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Getting frustrated with the river!


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     Another numbers day on the Tennessee River but big fish only 14". I hooked fifty, and boated perhaps half that number, but they ranged from small to tiny. My hook up percentage is lousy with the 1/16 oz Ned.  Ratio about 10 to 1 Spots over Smallies. Water conditions were low water with very little current, and excellent clarity. I could see the bottom in five feet of water.

     My question is, where do the larger Bass live when the current is weak, and the water is low and clear? I tried barge ties, bridge supports with no luck. All the fish were caught bank drifting with current under 1 mph from rip rap banks and laydowns. The fish were aggressive with multiple fish on successive casts, just no size. 

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If the water is dropping they are normally heading to deeper stable water out of the current. They may not be feeding but that's where they chill out as it were.

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I see two things that might help. 1) ain’t too many trophy smallies in guntersville from what I understand, I could be wrong. 2) try throwing something else, ned is good but it’s not the only thing there is. Texas rig has been excellent for 20+ inchers lately 

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1 minute ago, TnRiver46 said:

I see two things that might help. 1) ain’t too many trophy smallies in guntersville from what I understand, I could be wrong. 2) try throwing something else, ned is good but it’s not the only thing there is 

Glad you chimed in because #1, you East Tennessee boys are keeping all the water, and #2 you are keeping all the trophy's!  😁

 

I have caught many three pounders (which I consider a "Trophy") over the years but this year has been tough. I usually land a couple 20" fish every year but this year is different. Where are you guys catching your? Drifting the bank, or farther out? Also, what is your water clarity?

thanks

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 One of the issues I run into when it’s low and clear is the big ones are not in the usual places.
 

Everyone hits those areas the big ones spread out away and probably aren’t at your typical  fishy looking spots. I’d also try current seams too I don’t think you mentioned you were hitting any of them.

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28 minutes ago, Susky River Rat said:

 One of the issues I run into when it’s low and clear is the big ones are not in the usual places.
 

Everyone hits those areas the big ones spread out away and probably aren’t at your typical  fishy looking spots. I’d also try current seams too I don’t think you mentioned you were hitting any of them.

Thanks,

    I'm am hitting what passes as seams but with so little current, there aren't any typical seams you would see in a river. It is almost like fishing a lake with a slight current. Hopefully some winter rains are on the way and the TVA will release water.

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36 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

Glad you chimed in because #1, you East Tennessee boys are keeping all the water, and #2 you are keeping all the trophy's!  😁

 

I have caught many three pounders (which I consider a "Trophy") over the years but this year has been tough. I usually land a couple 20" fish every year but this year is different. Where are you guys catching your? Drifting the bank, or farther out? Also, what is your water clarity?

thanks

Not much current here either, been catching them deep but plenty near the bank on rock cliffs 

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2 hours ago, roadwarrior said:

Rage Tail Menace and deeper water or go for the gold and fish live minnows.

Have you had a chance to fish below Pickwick? My guess is there isn't much current there either.

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My river has dropped a foot in the past 24 hrs but is still 3' higher than this summer's reg. levels and the river temp is low 40s with 12" visibility. Basically opposite of the conditions I've fished all year.

I found them on an inside turn in slack water with almost no current and 4 fow. 

Basically the water I didn't fish all year.

Lol

 

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Throw bigger baits if you think they are there. 110 size suspending jerkbaits and skirted jigs  would be things to try. Maybe slowroll a spinnerbait in a shad pattern theough deeper holes.

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     One week later and another float down the Big T.

 Upsized my presentations to try to weed out the youngsters and for the most part it helped. Still caught lots of newborns but did get a couple of 15" Smallies and a couple 14" spots.

Started out with spinnerbait but quickly realized that this is no longer the way I like to fish. Chunking and winding a 1/2 oz bait is work. I went with a swim bait a little larger than my usual Ned rig, and used all sorts of retrieves. This was fun fishing as the light lures were easy to fish and the bass usually showed interest. Hooked 31 and got most to the boat. Still dealing with low water and little current but still, a great way to spend the day.

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I'm in a much smaller river but here's my experience from the last outing.  Small groups of spots and smallmouth on laydowns, with little current in deeper water.  I'll catch half dozen or so off of the same log but they're all 12-14".  This is on a KVD 300 jerkbait.  I need to find a jerkbait with the same large profile that suspends and dives only 3 or 4 feet.  The big KVD bottoms out and brings up a lot of leaves.  I have tried the little rip stop that runs shallow but it needs tuned to suspend or it's just not big enough to get their attention or something.  My big fish (17-18") have all come on a bitsy bug jig with a trd bugz dragging bottom with an occasional twitch or pop over a rock or log.  I have tried a few other small trailers but that trd bugz is the only thing working for me right now.  The big fish bites have not come from the same laydowns full of smaller fish.  They're have been within a couple feet of steep banks but no noticable structure or current brakes that I can see.  Everything being relative, I feel I should mention that a 20" fish is a trophy here, max depth is 8' just above the dam and most of the stretch I'm fishing is 3-4' deep.  Water clarity is, well pretty clear. I can see bottom just about everywhere.

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3 minutes ago, IndianaOutdoors said:

I'm in a much smaller river but here's my experience from the last outing.  Small groups of spots and smallmouth on laydowns, with little current in deeper water.  I'll catch half dozen or so off of the same log but they're all 12-14".  This is on a KVD 300 jerkbait.  I need to find a jerkbait with the same large profile that suspends and dives only 3 or 4 feet.  The big KVD bottoms out and brings up a lot of leaves.  I have tried the little rip stop that runs shallow but it needs tuned to suspend or it's just not big enough to get their attention or something.  My big fish (17-18") have all come on a bitsy bug jig with a trd bugz dragging bottom with an occasional twitch or pop over a rock or log.  I have tried a few other small trailers but that trd bugz is the only thing working for me right now.  The big fish bites have not come from the same laydowns full of smaller fish.  They're have been within a couple feet of steep banks but no noticable structure or current brakes that I can see.  Everything being relative, I feel I should mention that a 20" fish is a trophy here, max depth is 8' just above the dam and most of the stretch I'm fishing is 3-4' deep.  Water clarity is, well pretty clear. I can see bottom just about everywhere.

Great info. A 20" Smallie is a trophy here is well. Actually, a 20" Smallie will make me loose adult composure and scream like a toddler. The Tennessee can be a lot deeper in places and I believe they are scattered because of the absence of current. I'm sure someone will respond with smaller profile jerkbait recommendations. If not, then start a new thread and you will certainly get the tackle monkey to your door. Thanks for the info.

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