already and some have not. There are certain days where the spots are already schooling on shad and the action can be fast and furious. May is absolutely the most fun time to fish Smith with some remarkable days on topwater baits. This May shapes up to be a great one with everything happening right on time.
4/15/14 Guntersville. The fun has really begun at Guntersville! I had an 8lber and two 7s in trips last week and clients caught a ton of fish. We targeted spawning areas, old and new grass and deeper eelgrass and caught fish in all three areas. The KVD swimming shiner and KVD swimming caffeine shad on a small jighead caught tons of fish in the grass and any type of soft plastic worked around spawning areas. An Ocho rigged wacky or with a small weight Texas rigged were the best bets. The fishing will be awesome from now until it gets super hot in July, and 50+ fish days will be common until then. This is the best time to fish Guntersville for numbers of fish with some big ones mixed in.
4/15/14 Smith. The lake is over full pool, but still clear in most places. The fish are feeding aggressively all over the lake and catching 40-50 fish is not uncommon. There are plenty of fish that have spawned, many are on the beds now, and some are still prespawners. A shaky head with a Strike King KVD finesse worm is the best bet for numbers and size, but just about anything will catch a few. Ochos have also been a good bait lately and they are still biting jerkbaits, A-Rigs and spinnerbaits as well. It wont be long before the topwater bite gets underway completely. I caught my first topwater fish of the year last Saturday.
4/15/14 Pickwick/Wilson. The fishing has been really good on Pickwick and Wilson thanks to the recent rains and increased current. We have had some awesome days on both lakes catching lots of big smallmouth and largemouths. Swimbaits, jigs, crankbaits and soft plastics have been the best baits. The fish are moving shallow and some are spawning on hard bottom areas. The prespawners are biting in staging areas and current breaks, with largemouth around dead grass and wood.
3/25/14 Pickwick. The fishing has slowed some at Pickwick, especially for smallmouth due to the low water and lack of current. This week the flow has been less than 20,000cfs, which is not conducive for smallies. Some fish are still being caught, but it is not wide open like it was at the first of the month. Largemouths have been shallow around wood and grass and will bite jigs, rattle baits and spinnerbaits. We need some rain to get the great smallmouth bite going again.
3/25/14 Wilson. The lack of current has not affected the bite on Wilson as much as Pickwick even though it would be much better with more current. Smallmouths, hybrids and stripers are biting some around the dam and the largemouth bite is picking up down the lake.
3/25/14 Guntersville. The fish are shallow, deep and in between. I have not thrown soft plastics much yet, but have caught a few when I did. The jerkbait, crankbait and swimbait bite has been very consistent around whatever dead grass you can find. We have been catching 15-30 each day with some nice one mixed in each day. Find one and there are usually more in the near vicinity. Some days they bite one bait better than others, you just have to mix it up until you figure out what they want.
3/11/14 Pickwick. I won the BFL on Pickwick on Saturday the 8th with 23-4 of all smallmouth. I caught them on a Strike King Shadalicious swimbait and a 3/4 ounce football jig with a Rage Craw trailer. The brown fish were biting well last week as TVA ran lots of water through Wilson Dam. It has slowed down this week and the smallies have gotten finicky but can still be caught. The lower end is producing some fat largemouths right now as they are moving up into shallow water. Red Eye Shads, KVD 1.5 crankbaits and spinnerbaits did the job on the largemouth for me and my clients today in 2-6 feet of water.
3/10/14 Guntersville. The fishing is improving tremendously at Guntersville due to the rise in water temps. Temps have hit 58 degrees in some pockets and are 52-53 degrees on the river. The bass are feeding in the dead grass along the river and will fall to a crankbait, rattle bait or a jerkbait. I have also found them in pockets with a rattle bait. The bridges and causeways continue to get pounded by fishermen, but are producing fish.
2/24/14 Smith. Bass at Smith have been in the doldrums the past couple of weeks due to a massive shad kill and the lake turning over. Today we found them active all over the lake. There are some parts of the lake that are muddy but it is clear down by the dam. We caught largemouths and spots today in a variety of depths. The Strike King 5XD crankbait produced fish as well as a finesse worm on a 1/4ounce shaky head.
2/21/14 Guntersville. The Classic is over but the fishing is about to explode. Warmer water temps have the fish moving up and the fish are biting. Small crankbaits like the KVD 1.5 and rattle baits like the Red Eye Shad are producing around shallow areas with grass and stumps. This is without a doubt the best time to catch a big female before she lays her eggs. Water temps were as high as 62 in places this weekend.
2/1/14 Guntersville. Water temps reached as low as 37 degrees in the past week and the fish are sluggish to say the least. There were many coves and creeks that were covered in ice in shallow areas up to an inch thick. I fished a couple of days leading up to the ABT Tournament on Saturday and it was as tough as I have ever seen Guntersville. We managed three bites on Saturday for 11.60lbs which was good for 49th place. There were 80 zeroes among the 200 boat field. A Strike King KVD 1.5 produced all of our bites on the day. As the water warms up, the fishing will get better and the rattle bait and 1.5 will be major players.
1/15/14 Guntersville. The bite should be getting really good soon at Guntersville. Rattlebaits, jerkbaits and A-Rigs take center stage this time of year until April on the Big G. This is a great time to catch a true monster, the most likely time of the year to catch a 10+lb fish.
1/15/14 Smith. The winter bite is on at Smith. Jigs and shaky head worms are the best bet day in and day out, but on some days a crankbait is hard to beat. The jig bite is my primary weapon right now and it is the best time to catch a giant spotted bass on Smith Lake.
1/15/14 Pickwick. The smallmouth bite is decent as always during the winter, but it busts wide open in March. I have a few days left if you are interested in getting in on the best action of the year for big smallmouth!
10/22/13 Pickwick. The bite has been great lately on Pickwick. Largemouth are schooling around the grass and will bite when they aren’t chasing minnows. Spit-N-Kings, Sexy Dawgs and swimming caffeine shads have been the best bets. Current breaks and humps have been the best locations for smallies, with swimbaits and topwaters.
10/22/13 Wilson. The fall on Wilson means live bait below the dam and the bite has been good lately. Shad are easy to come by at the dam and every species of fish on the river will bite. We had 20+ smallies on my last trip, plus stripers, white bass, catfish, drum, largemouths and probably something else I forgot.
10/22/13 Smith. The fall bite is picking up on Smith under the right conditions. Topwater,, swimbaits, crankbaits and shaky heads are the best options right now and there has been some sporadic schooling. I expect the bite to get better and better over the next few weeks until it gets really cold and the winter jig bite picks up.
10/22/13 Guntersville. The frog bite is finally picking up on Guntersville. It has been a slow fall, but with the water temps dropping the bite is picking up. I have also had some luck on a spinnerbait and a Sexy Dawg on some days.
8/20/13 Guntersville. The lake looks good, with hydrilla and milfoil growing in all areas of the lake. The grass is topped out in some places, but I haven’t seen many great looking frog mats yet. Best baits over the past couple of weeks have been a Sexy Dawg topwater bait, an Anaconda 11 inch worm, or flipping a 1oz Hackney jig or a Rodent on a 1oz tungsten weight. The swimming caffeine shad is also still producing fish on most trips. Some days the topwater bite is the best bet, on other days the flipping bite rules. I have also caught a few fish on deep ledges with a football jig or big worm. Typical days lately have been 20-40 fish with several good ones mixed in each day.
7/25/13 Guntersville. The water is back to normal, clear and normal current flowing through the lake. The grass is in great shape, with hydrilla and milfoil topping out in places. There are still some schooling fish in places up and down the river and they will bite just about anything resembling a shad. Most are small, but there are occasionally some 4-5lbers mixed in with them. The flipping bite has been good to great depending on the day. If you want more quality and less quantity, that is the way to go. You can also catch some fish deep on a football jig, 6XD crankbait or a big worm. They are also hit or miss depending on the day.
7/24/13 Wheeler. I had several tournament prep trips this week with the Fishers of Men Legacy tournament in town. I fished from Decatur to the dam, with varying degrees of success. Our best fish came on a football jig, and we also caught them on a shaky head and a big worm. It is pretty tough out there right now as it usually is on Wheeler in the dog days of summer. However, with the right kind of baits in the right places, there are still some fish to be caught.
7/21/13 Smith. JB and I fished three different night tourneys on Smith in the past week. We had 13.80lbs to finish 3rd at the dam on the 13th, 12.95 at the dam to finish 5th on the 19th and 12.49 on the 20th in the all nighter out of the park. We have not been able to get the 4-5lb bites to put us over the top, but we have caught plenty of fish in the 2-3lb range each night. Most of our fish are coming on a shaky head with a black worm, with a few spinnerbait fish each night. Some nights the fish bite the blade better than others, but the worm bite has been consistent each night. The fish are between 10-20 feet, and brushpiles have helped.
7/10/13 Wheeler. I was on Wheeler the past couple of days and the fishing was terrific both days. The water is ripping, with 200K CFS being pulled through the lake, but it is normal pool. On the lower end on Tuesday, we fished deep structure with a football jig and a swimbait and caught some nice fish in a short time. Our best five went 20lbs and came from 15-20 feet. The water on the lower end is still fairly clear and very fishable. On Wednesday, I had a trip out of Decatur with one client. We were unable to fish the river channel due to the high current and tons of floating debris, but we found the fish on current breaks and they were grouped up when we found them. Our best five weighed about 17-18 pounds and we caught tons of 3lb fish, but nothing over 4. Best baits were a shaky head and a football jig, but the fish were all surprisingly shallow, five feet or less.
7/8/13 Guntersville. The water is high and muddy at Guntersville, with lots of floating debris in the water. Many areas that I have been catching them are unfishable now, but on Monday we still managed to find some clear water and a few fish that would cooperate. We had a 6lb10oz fish, a 5-5, and several four pounders that we flipped up out of the grass. I spent a lot of time flipping, but when we did throw topwater and swimbaits they were biting. Hopefully the water will begin clearing up soon and the terrific fishing will return.
7/3/13 Smith. I fished Smith Lake three times in the past few days. JB and I fished the benefit tourney out of the Dam last Friday night from 7-2. We wound up 3rd with 12.60 and it took 18 to win. It was pretty slow before dark with all of the boat traffic and it didnt get much better after dark. We caught one over before dark on a buzzbait and after dark our biggest fish came on a spinnerbait and everything else was on a shaky head. Sunday morning, I had a short trip with a couple of guys from Bham that just bought a place on the lake. We fished a Sexy Dawg topwater and a shaky head and caught several spots, nothing over 3lbs. We missed more bites than we caught as they were not very aggressive.
I was back for a night trip on Wednesday with a gentleman and his grandson, who were renting a house on the lake for the holiday. It was one of those awesome nights on the water, as the big fish were biting! We had several bites before dark, including a 3lb spot that hit on my first cast of the evening as I tried to demonstrate walking the dog with a Sexy Dawg. After dark, the fish hit a spinnerbait and a shaky head, with my client putting on a clinic while fishing a shaky head for the first time. He caught 4lb spots on back to back casts on our first stop and we caught them until we quit at 1AM. My clients’ best five spots weighed 17lbs, and I probably would have added a pound to our total with what I caught when I fished. I do have evening and night trips available on Smith, preferably during the week when the ski boat traffic is minimal. Call or email to book your trip.
The fishing continues to be terrific on Guntersville and the heat has not been bad at all. Mornings, evenings, midday, they bite all the time it seems like. I was out last Friday for a full day before fishing a night tourney at Smith and had another awesome day. We landed 67 on the day, with a solid 20+ pound bag. We saw a little bit of schooling, but most of our fish were not schoolers.
Monday was a little slower with a couple of recent high school grads. We landed 30 out of around 45-50 bites, did not see any schooling, but still managed to get bit most everywhere we went. Tuesday, I had a 1/2 day trip early, then Rex came over to help me scout out some new areas. We caught 25 on the morning trip and Rex and I caught another 25 from 10-3pm. Unfortunately we had a double of six pounders that both came off within seconds of each other off of a ledge.
Wednesday, I had a six hour trip that turned into a 7 hour trip as the fish just kept biting. We finished with 62 in the boat and had our best day of the week for quality, with our best five pushing 24-25lbs.
The same baits have been producing each day, with the Swimming Caffiene shad being the most consistent performer. It is easy for beginners and inexperienced fisherpeople to use, and it is catching them consistently day in and day out. On some days, the Sexy dawg and Spit-n-king will catch them on top in the mornings, on other days they bite it all day, it just depends on the weather. We also caught them on an Anaconda worm and a spinnerbait. I have been fishing 5-10 feet deep for weeks, and have several areas holding numbers of fish. It is not unusual to catch doubles and even triples when they are really active.
6/25/13 Guntersville. We had some more great trips to Guntersville in the past week. Still some fish schooling, especially early and they will usually bite a Sexy Dawg, Spit-N-King or swimming caffiene shad. I have been catching lots of keepers with some 4-5lbers thrown in on each trip. Fish counts have ranged from 27 to 71 over the past week. Afternoons and evenings have been very good as well as the mornings, and unless it is Sunny and slick in the middle of the day, getting bit has not been a problem. I have caught fish from 3 feet to 23 feet over the past week around grass or on ledges and humps.
6/23/13 Wheeler. I fished the Top Rod Solo Trail tourney out of Ingalls on Sunday. I have not been to Wheeler much this year, but every time I go I have had a lot of success. The lake is definitely coming back strong and the weights have been terrific at the tourneys I have fished. That was no different Saturday, with 21.71lbs needed to win. I finished 2nd with 20.10lbs and caught 35-40 keepers on the day. I caught a solid limit on a Sexy Dawg topwater early and then wound up culling everything later in the day on a 3/4ounce football jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer. I caught the topwater fish over 5-10 feet of water and the jig fish were 18-20 feet deep on a shellbed.
6/18/13 Guntersville. The fish are biting very well on Guntersville right now and you can catch them just about any way you want too. I have had some awesome trips over the past two weeks catching both numbers and size. I caught 7lbers on back to back casts one day and we had over 50 fish total in a four hour trip yesterday. I am finally starting to see some schooling action with numbers of bass chomping on schools of shad on the surface. The deep bite is hit or miss, you have to fish lots of places each day and they can be on a spot one day and not the next. I have also been catching them in the grass and on the grass edges. Best baits have been the Strike King Anaconda worm, Sexy Dawg topwater, 3/4oz football jig and the swimming caffiene shad.
6/12/13 Wheeler. The fish are in the summertime patterns on Wheeler. There has been some schooling activity early but most of my fishing has been deep. 3/4ounce football jigs, Anaconda worms, and a shaky head have all been productive. Look for shellbeds in 10-20 feet, humps and the river ledges to catch the deep fish on Wheeler. We have also caught several smallmouths lately, which is always fun and it is encouraging to see them on Wheeler.
6/2/13 Smith. I fished Friday morning and Saturday night at Smith this week. The morning topwater bite was fair, with some stripers and spots in the mix. Saturday evening, JB and I fished the Open tournament out of the Park from 7-2. We finished 2nd with 13.45lbs and it took 14 to win. The bite was terrific after dark as we caught a ton of fish and 15 over the slot. Unfortunately, we lost our best three fish on the way to the boat and missed winning the tournament. I caught a few on a spinnerbait and JB did most of the damage with a shaky head. We caught fish from 1-20 feet on a variety of different types of structure.
6/1/13 Wilson. I had a Saturday morning trip on Wilson that wanted to focus on smallmouth. Unfortunately, there was very little current, with only 9600cfs being released from Wheeler Dam. We still wound up catching a ton of fish including 10-15 smallmouth, however the big ones eluded us. We had several largemouth in the 3lb range and caught fish all day long. Our best baits were the Strike King Sexy Dawg and Spit-N-King and a shakyhead. We caught them mostly shallow in 10 feet or less on bluffs, pea gravel and chunk rock banks.
5/28/13 Guntersville. Last week was another great week of fishing on Guntersville. The grass bite was still strong and was good all over the lake. The Strike King swimming caffiene shad was again the most consistent producer all week and color does not seem to matter much. I also hit a few deep places on Thursday and Saturday and found some solid fish up to 7lbs, catching them on a Sexy Spoon, Anaconda worm, 6XD crankbait and a shadalicious swimbait. Unfortunately, when I fished the Top Rod event on Sunday, all the big fish had lockjaw and I struggled to find any quailty. I was frustrated after watching my clients catch big ones all week, but I’ll get them next time!
5/21/13 Guntersville. The past week at Guntersville has been unreal for me and my clients. On my last four trips we have caught 35,50,47, and 45 bass with several each day in the 4-6lb range and the biggest at 6lb 11oz. We have caught everything out of the new milfoil growth where it is a foot or so under the surface. Anything that you can reel through the grass or over the top of it will catch them, some days one bait will work better than others. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits, topwaters and crankbaits all produced fish for me in the last week. The Strike King swimming caffiene shad was the most consistent producer all week.
5/10/13 Wilson, Wheeler, Guntersville. The heavy current had the fish really biting on the river, but it seems to be getting back to normal now. TVA has begun to close the floodgates on the dams, but the fishing is still very good. The water is also clearing up now and temps are reaching 70 degrees. Fish should be getting really active and I expect to see some schooling this week. Wheeler has been great, with fish up in the grass and bushes and also relating to current breaks. On Guntersville, they are biting as well from 1-15 feet. They will bite soft plastics up super shallow, swimbaits, rattle baits and spinnerbaits over the 3-7 foot grass, and a few are showing up out deeper on points, ledges and shellbeds. The fishing should be awesome for the rest of the month.
5/11/13 Smith. The fishing went a little backwards this week at Smith after a great first week of May. Rising and falling water probably hurt the bite a little bit as it was tough on Wednesday and Thursday. It got better on Saturday however and should continue to get better and better until it gets really hot this summer. We caught fish on a number of baits, including shaky heads, swimbaits, flukes and topwater. We also caught a few flipping bushes this week. JB and I fished the Ryan Creek Church tournament on Saturday and had 11.95lbs to get a small check. We caught about 15 over the slot on the day but lost our two biggest fish on the way to the boat. I cant wait to get back to Smith for some all day topwater fun.
5/4/13 Wheeler. Wheeler is fishing really well right now, with tons of current keeping the fish active. Guntersville Dam and Wheeler Dam have been spilling for several days, and the water is moving fast through the lake. As a result, the fish are biting from top to bottom. THey are being caught in a variety of ways, from 0-15 feet. Swimming a jig or throwing a soft swimbait around shoreline grass or wood in the creeks and pockets has been excellent. A crankbait, jig or shaky head worm has also been working well on rocky banks or points where the fish can get out of the current. Rex and I won the Athens Relay for Life tournament out of Ingalls on Saturday with 25.82lbs and had big fish with a 6.78lb largemouth. We caught what we weighed in on a jig from 5-15 feet.
5/3/13 Smith. The fish are biting all over the lake right now. Most of them are off the beds and feeding again and they will hit just about anything you want to throw. We caught most of our fish shallow last week, especially in the stained water. I found them on rocky banks, clay banks and every where in between. Shaky heads with green pumpkin finesse worms was a top producer, but we also caught fish on a Strike King Series 3 crankbait, a swimbait, a jig and my first few topwater fish of the year as well. With all the rain we have had, the fish should be super shallow for the next week at least and will bite a spinnerbait or buzzbait. The full fledged topwater bite is not too far off, so book now for an amazing May trip on Smith.
4/30/13 Pickwick. I had a fantastic day today with a father and son from Oklahoma! The morning started with some heavy fog, but we made it to our first stop and the big fish were munching. We had a solid mixed bag of largemouth and smallies in the first hour that pushed 25lbs for our best five. The late morning slowed a little bit, but it picked up again midday and we caught another 24lb bag of smallies. The action stopped when the floodgates came on on Wilson Dam at 1pm, but we had already had one unreal day. All fish were caught in 7-15 feet on a variety of lures. We had some topwater fish, and also caught them on swimbaits, jigs and worms. We ended the day with a 19lb striper in the heavy current. There are fish in all stages of the spawn and when the water settles back down it will be a feeding frenzy until it gets hot.
4/28/13 Guntersville. I had a couple of trips on Guntersville this week and fished the BFL on Saturday. The fishing has slowed down a little, probably due to the weather more than anything with another cold front coming in this week and rain and wind muddying up some areas. The bite is still good if you are in the right places, which for me are mostly spawning flats from 0-5 feet deep with scattered grass. There is lots of new milfoil growth beginning to show up in these areas. Strike King plastics are working well, Rage Craws, Rage Lizards and Ochos in any green pumpkin or something simliar. Use a 1/8oz tungsten weight and make long casts for best results. Swimbaits and topwaters are also working, some days better than the plastic bite. I wound up with 22lbs on Saturday for a 9th place finish in the BFL. I had a couple of fish over 6lbs but needed a couple more to threaten the leader. I caught about half on a swimbait and half on soft plastics, all in 5 feet or less.
4/26/13 Wheeler. Fishing on Wheeler has been good all srping and it was again today on the lower end. Surprisingly, we did not catch much in super shallow water, but there were plenty of fish in the 6-15 foot range. Our best fish came on rock banks, fishing a jig and a shaky head. Most of the fish we caught seemed to be prespawners, but there were a few that had spawned as well. We also caught some on a light carolina rig and a football jig in a little deeper water on red clay banks and flats.
4/21/13 Smith. Fished tournaments on the lake Saturday and Sunday. I had 12lbs both days, but it took 18lbs to win on Saturday and 19 on Sunday. I had no trouble getting bites, but couldnt connect with any big spots. I had a 3lb largemouth both days, but only 2lb spots to go with it. I caught 30-40 fish both days on a variety of baits. Most came on a shaky head, with a few on topwaters, spinnerbaits and wacky worms. All of the fish I caught were 15 feet or less, with most on the bank. I could not get a deep bite and from talking to other participants, all of their fish came shallow as well. The big spots should be moving up this week and May is going to be an awesome month on Smith with the fish feeding after the spawn is over.
4/14/13 Pickwick. I got out today with a gentleman from Nashville on Pickwick. We once again tied into some nice smallies, with a 5lb 11oz brute being the biggest. It seems like some of them are starting to spawn, so our numbers were a little off, but we still had plenty of nice ones. In addition, I had a 26lb striper and we caught largemouths, spots, and several other stripers in addition to the 10 smallies.
4/13/13 Smith. The fish seem to be in all three stages of the spawn on Smith. Lots of spawned out largemouths were weighed in today in the Top Rod Team event out of the dam. Spots were both pre and post spawn and some were caught off the beds. It took 16.80lbs to win the tournament. JB and I caught 20-25 fish, but I lost our only 4+ at the boat and every thing else we had was under 3lbs. I should have known better than to fish a tourney on the 13th! Fish were caught on shaky heads, jigs, carolina rigs and the A-Rig.
4/12/13 Guntersville. Lots of fish are up in the shallows on Guntersville. I had a couple of trips this week and we caught everything in 5 feet or less around grass and stumps. We threw mostly soft plastics on light weights to catch our fish. There are fish that are spawning, prespawn and post spawn. We had several fish each day in the 4-5 lb range. Hopefully the stabilizing weather will keep them active over the next couple of weeks.
4/7/13 Pickwick. I had another awesome trip on Pickwick today with three gentlemen from Birmingham. We found the smallies biting and they were nice ones once again, with the biggest being a 5lb 8oz toad. We also managed a few largemouths, stripe and stripers and wound up calling it quits around noon with over 25 fish in the boat. I am still catching them on rockpiles and humps in the main river in 8-12 feet. Swimbaits, A-Rigs, and grubs were the deal again today. The fish should be spawning any day now on Pickwick, but all of the fish we caught today had yet to spawn.
4/6/13 Guntersville. I fished every day this week, in various conditions. The water temps warmed up to 57 by Wednesday was back down to 53 on Thursday and Friday and was warming back up to 57 by Saturday. The fishing varied each day with a high of 28 fish caught and most days from 10-20. We fished outside grasslines with A-Rigs in 6-10 feet, thick grass in 3-5 feet with traps and swimbaits and scattered grass in 1-3 with soft plastics. Each day it seemed that one worked better than the other. I hit areas upriver, downriver and midlake with about the same amount of success. I fished the BFL on Saturday and got off to a great start with four fish for 16lbs3oz by 9:00 and they quit. It was one of those days and none of the areas that had produced earlier in the week panned out. I wound up weighing those four and finished in 41st place. With the warm temps this week, the fish should be moving up finally and should stay up. I expect the shallow bite to be pretty good throughout April.
3/30/13 Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson, Pickwick. I thought I would make this report for the entire Tennessee River section of North Alabama. While the weather has been pretty miserable most days, the fishing has been wonderful. Water temps have been hovering from 50-55 degrees and the prespawn bite is very strong as the fish are feeding all over the river. Many healthy fish are being caught in each lake and I think I have caught more big fish this month than any other month in my life. Guntersville continues to produce several 5-7 pounders on each of my trips, with fish coming on A-Rigs, traps and swimbaits from 1-10 feet. Pickwick has been awesome as well, with tons of big smallmouth in my boat over the past two weeks. As the water has warmed up, the numbers have increased and the quality is there every day. We have had several 6lb smallmouth and numerous 4+ on most trips. A-Rigs, swimbaits and jigs account for all of the smallies in 8-12 feet of water. Wilson is also very good on most days for smallies and largemouth. Fish are being caught on A-rigs, spinnerbaits and swimbaits all over the lake. On Wheeler, I have fished a couple of tournaments the last two weeks, weighing 17.5 and 15.3lbs. Most of my fish on Wheeler are very shallow on a spinnerbait or square bill crankbait. If the weather ever improves and the water temp increases to 60 degrees, the spawn should be very strong on all of the lakes. Right now they are mostly holding just off the spawning flats on points and humps, but the fish could move up at anytime. If April is anything like March, it is going to be another awesome month of North Alabama fishing!
3/16/13 Pickwick. I fished Pickwick four times this week, looking for smallies in the Florence area. The bite was great for size but not quite there yet for numbers. We caught between 8-15 smallmouth each day, plus stripers, white bass, hybrids, largemouths and a couple of spots. Almost all of the smallies were 3lbs or better, with several 4-5lbers each day. I had a 6lb 9ounce brute and five people in my boat caught their personal best smallmouth this week. We caught everything on either Alabama Rigs or single swimbaits in 8-12 feet. I expect the smallmouth bite to get better and better over the next few weeks, with the numbers picking up to go with the great quality.
3/9/13 Guntersville. I had two more good days this week on the Big G. We had a good day on Thursday, with 15-20 fish in all and a couple in the 4-5lb range. On Saturday, I went back for the Jackson County Rescue Squad tournament out of Goose Pond. My partner and I finished 5th with 26 pounds and won big fish with a 9.41lb hog. We caught all of our fish on rattle baits on Thursday and Saturday and once again targeted shallow grass from 1-6feet with stumps. We are fishing 1/4 and 1/2 ounce baits depending on the depth.
3/4/13 Guntersville. The bite has been pretty good on Guntersville this spring with lots of big fish caught. I have had mostly good outings, but the worst two I have had were in the Everstart Tournament last week. The freezing temps apparently moved my rattle bait fish, and I never found them or any others. I went back today with two clients and went to a different location than last week. We caught them from start to finish today, with some solid fish thrown in. Final tally was 20-25 fish, and three over 4.5lbs. Everything came on the rattle baits today, no bites on crankbait, spinnerbait or A-Rig. Shallow grass from 1-6 feet with stumps were the key areas.
2/9/13 Guntersville. I have been several times to Guntersville over the past three weeks. I fished the Top Rod Solo Trail on Jan 27, taking big fish with an 8.43lber but had just 16lbs total. I went back for the Rat-L-Trap tourney the next week and didnt catch much more than a cold. This week, I decided I would practice a little bit for the BFL. On Thursday, a friend and I went and caught 16, mostly 1-3lbs, with one big one that pulled off. We eliminated a lot of areas and patterns and started to put it together, however. On Friday, I got back on the water at 2pm and fished a couple of hours and refined what I learned on Thursday. I had three nice fish on Friday and went to the BFL meeting. Saturday, my practice paid off with a 22lb 8oz bag, but only good for 8th place. There were four fish over 10lbs brought to the scales and it took 31-12 to win.. I caught around 20 fish on the day, and lost two that would have put me in the 27-28lb range.. One straightened the hook on my trap. It was a great day on the water, and we caught fish all day. Big, fat, hard-fighting, never give up fish! All of my fish were caught on rattle baits, out of grass in 1-6 feet of water. Knowing what to look for makes all the difference in the world right now.
1/8/13 Smith. Fishing at Smith been very good this winter. The typical winter patterns are working, and on a given day one can be better than the others. Jigs are my top choice for winter months at Smith, and a 1/2 ounce brown jig with a green pumpkin trailer is a solid bet. I caught several nice fish on the jig yesterday from 10-30 feet, mostly around brush. The shakyhead will also work in the same locations as a jig, and I normally use a green pumpkin zoom worm on a 1/4 head. I also caught a few fish on a crankbait yesterday, throwing a shad colored Deep little N around dirt points and banks. We ended the day yesterday with 15 bass and a nice stripe caught on a jigging spoon.
10/13/12 Wilson. I fished an won the Top Rod Solo Event on Saturday out of Safety Harbor. TVA did not run the turbines at Wheeler Dam during the tournament hours, so it was a different lake with no current at all. I used the same tactics I had been using to catch fish at Wheeler all week to win the tournament. I caught a couple of good keepers early on a Gunfish, including the big fish of the tournament at 4.64lbs. I chased some hard to catch schoolers for a little while, catching only small ones, then moved to shallow flats late in the day. I caught three nice fish on a XR50 rattle bait to upgrade my limit to 15.04lbs and take the win. I also clinched the 2012 Shelton’s Outdoors Top Rod Angler of the Year race.
10/12/12 Wheeler. I was on Wheeler from Monday through Friday, taking out tournament competitors each day. The fishing was really good for Wheeler, we caught numbers and good size each day. We fished from dam to dam, and they are biting all over the lake. We caught fish on just about anything we threw, as long as it was in water that was 8 feet or less. Topwater, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, flukes, traps, shaky heads and jigs all put fish in the boat this week.
10/7/12 Smith. I fished the Bassmaster Southern Open at Smith Lake last week. I did not practice for the event. JB and I fished the Summer Series classic on Sept. 22nd at night, finishing third with 13.50lbs, and I did not get on the water again until the first day of the Open. I caught 14.4 the first day to put me in 5th place, was 4th after 2 days and finished in 6th place with 33lbs 11oz for the three days. Overall, I was very disappointed in the quality of fishing for the tournament. I didnt catch anywhere near what I normally catch as far as numbers or size for the fall. The final day, I had several fish halfheartedly bite my bait, but they were not aggressive like normal. The boat traffic and fishing pressure from 150 boats on the water for a week probably had something to do with it. I caught most of my fish on topwaters, flukes, swimbaits and crankbaits during the tournament. Fishing should be great on Smith for the next month or so, its a great time to get on the water with cooler temps, no ski boats, and plenty of action. I would expect to also catch a few stripers on each trip.
9/17/12 Smith. The fishing is getting better and better on Smith. I had a guide trip last Friday with a couple and her father, and all three of them caught fish. She outcaught the two guys with three real nice spots and lost a fourth one almost four pounds. I went back out for an hour after they left and caught a four and a three. The weather is the key right now, the fish bite different baits depending on the conditions. I went again on Monday with a friend and we looked for new areas and patterns and caught a very nice bag and lots of numbers in cloudy, misty conditions. The fish are still shallow and deep and it takes several different baits and presentations to catch them. The usual baits will work in different conditions, crankbaits, shaky heads, jigs, flukes, swimbaits.. I’ll be off the water until the Southern Open during the first week of October, but have days open in October. It should be prime time to catch some nice spots if you would like a trip!
9/12/12 Smith. I’ve been several times to Smith since the Top Rod with mixed results. Some days the fish bite better than others and it takes a variety of baits to make them bite. They are starting to roam around more and more and can be caught shallow and deep on a variety of structure. Shaky heads, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and flukes have caught a few fish for me in the past two weeks. Water temps are still in the 80s and the water is dropping and remains clear.
9/1/12 Smith. The fishing has been pretty tough on Smith lately. I have been several times in the past few weeks and it finally good real good on Saturday for me in the Top Rod Solo Trail event. I caught over 30 fish on the day, including 13 over the slot, but finished 2nd in the tournament. I would have won with 14lbs but my smallest fish died in the last fifteen minutes and I only was able to weigh four fish. I had big fish with a 3.80lb spot and my four alive fish weighed 11.68lbs. I caught them all day on a variety of baits, mostly in deep water. I threw crankbaits, jigs, shaky heads and a fluke. The fishing should get better and better now as the water starts to cool down.
7/21/12 Smith. We fished a couple of tournaments on Smith this weekend. Friday Night we fished out of the dam from 10pm-7am. It was super slow for most of the night as the fish were not very active at all. We had four overs at 3:30AM and then they started biting like crazy until 5AM. We caught 15-20 in that span, mostly 14-16 inchers, all on a spinnerbait. The only decent fish we had hooked came off. After daylight, the cloudy, windy conditions killed any hopes of a schooling bite and we wound up in 2nd place with just 9.13. On Saturday night, we fished out of the park from 6pm-2am. We caught two overs before dark on a crankbait and from 7:30-1:30, we only had one more 15 incher and three little ones. My partner caught a 3.5 and a 4.5 in the next 15 minutes and we wound up with 13.66lbs for 3rd place. It took 18 to win and 16 for 2nd place. We only boated two dinks on a spinnerbait all night and had to go to a shaky head for our last three fish. The fish we not up shallow feeding at all while we were there.
7/15/12 Smith. I have been on Smith in the day and night recently. There are several decent patterns working for both daytime and after dark and the action can be anywhere from fair to good. During the daytime, the best bite has been early. There has been some sporadic schooling and these fish will bite topwaters and flukes. I have also been able to catch some on deep crankbaits, football jigs and shaky heads when they are not schooling. Fish have been between 12-25 feet and brushpiles always help. At night, I have mostly been throwing a spinnerbait. Some nights the fish are up shallow feeding and when that occurs, the spinnerbait fishing is a blast. When they are not up shallow, I have still been able to catch a few in 20-30 feet on ledges and points, again brushpiles help. You can also use a shaky head with a black trick worm around dock lights and on deep brushpiles to catch some spotted bass.
7/15/12 Pickwick, Wilson, Wheeler. The recent rains seem to have moved the fish shallower on the river. Surprisingly, the heavy rain did not increase the amount of current flow through the dams, as TVA has followed its same pattern of running 13000-23000 cfs 24 hours a day without any changes. I was really hoping to catch a few spillways open, but that didnt happen despite 6 inches of rain in 72 hours. The grass on the lower end of Pickwick is coming back and there are fish in it that can be caught with a swimbait or worm. Wilson and Wheeler have been inconsistent, but I have heard of several good bags caught on both lakes shallow in the past week.
7/15/12 Guntersville. Guntersville remains hit or miss for the most part. When you find the right area, you can catch them really well, but for the most part it is a struggle. I have had the most luck recently on big 11 inch worms in the grass and just off the grasslines. The key is to cover lots of water and try different areas. I have also been able to find some schools of fish in deep water that were feeding on schools of shad. I had an hour of catching 3lbers during the last Top Rod tournament in 15 feet of water with a swimbait. The winner found a school of 5lb and 6lb fish and wound up weighing in 30lbs that he caught on a topwater. The grass is everywhere on Guntersville and is topped out in lots of places. The flipping bite seems to be picking up as well.
6/23/12 Wheeler. I actually have had an amazing week on Wheeler. I made a few adjustments from last week and found some solid schools of fish. We had a trip early in the week where we caught them all day, with our best five around 18lbs. Monday night, Rex and I won the wildcat out of First Creek with 13.82lbs. Today, we fished the Fishers of Men tournament out of Decatur and finished 4th with 17.49lbs. I am still catching them on the football jig, but I am fishing a little bit deeper and looking a mix of rocks and brush. A very slow drag with the jig has been the best technique. The bites have been very light at times and they knock slack in it other times. The current has been steady around 17000cfs all week, and if your are around fish they will bite at any time of the day.
6/16/12 Wheeler. The bite has gotten pretty tough on Wheeler right now. It is best in the first hour of daylight and in the last couple hours of the evening. There was also a good willowfly hatch last week on the river, but it is winding down. I have had my best results with a football jig lately. I throw it on shallow and deep ledges and shellbeds. Check the TVA website for current generation schedules and try to go when the current is strongest. Lately, that has been from 1pm until dark during the week.
6/15/12 Guntersville. There are two patterns working at Guntersville right now. The grass bite is good for action on topwaters and worms or jigs, but most of the fish will be smaller keepers or non keepers unless you find a group of bigger fish. Throw pop-Rs or spooks on the edges of the grass or flip a worm or jig into it. The other pattern is on deep ledges, but the deep bite has not been very consistent. When you find a group of active fish, it can be very productive and these are usually all quality fish. Swimbaits, jigs, worms and spoons will work, but the key is having some current and shad present.
6/9/12 Smith. The daytime bite has gotten tough on Smith with the water temp reaching 82 and plenty of pleasure boat traffic on the weekends. If you go during daylight hours, go early or late for your best results. Crankbaits, jigs and shaky head worms are the best bets, they should be fished in 15-25 feet around brush or scattered rocks. The best bite is at night and will be until the fall. The fish can be caught a little bit shallower at night and are more active. Throw 1/2oz spinnerbaits with a colorado blade anywhere from 5-20 feet. I like to look for shallow rocky ledges and shallow brushpiles. Shaky head worms and jigs around docks with brush or on points will also catch a few fish. Stick with dark colors like black or red at night.
6/2/12 Guntersville. Guntersville was good at times this week and great on occasion. Timing is everything and by far the best times to be out is in the first two hours and last two hours of the day. Those are the times the fish are feeding best and you can get on a big school of fish and catch 10-20 in the same spot. There has also been a good topwater bite around grasslines where it has not topped out. Pop-Rs, spooks and flukes in shad colors are the baits to throw around the grass. On ledges and deeper humps with no grass, swimbaits, jigs and spoons have been effective for me.
6/2/12 Wheeler. June is one of my favorite months to fish Wheeler and today was an example of why I like it so much. We fished the Angling for Autism tournament out of Ingalls Harbor and finished 7th out of 92 boats with 15.45lbs. We caught 30-40 fish on the day, most of them in the 2-3lb range, but couldnt find a big bite to put us closer to the first prize. Nearly all of our fish were caught in 10-20 feet on a 3/4oz football jig. We had no luck with a crankbait or swimbait and caught a few on a shaky head, but 90% of our bites came on the jig. The fish are schooled up and when you get a bite, there will usually be more to come in that same area. Look for shellbeds, dropoffs, brush piles and ledges in 10-20 feet of water.
6/2/12 Smith. The daytime bite is winding down at Smith with the water temps in the mid to high 80s. Get out early or late if you want to fish in the daytime for a couple of hours of action. Topwater, Crankbaits, jigs and shakyheads are the best bets to catch them with the sun up, depending on the wind and cloud cover. Look for fish in 20-30 feet of water. At night the bite is pretty good. Shaky head worms, spinnerbaits and jigs are the best bets for night time action. Fish can be caught a little shallower at night, but make sure there is deep water nearby.
5/17/12 Smith. Smith continues to be the best lake around for sheer action. I have been catching lots of good spots and a few stripers on top throughout the day. Spooks, Weightless Flukes and swimbaits have been my baits of choice. There has been some sporadic schooling action on calm days as well. The best bite has been on windy banks and rocky points. We have consistently caught between 25-50 bass per day with a best five from 12-18lbs every day. This bite wont last much longer, so get in on it while it is still good.
5/17/12 Guntersville. For pure action, topwaters over the grass is the best way to go on Guntersville right now. Look for grass that is scattered, and not carpet like thick just under the surface and throw a Pop-R or Super Spook Junior. Having 2-3 feet of water above the grass seems to be the key. There are also some fish on deep structure, but they are not in big schools yet where you can catch them for 30 minutes or more out of one spot. I have been getting 4 or 5 bites at most from the deep spots and a variety of baits has been working. Big Spoons, swimbaits, Alabama Rigs and Football Jigs have been catching a few, and each spot has been different. Again, the lack of current has them scattered out and not on the bottom.
5/17/12 Wheeler. Wheeler is fishing a lot like Pickwick right now. There are a few fish deep, but not big schools, and also fish in the bank grass and on shallow points. A football jig is the best bet for the deep fish and swimming a jig in bank grass has been the best shallow bait. There are also some fish that will bite a topwater around shallow points and shellbeds. A Zara Spook worked over the top of the places will draw strikes from largemouth and smallmouth.
5/17/12 Pickwick. The fishing is fair on Pickwick right now, mostly due to the lack of current. TVA has been generating 8000 to 13000CFS around the clock, which is barely a trickle. As a result the smallmouth fishing has been spotty and the fish are not yet out on all of the deep ledges. There are some fish deep, but also fish in middepths and shallow. There is a decent topwater bite in places, mostly on shallow points and in bank grass. Flipping a jig or crawworm around grass and wood has also been effective.
5/10/12 Smith. The water temps on Smith are holding in the upper 70s and the fish are biting well. There are fish in just about any depth you want to fish and they will bite a variety of lures. Largemouths are around wood cover, docks, and brush and the dirtier water is better to look for largemouths. Spotted bass are just about everywhere, docks, rocky banks and shallow shelves are good places to look for spots. Topwaters, flukes, swimbaits, shaky heads and crankbaits are the best baits right now. I have been having some awesome trips, with 25-50 fish a day depending on the weather and wind. A client caught a 5lb spot this week and we have had numerous 3-4lb spots.
5/10/12 Wheeler. The fishing is good at Wheeler right now even without much current being generated. There are fish in the bank grass that will bite a skinny dipper, swim jig or spinnerbait and also fish on the ledges that will hit a football jig or big worm. Downriver, look for fish on rocky points, rocky bluff banks and in the backs of pockets. Shaky heads, crankbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits are all catching fish down river.
5/10/12 Guntersville. The bite at Guntersville is hit or miss right now, and it all depends on your location. The shad spawn is tapering down, but if you find the right area, the fishing can be great in the first two hours of the day. Look for shad spawning on grasslines in 5-10 feet of water. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwaters will catch fish that are feasting on the spawning shad. There is also a deep bite, but the fish are only on a few places. The lack of current is keeping them off of the bottom most of the time. Throwing an Alabama Rig or single swimbait on a 3/4oz head and swimming the baits through schools of shad and fish is the best way to catch fish offshore. Use your electronics to find the schools over 25+ feet of water.
5/10/12 Pickwick. Much like the other lakes on the Tennessee River chain, Pickwick is very good right now. The fish are finished spawning and are moving to their summer haunts. Look for them on the river channel downriver on humps, bars and the old river channel ledge. The Alabama Rig and a single swimbait is your best bet, followed by football jigs, big crankbaits and flutter spoons.
5/1/12 Smith. Most of fish, if not all, are finished spawning and moving into deeper water at Smith. There has been some sporadic schooling in certain areas on calm days as well. They might be stripers, spots or a mix of both when you see fish blowing up on minnows. Topwater remains the best pattern early, and the action can be non stop. Two clients and I had an awesome day on the 26th with our best five spots weighing 18lbs+ and we had 30something bass and 11 stripers in a full day trip. In a half day on Friday afternoon, we had a solid 13lb bag and lost count of the total number of fish. You can also catch fish on a shaky head and a crankbait on shallow rock banks. May is always a great time to be on Smith! Call now to book a trip before all of my days are filled up.
5/1/12 Guntersville. Guntersville has fish in all phases right now. There are super shallow fish that can be caught on buzzbaits and ribbits near the bank over grass. There are fish that can be caught with spinnerbaits and crankbaits in the deeper grass from 4-7 feet, especially early in the mornings. There were even some late bed fish last Saturday that were caught. Finally, some fish are moving to the ledges and can be caught with a deep diving crankbait or football jig.
5/1/12 Wilson. Wilson is pretty good right now all over the lake. There are fish on the grassbeds and can be caught the same way that they are at Wheeler. There are also some topwater fish on down river points and shallow ledges. A shaky head will work just about anywhere, pea gravel, docks, ledges and bluffs. There are also some fish being caught in the current below Wheeler Dam.
5/1/12 Wheeler. I have been on Wheeler a lot over the past two weeks. There are fish to be caught in the shoreline grassbeds and bushes, around Decatur and on rocky banks and bluffs down river. Skinny Dippers, swim jigs and buzzbaits will catch fish out of the grassbeds, especially if there are shad present. Flip bushes with a sweet beaver or a jig if the water level is high. Down river, you can catch fish on shaky head worms, jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. It wont be long before fish are out on the ledges as most of the bedding activity seems to be over with.
4/15/12 Wilson. I fished the Top Rod Solo Event on Wilson today out of Safety Harbor. I had another fun day on Wilson, catching fish from start to finish. My only problem was the lack of a big bite, but it turns out that I needed five really big bites, not just one. It took a whopping 27.76lbs to win, and I finished 6th with 14.79. I caught about 30 keepers today, half smallmouth and half largemouth. I caught half of them on a shaky head and half on a spook. Nothing like catching smallies on a spook! My best fish were a 4lb smallie and a 3.5lb largemough on back to back casts. The fish were on shallow rock banks and there were usually more than one in an area. Most seemed to be in 5-10 feet of water.
4/14/12 Smith. I fished the Fairview Benefit tournament out of the park today. My regular partner is out of town, so one of my friends that is just getting in to bass fishing came down from Nashville to fish his first ever bass tourney. We had an absolute blast, catching 15 over the slot, 40 in all and had a few stripers as well. We wound up winning the tournament with 13.42lbs and could have had 16 or 17 if we land everything that we had hooked. We caught them on everything we threw today, mostly shallow on windy points and banks. We threw spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, shaky heads, swimbaits and topwaters.
4/13/12 Wheeler. I had a trip on Wheeler today with an out of town client preparing for a tournament on Saturday. With the water coming up, I expected the fish to be in the grass and bushes on the banks, but most of the areas I checked were barren. We had a few bites in grass, but came up empty in the bushes. We also fished several areas with a shakey head and finesse worm, and I was able to show him enough places to do well in his tourney on Saturday. We caught them 5-10 feet deep with green pumpkin being the best color.
4/7/12 Smith. I fished Smith twice this week. On Thursday I had a trip with one client learning to fish the lake. We had some nice fish, with several different patterns working. We caught a few on topwater, some on a shaky head and also fished some bushes. My client had a five pound spot that he fought forever, but it wrapped him up in a tree about 6 feet deep. It was frustrating to see him stuck in the branches and just out of reach of my net. He finally shook free, but a few casts later my client caught one just under four pounds. On Saturday, I fished the Fishing for a Mission tourney out of the park. JB and I wound up with 13.57lbs, which was good for 9th place out of 55 boats. It took a whopping 26lbs to win the tourney! Fishing is very good on Smith right now and will get even better.
4/6/12 Wilson. I had an afternoon trip on Wilson today with a couple from Tennessee and we had a great day on the water. We basically caught fish from noon until we quit around 7pm. The fish were all prespawn with the exception of one 4lb smallmouth that had laid out. All fish were between 5-10 feet and were on basically any type of bank. We caught them around wood, docks and on pea gravel. We threw shaky heads with several different types of plastic and it didnt seem to matter much as long as it was some shade of watermelon or green pumpkin. Our final total ended up around 30 fish, with a best five of 17-18lbs.
4/4/12 Wheeler. The fish were very cooperative on Wheeler today. I caught a couple on topwater, one being a five pound largemouth. We threw mostly shaky heads with finesse worms around shallow points and rocks to catch 30 or so largemouths today. Most were between 1-2lbs.
4/1/12 Pickwick. TVA and the fish played an April Fools joke on us today. No real current until 2pm today and not much activity at all. We caught 6 or 7 largemouths on a shaky head and one 3-pound smallmouth. There were plenty of stripers and white bass as usual, but not what we were after. I had no topwater bites and we stayed til 7pm to try to see if the smallies would turn on, but they never did. After stroking them every trip this year to Pickwick, I guess I was due for a rough outing, but that doesnt make it any better. Hopefully my clients learned some things that will help them have a good week on the water.
3/28/12 Guntersville. Had one client today on the big G, and we had a fair day. We through big plastics all day in spawning coves, looking for big ones that have moved up shallow. We wound up with 12 on the day, one in the six pound range and a few 2.5 and 3lbers, but only one non-keeper. It still seems a little slow for me for this time of year, but with the coming moon this week, I would expect a lot more to show up in the shallows, Nothing we caught today had spawned.
3/27/12 Smith. Had a client have to reschedule todays trip, so I went with a friend who was convinced to skip work and see if we could catch some big ones on Smith. I wound up with two real nice largemouths, one almost six and one over four on a swimbait. We had lots of bites but they were not taking the bait real good today. Saw lots of nice fish in the 3-4 pound class on the banks as well. We didnt throw a shaky head at all, just mainly tried to find some big largemouths and called it quits at noon. We did run into one little group of blueback herring and that was the same bank I caught the 6 and 4 on and saw 3 more over 4lbs.. Coincidence??
3/26/12 Smith. I had a great trip on Smith today with repeat clients. We fished shallow all day with topwaters and shaky heads. Even saw some schooling fish for the first time this year. On the day we landed 40-50, lost a few more and put together a pretty decent limit of spots and largemouth. Most of the fish we caught had spawned, lots of flat bellies on the spots especially. They are still hanging around shallow rock shelves with deep water close by. Finesse worms in any shade of watermelon or green pumpkin on an 1/8oz jighead will get the job done.
3/25/12 Guntersville. Sundays always seem tougher to me on the Big G, and that was the case today. I am not sure if the traffic from Saturday and Sunday churning up the spawning areas is the sole reason, but it cant help. We had about 15 bites for the day, landing 9. The water was a little stained from the recent rains, so I didnt see as many beds as I did last week. I have some areas with lots of spawning activity, but other areas where they have not shown up yet. The next couple of weeks should get all the fish that havent spawned finished and feeding again.
3/23/12 Pickwick. I had another awesome day on Pickwick today. The water is still low and the fish are still full of eggs and feeding hard. We once again caught them on the Alabama Rig, landing largemouth, smallmouth, stripers, hybrids and white bass. Our best fish came on topwater, however. A 6-6 largemouth was the best fish of the day. All fish came from 8 feet or less around rocky banks and humps.
3/19/12 Smith. Lots of fun right now on Smith. The fish are up shallow and lots of spawning going on. My clients caught 35 on Monday, all spots in 10 feet or less. Rocky banks were the best bet for finding them and they bit a watermelon worm on a 1/4oz shaky head and we also had some topwater action. Smith was on fire last year from mid-March til mid June and the fish are in the same places and hitting the same way again this year. It is nonstop action from daylight til dark and lots of fun catching those hard fighting spots.
3/18/12 Wilson. We had a decent day on Wilson on Sunday. One client had a largemouth over 5lbs and several other nice ones. He also caught a few 2-3lb smallies. The Alabama Rig and a shaky head were the best baits. Most fish are still off the bank, however, as they seem to be waiting for the water to come up before the first major spawning wave hits. I didnt see any beds or cruising fish today.
3/17/12 Guntersville. Fish are on beds in some areas, lots of 1-3lb males were sighted and caught on Saturday. They will bite a lizard or senko fished with an 1/8 or 1/16oz weight. You can cast blindly to shallow bedding areas and catch fish. If stumps are present, even better. The outside grassline bite was off for me the last two days as it appears that most fish have other things on their minds.
3/16/12 Pickwick. I had another client preparing for a tournament on Pickwick yesterday and today and we had a blast. We spent most of the first day fishing and had a very solid 20lb limit of smallmouths and a huge spot as well. We also caught plenty of stripers in the 5-8lb range. Most fish were caught on the Alabama Rig on current breaks. Pickwick is really fun right now and will be for the next few weeks. I have hooked four smallies over six pounds in the past week, landing two and losing two. Nothing pulls like those big brown fish!
3/14/12 Wheeler. I had a client preparing for an upcoming tournament today. We spent the entire day fishing shallow and had a solid day, even though we didnt stick around any areas very long. We caught fish on rattle baits, shaky heads and small crankbaits. The only place we struck out was on the Decatur Flats, no action there around the stump fields. I didnt see any spawning activity, as the water is still low and usually the fish wait until it comes up before spawning on Wheeler.
3/13/12 Smith. The water is up at Smith and the fish have moved up with it. Lots of good largemouth and spots being caught on the banks. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and shaky heads will work, as will a weightless Zoom Super Fluke. This is the best time to be at Smith. I will average 50 fish a day from now through May on Smith. If you like to catch spots, call and book a trip.
3/12/12 Pickwick. Had an awesome day on Sunday in the Top Rod Trail Tourney. I finished 3rd with 19.96lbs of smallmouth. They were not yet in bedding areas and still full of eggs. I had a 6.26 and lost one even bigger ten feet from the boat. I also had one straighten out a snap swivel on my A-Rig and lost another five pounder at the boat. I could have easily had a 27-28lb bag if things go right. I caught the fish on humps and gravel bars in the current. Other competitors also caught fish on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and A-rigs, mostly 10 feet or less.
3/10/12 Guntersville. The fish should be moving into pockets to spawn soon, but ffor now, I am still catching them in the grass. I am fishing dead grass in 3-7 feet of water, staying on the outside and throwing parallel or into the grass. The Alabama rig works if you use light weights on it, baits don’t seem to matter much. I have used all shapes and colors and they all work. I am also catching fish on a rattle bait and a crankbait in the same places.
3/4/12 Wheeler. Fished all day Saturday in the wind at Wheeler. We went to the lower end to get out of it, but made a bad decision. There was no activity deep or shallow for us anywhere, even with abundant shad on many spots. We fished the A-Rig, traps, cranks, jigs, and shaky heads with no success. Finally, we moved back up towards Decatur after lunch and got on them pretty good. Our fish were on a flat in about 1.5 feet of water. We had 13.38lbs on a crankbait and a rattlebait in about an hour, but not good enough to get a check in the Decatur Heritage Tourney. It took an amazing 25lbs to win, and 21 was second.
3/2/12 Guntersville. The water temps are into the 60′s on Guntersville, but the same patterns are working for me as before. I have heard of a few fish on the bed, but looked in some pockets this week and didnt see any bedders or cruisers. The wind has kept the water muddy in lots of main river locations as well. I am still catching fish on the outside of grasslines with the boat in 7-10 feet. Crankbaits, rattlebaits and the A-Rig all seem to work over the top of the grass. There are still some deep fish being caught on the A-Rig as well. Some fish should move up with the full moon on the 8th, but I dont expect a major wave.
2/18/12 Guntersville. I had a fun trip today with a father and son from Tennessee and we utilized the same patterns and areas from last week to have another awesome day on Guntersville. We landed 15 of the 21 fish we had hooked, and most of them were solid 3lb plus females with a best five of 23-24lbs. We again stayed outside the grasslines and used crankbaits and rattle baits in chart, red and shad colors. Fish were anywhere from 3-6 feet in thick dead hydrilla. Tim’s big fish did come on the A-rig, however.
2/09/12 Guntersville. I have had a couple of short outings on Guntersville with mixed results. Today was one of the better days of the year so far. We made a few tosses with an Alabama Rig, but all of our damage was done with a rattle bait and a crankbait. We fished outside grass lines all day and most of our fish were on the edges of the grass in 5-6 feet. They were grouped up fairly well, with 4-5 bites in each spot when we found them. For the afternoon, we had 15-20 bites, all on cranks and rattle baits. Color didnt seem to matter, we caught them on red, chart/blue, chart/black and sexy shad.
2/09/12 Smith. Over the past month the fishing has been up and down at Smith. With the recent rains, the lake is nearly full pool and lots of creeks finally have some stained water. The main lake areas are still crystal clear, however. The fish are in the normal winter patterns. In the clear water, fish a shaky head or jig in 20-30 feet, preferably around some sunken brush. In stained or muddy water the fish will be shallower, and can be caught with crankbaits, worms or jigs. I prefer to cover water with a crankbait and stop to throw a jig at submerged wood.
12/29/11 Smith. I have been on Smith several times in December with decent results on most trips. Early in the month I caught fish on windy banks, very shallow with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. We had 13lb limits on back to back Saturdays in the Dam tourney for 1st and 2nd place finishes. Since the middle of the month, the fish seem to have gone deeper, however. I have had a couple of trips with clients learning winter patterns, and the drop shot caught good numbers of fish both times with a couple of solid 3lbers as well. I have also caught fish on jigs and shaky heads and most have been between 20-40 feet deep around brush or shad if you can find them. The crankbait and spinnerbait bite seem to be hit and miss. Water temps still holding around 52-55 degrees and the lake is remarkably clear considering the amount of rain we have had recently.
11/10/11 Smith. The water temps are in the low 60′s and the fish are still biting well on Smith. There are lots of ways to catch them right now. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are working well, especially if there are some clouds and wind. Jigs and shakyheads are also catching fish. The fish are not deep, and you can find them on dirt and wood or shallow rock shelves.
10/14/11 Wheeler. Wheeler has been pounded with tourney fishermen over the past two weeks. The Fishers of Men regional was the first weekend in October and last week the lake hosted a BFL Regional. 12-15lb per day is strong and most of the reports I am hearing involve topwaters baits. I have also heard of a few decent bags being caught on a spinnerbait. I have had good luck with the spook when I have been out recently on Wheeler. There are some schoolers in pockets and on the main river some days, but they havent been consistent yet with the water temps still up in the 70s.
10/14/11 Wilson. I have been on WIlson several times in the last couple of weeks. It has been hit or miss with the early topwater bite so far, mostly due to TVA not pulling much water or none at all at daylight. When the current is right, the topwater bite is good. There are some schoolers in pockets down the lake, but they can be tough to catch. The smallmouth bite below the dam is good at times, but as usual, it depends on the current. A strong west wind hurts the drifting worse than anything, and that was the case for me Friday. We had several nice smallies and some really nice catfish but the wind forced us off the lake by 12.
10/13/11 Pickwick. The bite has been tough on Pickwick this fall, mostly due to the billions of tiny shad that currently inhabit the entire lake. There are plenty of schoolers but they are tough to catch on most days. The shad are about 1 inch long in most places, they were going through the holes in my cast net on Thursday. I had a corporate trip and we caught several bass, catfish and drum on the live bait that I was able to keep in the net. We also caught some schooling stripers and largemouth on topwaters and rooster tails.
10/11/11 Guntersville. I had an afternoon corporate outing on Guntersville on Tuesday. My guys were from walleye country, but they got a little education on frogging the mats for bass. I stayed in one huge mat all afternoon, and we had 15 blowups in 3.5 hours. They wound up landing 3 keepers and had 3 or 4 more hooked, but they pulled off in the grass. If we would have had more time I think we could have had a pretty good day as they were getting the hang of frogging. I was encouraged in the number of blowups at least after the fall has been so tough at Guntersville.
10/1/11 Guntersville. I fished the State Federation Tourney on Guntersville on Friday and Saturday. I got one day of practice in on Thursday as well. To put it mildly, it was TOUGH. It only took 20lbs to win, and that is a 2-day total. I finished 5th with 16lbs. There were 3 limits brought in on Saturday. I had several opportunities to win the tournament, but the fish that bit my buzzbait and frog were not taking it at all. I had 13 bites on top in 2 days and landed 2 fish, hooking only 3. I had to resort to a shaky head to catch 5 of the 8 that I weighed in. No one can figure out what is going on at Guntersville, the grass is healthy and abundant and there is billions of shad to eat. I think it may be too much of both, and not enough fish. Hopefully it will get better on the Big G soon..
9/26/11 Wheeler. I had two trips this week on Wheeler with tourney clients. We did a lot of riding, stopping to fish occasionally. When we did fish, they bit very well, with decent bags both days and some quality fish. We threw topwaters, spinnerbaits and crankbaits, mostly in shallow water. There was some schooling activity and the fish would bite if you were able to throw on top of them.
9/13/11 Guntersville. I had an afternoon corporate trip out of Waterfront with two guys from Indiana. Neither of them had ever bass fished, but they learned quickly how Guntersville bass can explode on a topwater. We managed five bites for the trip in four hours, which was pretty typical of most of the boats that took part in the outing. All of our bites came on frogs and toads around grass mats. Two of them looked to be pretty nices ones, but they didnt make it to the boat. The water has warmed back up to 81 after dropping into the 70′s, but hopefully this next little cold front will get it back down and the fishing will get better.
9/12/11 Smith. I went back to the lake on Monday night with a friend. We were looking for big largemouths before dark and caught several on a crankbait and buzzbait, but not the giants we were looking for. After dark, we threw a spinnerbait exclusively under a bright full moon. It was fairly slow, with a lot of short strikes and blade hitting. We landed 10 spots on the night, with 5 of them being over the slot and nothing over 2.5lbs for the trip.
9/10/11 Smith. I fished the Alabama State Federation qualifier at Smith on Saturday. I practiced a little on Wednesday and late Friday afternoon, mostly looking around at some of the newly stained water from the rains early in the week. I found water temps from 64 to 79 degrees all week. Saturday, I stayed in the clear water all morning. I wound up with 11.70lbs, which was good for 3rd place, missing the win by less than a pound. I caught fish all morning on crankbaits, plus a few on a buzzbait. I also was able to catch some later on a crankbait, but never found the big bite I was looking for. All in all it was a great day, as I caught 9 overs and at least 30 fish on the day.
9/9/11 Guntersville. The water was back to normal level on Friday after the big rains from early in the week. Current was strong in the morning and most of the lake was a little muddy. There were a few creeks that were clearer than the main river. We looked for topwater bites for most of the morning, throwing a Gunfish and a toad around the grass lines. We wound up with 10 blowups, landing only half of them, but at least the activity seems to be picking up with the cooler water temps. We caught several more on a big worm, including our best fish, all in scattered milfoil. I didnt see any schooling, but when the water clears up, I expect the schooling bite to be getting cranked up.
8/27/11 Wilson. I went Friday and Saturday mornings to Wilson. Friday was a scouting mission for a trip on Saturday and I had an awesome trip. The current was strong and the fish were biting early. It took me almost two hours to figure out how they were positioned, but then it was on when I did. I lost a giant smallmouth, caught a 6+ largemouth, a 4+smallmouth and several other 2-3lbers in a little over an hour with a swimbait. I was looking forward to my trip on Saturday, but TVA and the north wind had other plans. The current was very light and the fish were not in the same places. We wound up with just 3 smallmouth and a few other assorted fish in the four hour trip. The water temps are still too high for the bite to be consistent, but that will all change in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I expect the bite to be inconsistent and dependent on the amount of current being generated.
8/17/11 Guntersville. The heat let up a little this week, but the fishing remains pretty tough. I was out for two full days and it was a struggle to find any feeding fish. When we did locate some, they were mostly small but were bunched up in hydrilla. I did manage a nice one on Wednesday that went 7lbs, he hit a ribbit in scattered hydrilla. We also caught a few on a buzzbait and a skinny dipper. Still no signs of any deep fish or deep bait. We looked for a frog bite over milfoil mats a lot, but never found any mats holding fish. I have heard of some fish being caught on the frog, but they are sporadic and may not bite every day.
8/13/11 Pickwick. I won the Top Rod Solo Tournament out of McFarland Park on Saturday. I caught 12 keepers before 9 o’clock with a couple of nice smallmouths in the mix. Everything I caught was on a topwater and a swimbait, and most of the action occured around schooling fish. After nine, the action slowed way down. There was only a light current running until 12pm, when it kicked up a little. We quit at 1pm, however, so I didnt benefit from the extra flow.
8/6/11 Guntersville. It is tough on Guntersville right now to say the least. The extreme heat is taking its toll on the fish and the fishermen. I went Saturday and Sunday with limited success. I had a one big one pull off on Saturday and a few small keepers but it was slow overall. I fished mostly deep structure, but the shad have deserted most of those areas and seemed to be in the middle of the river channel on top. On Sunday, I had a trip with two clients, and we wound up boating about 15 fish for the day with 3lbs being the biggest. We had one grassy area that had some feeding fish where we did most of our damage, but nothing deep again. The hydrilla is growing very well and is very thick in most shallow areas from Siebold to Goose Pond. It was hard to find milfoil in that part of the lake that hadnt been choked out by the fast growing hydrilla.
8/1/11 Smith. Fishing is typical Smith Lake summertime right now. The coming full moon should defintely help the night time bite. It has been tough without the moon lately. Before dark, I have been able to catch a few on a crankbait and a shaky head. After dark, the spinnerbait bite has been hit or miss for me and so has the worm and jig bite. Brushpiles in 15-25 feet will hold fish and I have also caught a few on deeper points and ledges. The only topwater bites I have been able to get have been small schoolers, which are not that numerous.
7/3/11 Pickwick. Fished Saturday night and Sunday morning at Pickwick. The current is the key at Pickwick right now. When it is on, the action can be fast and furious, without it, the bite is sporadic day or night. At night, fish shallow rocks with a worm, shaky head, small jig or spinnerbait. I like to stay near the Florence area at night, as there are plenty of rocks to fish around there. In the daytime, I have been fishing from Waterloo to Pickwick Dam. River Channel ledges and humps are the best bets, with the possibility of getting on some nice schools of fish. Big worms, football jigs and crankbaits will catch them on the ledges.
7/2/11 Smith. Friday night I had a trip with two clients learning the lake and night fishing at the same time. We had a good trip, fishing from 6pm til 12am. Before dark we caught several nice spots on a crankbait, including a double. I also hooked a monster striper that broke my line before we even got to tire him out. After dark, I had a 3+spot on a spinnerbait and we had several other good bites. There was a ton of traffic and no moon, and I was pleased with the action we had on the spinnerbait.
7/1/11 Guntersville. JB and I decided to fish the Brown’s Creek tourney from 5:30 to 8:30. We had some trouble getting on our best spot, we mostly watched another boat with live shiners catch fish after fish after fish. We finally were able to get some action going ourselves with a jig and swimbait, and wound up with a decent sack of three fish that weighed 11.70, but that wasnt good enough to get in the top 3 to get a check. The current was running strong and the fish were biting well the entire time.
6/25/11 Wheeler. Fished the Boeing Bass Club Hospice Benefit tourney today out of Ingalls. Almost 60 boats turned out and we wound up with 14.71lbs for 2nd place. We caught fish well from daylight until about 11AM, then it got tough. We caught them on a 3/4oz football jig, 11 inch worm and a swimbait. Most were in 6-15feet along the river channel. We had 1 over 3lbs and caught a ton of 2 1/2 and 2 3/4lb fish but never could get a kicker in the boat. It took 17 to win and big fish was 4.88 I think. We didnt see any schooling today other than a few stripe.
6/23/11 Guntersville. Rex and I fished the Thursday night 3 fish tourney out of Brown’s Creek from 5:30 to 8:30. The wind was howling the entire time which made it tough to hold the boat on the ledges. Rex jumped a 6lber off on our first stop on a crankbait and I caught a decent one on a jig. We finally got into a few on our last stop and wound up with three that weighed 9.35, which took second place. It took 9.60 to win. We caught them on the river channel with a football jig and swimbait in 17-20 feet.
6/20/11 Pickwick. I have yet to see much grass on Pickwick, but the fishing is still very good on most days. Fish are schooled up on offshore ledges when you find them. They will eat a crankbait, spoon, jig or big worm. The current has been running more in the afternoons, resulting in a better late bite than early bite, but we have still had decent days when there was very little current running.
6/20/11 Guntersville. The bite has been strong at Guntersville on most days. There are still fish in the grass that will bite a topwater, swimbait or worm. I have spent most of my time on the ledges, fishing 10-20 feet deep with a football jig, spoon, and big worm. I have also been able to find some nice schooling action on the days the wind isnt blowing. We are catching lots of 2-3lb fish with some 4s and 5s mixed in every day.
6/20/11 Smith. Unfortunately, it seems like the red hot topwater bite is over at Smith. My last three trips have only resulted in 10-20 blowups on the spook after getting 40-50 the week before. This usually happens in the summertime, and the topwater bite actually stretched out into June this year a little longer than normal. If you can stand the heat, fish can still be caught on a shaky head in 20-30feet during the daytime. Evenings and mornings will result in more active fish that can be caught on crankbaits, topwater, jigs and worms. The night bite has been pretty standard for Smith when I have been. I have caught them in 15-25 feet on a 1/2 oz black spinnerbait and a shaky head. Location is key to catching them at night.
6/12/11 Wheeler. The bass at Wheeler are into their summer patterns. Current flow has been light, but the fish have been feeding well early and late. On days with more current, the bite will last all day. The river channel and shallow areas on the Decatur flats have been the most productive areas. Fish have been schooling on the flats sporadically on calm days. The best baits to catch them are football jigs, crankbaits and worm with a topwater or swimbait catching some when they are chasing bait.
6/10/11 Guntersville. The fishing seems to be the best it has been all year on Guntersville despite the pressure. There are still fish in the grass that can be caught on Skinny Dipper type swimbaits or topwaters such as pop-Rs, chug bugs or buzzbaits. There are also plenty of fish deep on the ledges and shellbeds. A spoon, worm, jig or crankbait will catch those fish and the more current the better they bite. I have also found some nice schooling action lately. The fish are eating big gizzard shad and will crush a spook if cast to the boils. Today was some of the most aggressive strikes I have seen on topwater in a long time, and it is a blast to catch them on top.
6/9/11 Smith. Nothing has changed on Smith for me.. I am still smoking them on topwater in the mornings and most evenings as well. Some sporadic schooling is taking place, but you dont need it to catch them. I am fishing with one rod on most days, throwing the super spook all morning. Fish can also be caught on worms, flukes and crankbaits, but nothing is as fun as watching them blow up on your spook. There are some stripers mixed in each day as well, ranging in size from 5-25lbs. Today was my best day yet, with a best five weighing 16-17lbs and getting 55 blowups and catching 38 fish from 5AM til 11:30AM. The weekends are tougher than weekdays with all the boat traffic, we didnt have any topwater bites last Saturday evening after getting them Friday from 6:30 til dark. The night bite is average, but should be getting much better with the full moon approaching. We caught fish on worms and spinnerbaits in 5-15 feet of water last weekend after dark.
5/29-30 Smith. The topwater bite continues to sizzle on Smith. Mornings are best from 5AM to 7 or 8, depending on the day. There is some schooling, but not giant schools that stay on top for long periods of time. Most places I have been catching them have been in open water near long points, and there will be one or two swirls every so often. You dont have to have see any surface activity to catch them, however. A super spook is the only thing I am throwing on most days, and I have been catching stripers as well as spots. Sunday, Rex and I had 3 stripers over 15lbs and numerous spots before the jetskis and skiers woke up. Monday, JB and I fished the Memorial Day tournament out of the park from 5-10AM. We caught 15 spots over the slot and 5 stripers, plus numerous slots and smaller spotted bass. We ended the day with a 6.10lb largemouth to take big fish and win the tournament with 15.82lbs.
5/28/11 Wheeler. I fished the Top Rod Solo Tournament out of Mallard Creek today and finished 2nd with 12lbs. The winner had a solid bag of 17lbs and most contestants had around 9lbs. Fishing was tough for the most part. The fish seem to be in the transition phase between spawn and summer patterns, and there are very few places to catch good fish right now. It should pick up soon, however, with the days getting hotter and the water temps getting above 80. I caught my fish from 4-15feet on a variety of baits including a swimbait, football jig, shaky head and texas rig worm.
5/21/11 Smith. The topwater bite is pretty good in the mornings with a Super Spook. The key is to cover lots of water, mostly fishing points and looking for any schooling activity you can find. There are a few striper schools out there in the main lake, but I havent seen a lot of spots schooling together yet. Most of the time its just one or two swirls, but a well placed cast will usually get your spook demolished. We had nearly 12lbs of spots in the Holly pond tourney on Saturday, good enough for 4th place. All were caught in the first two hours on a Super Spook. The water is really clearing up, and the fish are moving off the bank as a result. Lots of skiers and jetskis on the water Saturday as well, so be careful on the weekends. During the week is the best time to go, and early mornings and late afternoons til dark will result in the best fishing.
5/17/11 Wilson. Had an afternoon trip with a corporate group on Wilson. The fishing was very tough for the entire group. Most of the group were not experienced fishermen, so the guides tried to keep it simple, fishing weedbeds and shallow and noone reported much success. My group had a couple of nice fish on a shaky head and several more bites. We wound up at the dam with the stripe schooling and all three boats that were up there had good action with topwaters and crankbaits on the schooling stripe.
5/14/11 Wheeler. David and I fished the AFS and the FCA tourneys on Wheeler on Saturday. I didnt get to fish much on Wheeler this week, but David went out a few days. The water stayed about a foot down all week, but we still thought we could catch enough in the bushes and grass to do well. We flipped, threw a pop-R and a trick worm all morning with nothing but 2-pound fish to show for it. We probably caught 40 on the day, which was a lot of fun, but doesnt win a tournament. We tried to get out on the river channel later, but the stiff west wind made it tough to hold on a spot. It took 15lbs to win the tournaments and there were several 12-13lb bags. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits were the best baits according to the dock talk afterwards.
5/12-13/11 Smith. I had a two-day trip on Smith with a couple of clients from the Madison area. We had a lot of fun although neither of them had bass fished in 15+ years. We caught the majority of our fish on topwaters on both days with some shaky head spotted bass and some largemouth on spinnerbaits thrown in as well. I was surprised that we didnt see much schooling action either day, but fish still hit a Super Spook and a fluke fished fast over points. We had a couple of places that we caught stripers as well as spots and one client hooked, fought and lost a monster striper on Friday. We had tons of bites both days and landed 40-50 each day. The cool nights this week should lower the water temps from a high of 86 on Thursday but it wont hurt the bite at all. I expect a few more weeks of great fishing on Smith.
5/11/11 Guntersville. I fished Wednesday afternoon as part of a large corporate trip on Guntersville. We had non stop action while we were out, catching fish from 1-20 feet. Our best five went about 16lbs. We caught them super shallow on ribbits, shallow on soft pastics and deep on a football jig. I’ll be on Guntersville a lot more in coming days, with the topwater bite and the deep bite getting into full swing. Last year my clients and I had a lot of fun in late May and June and I expect it to be great again this year.
5/8/11 Wheeler. Wheeler is picking up right now, except for the days that TVA drops the water overnight. That was the case on Sunday, leaving the grassbeds and most of the buckbushes high and dry. I saw a couple of fish on bed, but the water was too stained in most places to even look. At full pool, fish will bite ribbits, spinnerbaits, swimming jigs and swimbaits around grass and shallow wood. The bite downriver is also picking up, with the shakyhead worm catching some decent largemouths today.
5/7/11 Smith. The water is dropping fast on Smith, leaving the bushes and trees I had been fishing with very little water on them. You really had to look hard to find cover with enough water on it to fish this weekend. If we did find the right stuff, the fish were there to be caught. Texas rig craws and worms have been working best when fishing for largemouths. The spots are also finishing up the spawn and have begun feeding. We caught several on Friday and Saturday on a Spook. The spots will also eat a shaky head worm fished in 5-15 feet of water, mostly around rocky banks. Fishing remains terrific on Smith with 30-40 fish per day being the norm and some big fish showing up as well. We had a 6.02 largemouth on Saturday and 14.25lbs to win first place in the Arley American Legion Tournament.
5/1/11 Smith. Fishing remains great for Smith Lake. I got out for a couple of hours on Friday and all day on Saturday. We targeted largemouths mostly on both days and caught some nice ones. We had one four pounder on Friday and one almost five on Saturday plus numerous 2-3lbers. All largemouths were spawned out and caught flipping bushes and trees with a texas-rig craws or throwing a Pop-R in the same areas. We also had success with a shaky head when targeting spots. We caught spots in shallow rocky areas. We had about 20 fish on Friday in three hours and 45-50 in eight hours on Saturday. The topwater bite is about to get really good on Smith and nothing beats big bass blowing up your bait on top. I have a special Smith Lake rate of $250 for eight hours in May.
4/23/11 Guntersville. Had a trip with one client just getting started bass fishing today on Guntersville. The wind made it tough and the water dropping probably didnt help much either. We landed 12-15 bass and missed or lost at least that many more. We were throwing soft plastics early in spawning areas and that accounted for most of our fish. We also caught/lost a few on a crankbait and at the end of the day we targeted bank grass with a ribbit. He had eight blowups on the ribbit and got three of them to the boat. Water is still stained for Guntersville, and there was plenty of current.
4/22/11 Wheeler. I had a trip on the lower end of Wheeler yet and it was tough to say the least. It seems like the lower end is behind schedule, especially compared to the area around Decatur. It fished much like Wilson did last week, the fish just havent moved up yet. We only boated 1o and had a few more bites. The fish we did catch were still full of eggs and were caught on soft plastics in shallow water. I would expect the lower end to turn on soon, but for now, my advice would be to fish the midlake area. Fish are being caught flipping bushes and on the banks on spinnerbaits and soft plastics around Decatur.
4/19/11 Smith. Water back up over full pool after the weekend rains and it has more stain than usual in most places. It should clear up by the weekend however. We caught 35 today, most of them 15-17 inch keepers with more largemouth than usual. The largemouth we caught were all on topwater and all were spawned out females. All of them were around flooded bushes and trees. Our spots were caught shallow as well, mostly on a shakyhead. They were on points, and shallow ledges. The full blown topwater bite is just around the corner as most fish are coming off the bed and will be looking to feed.
4/17/11 Wilson. Fished the Top Rod Tourney today on Wilson and it was tough on everyone. The fish on Wilson have still not moved up. There are a few fish shallow, but not many, as I spent 3 hours looking and pitching to shallow cover without a bite. The current was very strong, with 15 spillgates open at the end of the day and the turbines running strong all day as well. There were a surprising number of fish schooling on shad out in the middle of pockets in 30-40 feet of water. With the water temps at 65 and it being the middle of April, the fish should be moving up any day now, but bring a jerkbait just in case they come up out in the middle of pockets.
4/16/11 Wheeler. The fishing at Wheeler seems to be pretty good despite the heavy current and muddy water. Fish are up shallow around rock, wood, grass and bushes. They are biting just about anything right now as well. Plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs will catch fish, just cover water til you find them. We caught 40 or so today, but didnt get around any big ones.
4/10/11 Guntersville. Water temps were up to 68 today in most places. It has also cleared up finally in lots of places, but not as clear as normal years. I didnt see anywhere today that you could have sight fished any deeper than 2 feet unlike most years where 4-5 feet is possible. There are some fish spawning and others are close, but the massive wave looks to be just around the corner. With the full moon approaching, it should be any day this week. We had lots of males and smaller females today in the shallows, all on soft plastics. Lizards, Senkos, brush hogs, and craws will all catch them right now, Texas rig it with a 1/16 or 3/32 oz weight on 15lb line and. Color doesnt seem to matter, I used all sorts of green pumpkin/watermelon colors today.
4/7/11 Smith. Had another fun day on Smith today. We had basically the same day that I did on Saturday, catching 30+ fish with about half being overs and lots of 2-3lb spots. The wind hampered us in some places, but only because we didnt want to fight it. It really seems that you can catch them anyway you want on Smith right now. If you want to throw a spinnerbait in dirty water, you can catch fish that way. If you want to finesse them in clear water, you can. If you want to throw a fluke or jerkbait, you will catch them. I havent cranked much, but I feel pretty sure you can catch them well with a crankbait right now as well. I have mostly been tailoring my trips to whatever my guests have wanted to do and have had no trouble catching fish under any weather and water conditions in the last few weeks.
4/2/11 Smith. Fished an open tourney out of the Dam on Saturday. The water temps have dropped into the high 50′s, but warmed to low 60′s by the end of the day. The cold slowed the bite down a little bit, but we still had a great day. Our numbers were down, partly because we fished more for big fish and partly because the fish were not quite as active. We caught 30 for the day, but 16 were over the slot limit. Unfortunately, we never caught any big ones, most were 2 and 2.5 lbers. Our best five weighed 11.56, which was just out of the money. Five places were paid and 12 something was fifth with 15 winning. The warm days on Sunday and Monday should get the temps back up and the cold day on Tuesday shouldnt hurt much. The rest of this week will see more warm temps, so the fishing should explode again in the coming week. Shaky heads were our best bait on Saturday, with the topwater bite slower than it has been. We did still catch all our fish in 10 feet or less, however.
3/29/11 Smith. The fishing remains fantastic on Smith, possibly as good as I have ever seen it. Lots of fish are up shallow, but not too many are actually on beds. The lake is slightly over full pool, so there is pleny of cover in the form of bushes and trees in the water for the fish to get around. Water color ranges from muddy to stained to clear depending on what part of the lake you are in and the temps are 60-63. I have been catching fish everywhere, in lots of different areas of the lake. The same baits are working in the different color water as well. I have been catching them on shaky heads, spinnerbaits, flukes and a few on topwater. Everything has been between 1-10 feet. In my last three trips, I have had between 45-88 fish landed, with some very nice four pound spots.
3/26/11 Pickwick. Water temps were 58-60 today with a decent stain on the upriver part of Pickwick. Water was low, but will be rising after today’s heavy rain. Fish were not very active, but still biting decent. Fish will bite crankbaits, spinnerbaits, shaky heads and jigs, mostly around shallow rock banks and points. Look for current breaks and eddies.
3/22/11 Smith. The fish seem to be up everywhere on Smith. Water temp was 67 everywhere, and some parts of the lake have a good stain to them. You can probably catch fish on anything you want right now on the Lake, just match the water color to your technique and stay shallow. We caught fish yesterday on spinnerbaits, shaky heads and flukes, all tossed to the bank. There is lots of cover in the water with the levels over full pool, vines, bushes, trees, trash, etc. Pitching a jig around will get fewer bites, but probably a few bigger ones. Use a 1/8oz shaky head with a finesse worm or smallie beaver as well around any type of cover in 8 feet or less.
3/22/11 Guntersville. Conditions are changing daily at Guntersville. One day the water is up, the next it is down. Temps get up to 67, then back to 60. The fishing remains good on most days, challenging on others. It doesnt look like we will have the mass movement to the spawning areas this year like we did last year. Last year, the water stayed cold most of March, then warmed quickly in April and all the fish seemed to come to the bank at once. This year there are some fish up in places, but its not all over the lake and full on like it was last year. I had been strictly fishing moving baits, but now I am mixing in some plastics as well, and will eventually go to plastics the majority of the time in the next few days. Lizards, Brush Hogs, Senkos, etc.. in mostly green pumpkins and june bug. Look for grass and stumps in five feet or less.
3/10/11 Guntersville. I have been having some solid days on Guntersville this spring. Before the floods, the bite was getting better and better as the water temps reached 60 in some places. The rattlebait and a crankbait have been my go to baits. I have been mixing it up between red, royal shad and chartruese/black back depending on the water clarity. Some days the rattle trap has been the best producer and other days it has been the crankbait (KVD 1.5 or RC 1.5). I have mostly been fishing upriver, although today the downriver bite was solid. The recent rain and cold weather has the river channel muddy and the temps have dropped into the upper 40s. There are still some fish holding in the same areas as last week, however. The keys are to find some green grass growing among the dead stalks of grass or irregular places such as underwater grass points on a straight line of grass. I have had my best luck on the outside of the grass lines in 5-6 feet, with some occasional forays into shallow water(1-2 feet)resulting in some fish as well. I have been tossing a 1/4oz trap when I go shallow and a 1/2 or 3/4 oz on the outside grass. Most days have resulted in 15-25 bites and a best five of 15-19lbs. I didnt get into the Everstart tourney and gave a friend a couple of spots that he used for a top 20 finish. I think the only day I didnt catch them well was in the last solo trail tourney..lol.. thats the way it always goes though… Today we had three fish over five pounds and could have had a big bag had we stayed on the fish, but my clients were preparing for a tournament and we didnt want to soremouth any more of them.
3/10/11 Smith. Recent rains have the lake 3 feet over full pool. I havent been since the flood, but I love it when the lake is overfull this time of year. Crankbaits on dirt banks will catch them in the stained water and of course the bite in the backs of pockets is awesome as well. I had been crappie fishing a couple of times just before the rains and the crappie were definitely biting. A 30 fish limit was easy to get and when the lake settles back down, the crappie will again bite well. I can do crappie trips or bass/crappie trips if you want some great eating fish to take home. Nothing is as good as Smith Lake Crappie in the frying pan!
2/13/11 Guntersville. Had a half day trip on Guntersville on Sunday. Felt good to have the sun bearing down for a change and temps got up into the 60′s. Unfortunately, the wind got up to 15-20mph as well, but still a good day on the ol pond. We finished with 19 bass caught, plus 2 shellcracker that got too close to our rattle traps. Most of our fish were chunky keepers, with no giants today. All fish were caught on a rayburn red rattle trap, wound slowly over scattered milfoil in 2 or 3 feet of water. We stayed in protected creeks all day and never fished on the river channel. These areas should really shine later in the week after another day or two of sunshine. I have days open this week if you would like a trip..
1/30/11 Smith. With the sun out for the past few days, I expected to find a good crankbait bite today, but the jig bite turned out even better. We had two nice largemouth on the jig around wood cover and a few nice spots in deeper water on a jig. We also caught a couple on a jerkbait and a few on a crankbait as well. Fish were caught from 2 to 25 feet deep and the ones on the jerkbait were suspended over 70 feet of the ends of points.
1/28/11 Guntersville. The fishing can be hit or miss on Guntersville right now, but when it is on it can be great. It looks like this will be a much better early spring for rattlebaits than last year. Last year’s grass is plentiful and still standing in most places. Dead grass will hold some fish, but new growth seems to be better if you can find it. I found a few fish today, and they were in groups when you found them. Today they preferred a red XR50 over any other types and colors of rattlebaits I threw. All fish were in about 5 feet of water.
1/15/11 Smith. I won the solo trail tourney out of Smith Lake Dam with 3 fish that weighed 9.40 and had a 4.11 spot for big fish. The water was still muddy in most creeks, but the normal crystal clear anywhere near the dam. The creeks have cleared up now, however, for the most part. I actually saw some schooling fish on Friday and Saturday, and these will hit a spook if they come up within casting distance. The wintertime patterns are in full swing with the water temps around 45 degrees. Most fish are going to be in 20-30 feet around brush, and a 1/2 oz jig is your best bet for quality bites. A shakyhead will also catch some fish during the day and if you find suspended fish on your graph, they will hit a dropshot. Finally, crankbaits can be my favorite lure during the winter time if the conditions are right. I caught my two biggest fish Saturday on a crankbait plus several slot fish.
1/1/11 Smith. Fished two days at Smith before the rains came. Spent the majority of time throwing a 1/2oz tightlines jig in brown craw with zoom trailer in 15-25 feet, mostly around brush piles. I caught 10-12 each day on the jig most around 14-16 inchers. On Thursday, we also caught 20-25 on a 1/2oz spoon. The spoon fish were in 22-25 feet, and you didnt always have to see one on the graph to catch them. Points were best for the spoon fish, and most were 13-15 inches. Will be getting out this week to see how much the lake came up and how much the heavy rains affects the fishing.
12/26/10 Smith. Temps at Smith have dropped to the low 50′s, high 40′s and the jig bite was on the day before Christmas. I have been to Smith a few times in December with a wide variety of results. The crankbait bite has been decent at times, as has the spoon bite and there are always a few fish to be caught on a shaky head. I got out for the afternoon of Christmas Eve and fished a jig exclusively. I caught 10 solid fish in 3 hours, all on a 1/2 ounce tightlines jig in brown craw with a watermelon zoom trailer. Most were in 20-25 feet around brush, but I also caught a couple in 5 feet or less. The jig bite should be consistent from now through February, mostly deep unless there are a few sunny days in a row, then the crankbait comes back into play.
11/14/10 Wheeler. The fishing remains tough on Wheeler. On Sunday, I took part in the Wounded Warriors event with 30 other boats. There was only 2 or 3 fish weighed in over 3lbs in 6 hours of fishing. One boat had a double digit stringer, 2nd place was 9 and I finished third with 8lbs. Plenty of small fish biting as well as small stripe, but thats about it. I caught lots of fish on the day on a spook, spoon, crankbait and slow rolling a spinnerbait in 20 feet of water.
11/13/10 Smith. Fishing can be tough to great on Smith right now, depending on the day. There are days where the fish school like crazy, both stripers and spotted bass, although not usually in the same places. On other days there is no schooling action at all. Fish can be caught on a spoon or shaky head when they are not schooling. I have also had some great action on a spook in the main lake on days with no schooling occuring. It seems as if most fish are suspended in 15-20 feet over deep water or on the bottom in 15-30 feet. I cannot find a crankbait bite at all. These patterns should hold up as long as the weather remains relatively warm.
10/22/10 Wilson. I had an incredible trip today, with my client catching a 20lb bag on top in the first hour. I had one five pounder as well and we had numerous 2-3lb fish, both brown and green. The live bait bite is still good, with at least 10-15 smallies on each trip, with some days much better than that depending on the current. TVA has completed their work on the power lines, so the entire area is open below Wheeler Dam with the workers and helicopters gone.
10/21/10 Pickwick. The bite on Pickwick is probably the best on the Tennessee River right now. I had two solid mornings of 20+ fish on topwaters, catching both smallies and largemouths. The fish came from rocky places as well as grassy areas downlake. There are still some deeper fish on the River ledges as well if you can find the right area with the current flowing. I hear the night bite is also excellent right now with the approaching full moon, although I havent been out after dark. Spinnerbaits tossed into shallow rocks have been the ticket.
10/17/10 Wilson. The fishing on Wilson is terrific for the first hour, then tough the rest of the day for largemouths. Topwater baits are still producing some solid fish in certain areas on most days. After 9pm, the bite toughens as the lake is absolutely full of shad and the fish quit their morning feed. Drifting live bait below the dam for smallmouth is good to great for numbers depending on the amount of current. When TVA runs more than one turbine, the action is fast and furious. Size has been great for me, with two or three 4lb plus smallmouth on each trip regardless of the amount of current. PLEASE keep the catfish if you want some fish to eat, not the smallmouth. It kills me to see people throwing 4 and 5 lbs smallies into a cooler. Take a pic and release so this fishery can continue to exist!
10/17/10 Wheeler. Wheeler still tough as nails, I’m guessing due to the higher than usual water temps. Temps still in the mid 70′s, but slowly dropping. The shad are in huge groups, mostly still in open water, however, and not on the flats and backs of pockets where most schooling occurs. As a result, most of the bass seem to be suspended and not very catchable. Everyone I have spoken with that has fished the lake in the past two weeks reports very tough fishing. I keep thinking that the fall schooling bite will eventually get here, and hopefully it will soon.
10/10/10 Wilson. Two trips to Wilson were phenomenal this week. The shad are schooled up and the fish are feeding up on them bigtime. A small spook or popper will catch them while they bust the baitfish on the surface. Early morning is clearly the best bite, and it gets tougher in midday hours. Smallmouth are biting live bait well in the tailrace as well. Most are small, but an occasional big one bites as well.
10/5/10 Guntersville Fishing still fair at the Big G. Some fish are being caught around grass mats on various baits. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits and toads will catch them throughout the day. A black ribbit has been the best producer for me lately. I also caught some fish deep on the river ledge with a shaky head while the current was running strong. Very few milfoil mats left in the midlake area for frogging, the hydrilla has just about taken over most places there was milfoil all summer.
9/30/10 Wheeler. Water temp only reached a high of 76 today on Wheeler and the shad and fish are moving up. We caught 25-30 on the day, mostly small fish with about half being keepers. The spinnerbait was our best producer for the day, a 1/2 ounce War Eagle Screaming Eagle in spot remover. We also caught several on a small crankbait. Fish were anywhere from 1-10 feet. There was minimal schooling, but we did see many large groups of shad. Next week should be non-stop action on Wheeler.
9/29/10 Guntersville. Water temps are finally falling, starting at 72 in the morning and reaching 82 in the afternoon. The fishing was slow early, but heated up around lunch. We had a few fish around the grass mats on a buzzbait, crankbait, spinnerbait and skinny dipper early. Then we fished some milfoil mats for a few frog bites, catching 4. At noon, we found fish schooling well along the river channel. The Lucky Craft Gunfish was the best bet for the schoolers, which ranged from 1-3lbs. Fishing should only get better as the temps continue to fall.
9/16/10 Guntersville. The water temps are back to 85 at Guntersville and we didnt see much activity today due to the wind. Bites were hard to come by but we managed a few on a frog and horny toad around the grass mats in the midlake area. There are a lot of places with huge mats of hydrilla now, some in places that was nothing but milfoil in the summer. The hydrilla may have had a late start this year, but it has definitely grown wild in the past month or so. The edges of these mats were our best spots for the day.
9/15/10 Wheeler. We had high hopes today for Wheeler but it is probably another few days before the fall patterns really get going. Shad are schooled up well, but most are in open water and away from the banks. We managed a few fish out of the schoolers, but like on Smith yesterday, they were pretty picky and didnt stay up aslong. We did catch a few smallmouth on topwater on shady banks in super shallow water. The fishhead spin also produced a few fish in those same places.
9/14/10 Smith. Saw plenty of schoolers today, mostly slots and unders with an occasional bigger fish coming up. Most were in open water and they were eating tiny one inch shad. Matching the hatch with a topwater or crankbait is almost impossible, I had better luck just throwing a clear, regular size spook in the areas they came up in. The better fish I caught today were along rocky banks and points in 10 feet or less with the spook and crankbait. The bright sun didnt seem to hurt at all to my surprise as the fish were feeding well. Most were fat and healthy.
9/4/10 Guntersville. Fished Sunday amongst the skiers and jetskiers enjoying the last summer holiday. It was tough most of the day, although we had a few bites early on a frog and buzzbait. There are lots of nice looking milfoil mats to drag a frog across. Many of our bites were half-hearted attempts where the fish didnt even take the frog under. The frog fishing outlook is terrific, however, with the mats in good shape and plentiful.
9/3/10 Pickwick. Water temps are cooling down and the shad are plentiful. Saw many big schools of shad and some activity, but it should get much better in the next couple of weeks. Topwaters and small swimbaits worked best around schooling fish. Did not get down river to the grass, but looking forward to going again soon and targeting the grass. The fish will be moving up by the droves with the temps dropping.
8/28/10 Smith. Fished the benefit tournament out of the park last night from 6PM-2AM. We finished second, AGAIN, with 10.95lbs. It only took 11.43 to win as the bite was tough after dark, even with the moon full this week. Before dark the bite was on, just as it had been earlier in the week. We caught 15-20 fish before dark, mostly slot fish on worms and crankbaits with one over. We also lost two more overs that would have been the difference between winning and finishing second. After dark we had four more overs, all in less than 10 feet of water on spinnerbaits and worms. The fishing is definitely getting better at Smith as the water slowly starts to cool down from 91-92 degrees.
8/14-21/10 Guntersville. With the milfoil topping out in many areas, the frog bite is turning on at Guntersville. Look for solid mats of milfoil and work a snag-proof or spro frog across it for the most fun you can have with a rod and reel. I have been getting 10-15 blow ups per trip and it should only get better. It seems that most of the deeper schools are gone, with the grass being the best areas to target right now. Fish the scattered grass with a popper, fluke or worm, and also flip the clumps and mats with a heavy weight.
7/23/10 Guntersville. Had a trip with father and son on Friday at Guntersville and was shocked at the lack of activity. No schoolers to be found anywhere and the ledge bite was nothing like it had been. We managed a few fish here and there but never found them schooled up shallow or deep. There was a huge tournament going on and the boats we ran across all reported tough days. Seems like the better fish are hunkered down in thick hydrilla and milfoil right now to get away from the 100 degree heat.
7/22/10 Smith. In two night trips on Smith the evening bite was very good again but the night time bite wasnt what I had hoped for. We caught them before dark on a shakyhead worm and a crankbait well. After dark, the spinnerbait bite was sporadic. Wednesday Night we caught five on our first stop after dark, then had just a few bites the rest of the night. Thursday night we fished til midnight and had 5or 6 bites on the blade. We probably could have done better with worms or jigs, but we were looking for spinnerbait bites specifically.
7/21/10 Wheeler. Fished one morning and two evenings this week on Wheeler and the heat seems to be taking its toll on the fishing. The hybrid stripe are schooling well on the flats, with a few largemouth mixed in. Topwaters are the best baits for stripe, and football jigs under the schoolers for largemouth. The river channel bite was off for me and most of my friends that were out this week as well. We did manage a few fish again on a 3/4 Tight Lines Football Jig with a paca chunk or rage chunk trailer.
7/17/10 Smith. We fished from 6pm-2am on Saturday night. We found fish before dark in 15-20 feet on a shakyhead with a watermelon red trick worm and a football jig. Boat traffic was heavy and we did not catch our usual fish or two on topwater. After dark, the spinnerbait and shaky head produced a few fish. We had six over the slot including a 5.7 largemouth and 15.62lbs for our best five to finish second in the Cullman Firefighter’s Tournament. Fish were in or near brushpiles from 15-25 feet with a couple of decent spots caught right on the bank.
7/12/10 Guntersville. Fished from 6pm til 12pm on Monday night with a friend on Guntersville. We had some unreal action before dark, finding two solid schools of fish in 15-20 feet of water. We caught them on a swimbait with a 3/4 oz jig head and an 11-inch worm. Just before the sun went down we went to a grassline and caught a few more on a rage toad over the top of the milfoil. We felt like we could have fished grass from the time we got there and caught fish if we had wanted too. After dark we looked for some buzzbait bites around the grass but the fish did not cooperate. There were some tremendous willowfly hatches around the waterfront area last night. We finally got a couple of bites on a big worm and a spinnerbait before heading home.
7/11/10 Smith. Reports of schooling getting more prevalent on Smith. Topwaters will catch a few while they are chasing shad on top. The night bite was good this past week as well on the usual stuff, shakyheads, jigs and spinnerbaits.
7/11/10 Wheeler. Was out several days this past week on Wheeler and found the same patterns holding up. Fish are still grouped together when you find them. Football jigs, 11-inch worms and swimbaits will catch them on the Decatur Flats and along the river channel. Some schooling action also present at times. Fish seem to bite best early and late, as expected during the dog days of summer.
7/3/10 Wilson. Fishing is slowing up on Wilson but some fish are still being caught. The tailrace area can be productive but down lake, the fish are extremely deep. Big worms in 35-50 feet of water are catching some nice fish during the day. Look for ledges and drop offs in that range.
7/3/10 Wheeler. Fishing remains good at Wheeler for the most part. Fish are away from the banks on ledges, shellbeds and drop offs and are usually in groups. The bite seems to be best early and late in the day. Football Jigs, shaky heads and big worms are still the best bet to catch these fish.
Fished Friday and Saturday Night at Smith. Fish bit well under the bright full moon. Best baits were shaky head with a black zoom trick worm and a black 1/2 oz War Eagle Spinnerbait. Fish are still surprisingly shallow for late June and 91 degree water temps. We caught nothing deeper than 20 ft. The evening bite is also good on topwater and shaky heads with watermelon trick worms.
6/22/10 Wheeler. Fished the Tuesday night tourney out on Ingalls. Rex and I had 13.40 and a 7.09 big fish, which was good for third place and lunker. It took 16 to win and 14 for 2nd place. The bite wasn’t quite as strong for me as it was on Monday, but the fishing remains good on the ledges. The jig was better than the worm today for us with strong current again late in the evening. Willowflies were hatching in Decatur area tonight as well.
6/21/10 Wheeler. Got out today with wife and oldest daughter from 6-8pm. Had a blast on the river channel ledge with 10-inch woms and shakyheads as the current was strong and the fish were biting. Keep your boat in 20 ft right off the ledge and throw upstream onto the 6-8 foot ledges. Color doesnt seem to matter, fish were caught on watermelon red, june bug and green pumpkin. Appears the willowfly hatch is over with as clients didnt see any on Saturday where there had been thousands when we fished earlier last week.
6/19/10 Guntersville. Fishing was good again on the Big G, but the size was not there for us today in a small tourney. The Saturday crowds kept us off a couple of schools, and the unreal thunderstorm had us seeking shelter for an hour. Still fish to be caught in the grass on worms and swimbaits as well as flipping. The deeper fish seem to be moving around a little bit, and most schools are being pounded by anglers so they are only lasting about a week or two unless you find one that is not easy to find. Football jigs still the best bait for me.
6/14-17 Wheeler. Fishing is good at Wheeler, especially early and late. Willowflies are hatching and there is plenty of topwater action around the hatches. Small pop-R seems to be working best. On the deepr humps and ledges, the bite is also strong. Shellbeds and river channel ledges are holding good fish on 10-inch worms and 3/4 oz. football head jigs.
6/5/10. Smith. Fished Logan Fire Dept. tourney on Sat night out of the park as well as the Tuesday and previous Saturday nighters out of the Dam. We won out of the Dam on Saturday night with 12lbs, finished 4th on Tuesday night with 10.2 and didnt place in the Logan Tourney. Last Saturday we caught many fish after dark on a worm and spinnerbait to win, but by Tuesday, the downside of the full moon had eliminated the night time bite. Evening fishing is very good on topwater, swimbait and crankbaits, and the nighttime fishing should improve again as the moon phase changes.
6/4/10. Guntersville. Fished with a couple of friends today and it was awesome again. Had 100 bites for the day, most coming on a swimbait or football jig. Fish were caught from 5-35 ft deep on structure. We did not fish the grass much, but caught a few flipping when we did. Our best five went 27 pounds and our next best five went 22 or 23. Fish are grouped up when you find them deep.
5/28/10. Guntersville. Fishing is still incredible at the Big G. 50-100 bites a day this week every day I was out. Fish were caught early in the grass on top and swimbaits and later on the ledges. Football Jigs were better than crankbaits or worms for the deep bite. There were many fish present when you found them deep, they are really schooled up. The grass bite is good all day as long as it isnt slick, sunny and no current. Some fish are still dirt shallow, even heard of frog fish being caught on the banks.
Wheeler. Fishing improving on Wheeler as the fish get out to their summer haunts. Still a few in the bank grass early when the water is high, but most concentrations are on humps and ledges and they have been biting. Football Jigs again are the top choice for deep baits, with a few Carolina Rig and Crankbait fish being caught as well.
Smith. Topwater bite has been good early and late with some schooling activity. After the sun gets up, stick with shaky heads and jigs until it starts to go down again. Right before dark the activity increases again with topwaters and crankbaits being the best bets. After dark the bite is strong as well with shaky heads and spinnerbaits.