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  1. #1
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    Good day on a Middle Tennessee river

    Yesterday was cool enough to merit its own post IMO, so I'm throwing this up rather than adding to the 2019 at a glance thread. I've been doing a lot of stream fishing around here for about 20 years. Everything freestone is warm water, with smallmouth bass at the top of the gamefish pyramid. I mostly fished in these streams with a spinning rod the first few years, but gradually tried them on the long rod, and about 6-7 year ago went to fly fishing 100% of the time. It has been strictly a do it yourself learn on the stream experience though because warm water fly fishing hasn't been much of a thing around here, though that is gradually changing, so there are very few guides in this part of the country who focus on stream fishing, other than in tailwaters for trout. Last summer though I heard of a guide here doing it, James Johnsey who owns Tennessee on the Fly with his wife Amy. Yesterday, I finally got out with him after a couple of trips cancelled due to rain or unexpected life commitments on my part.

    We had a really good day. Fairly early on, I stuck a nice river smallmouth. This was 14-15 inches and fat. I catch a few of these every year, but that's right around the top end of what I have caught on the fly rod. Good work out on a 6 weight.
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    One of the interesting things about fishing these rivers though is that they have a lot of different species in them. My buddy and I caught 8 different species just yesterday. Here, not long after the first big bass, i get into the pooper game with my first carp ever, a big grassy that I caught sight fishing with a popping bug that was not quite buoyant enough to float.
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    Onto another species, this guy is a rock bass, or what is commonly called a redeye around these parts. They give you the most exciting 6 second fight you can imagine and then roll over for you to drag them in to release. Little guys--they normally top out at around 10 inches. "How's the fishin?" "Ahh, ok, but I'm mostly just catching redeyes." This little feller was probably 6-7 inches.
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    But, at least on this day, the best thing about a redeye, is that a 19 inch smallmouth might eat the bastard while you have him hooked. That picture above is after the guide had used a pair of hemostats to grab the rock bass by the tail that was sticking out of the smallie's mouth to extricate him and drop him in the river where he was trying to figure out his Jonah experience. We all saw the big guy come out and swipe at him hard, but he didn't quite get the eat, so he came back, and the guide was yelling "let her eat him, let her eat him". "Letting her eat him" is not really one of the angling skills I have developed, so I just stood there and held the rod, peering down into the water where there seemed to be a helluvalot more than a 7 inch redeye. So, I just slowed started taking in line hoping not to pull the little guy from the big guy's mouth, and it worked. It really wasn't that much of a fight. Just a lot of weight. I guess it would be like trying to wrestle someone while piggy backing your little brother, though, so not to take anything away from the smallie, here she is.

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    So that was pretty cool, and we moseyed on down the river, catching quite a few more smallmouth and throwing in a few spotted bass for good measure. Then we reached the end of that river and floated into another, which was pretty close to the takeout, and I got really happy.

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    Because Striper Happened.

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    That was a new species for me too.

    And then Striper Happened again.

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    Good day on the river. Oh yeah, my friend caught some fish too.

  2. #2
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    Those are awesome! Looks like a great day was had by all.

    Tennessee... the Athens of the south.
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  3. #3
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    Looks like fun. I have a brother who has a place in Dandridge. Always good times in TN.
    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
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  4. #4
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    Right in Mike! Looks like a killer day. Congrats on a few firsts.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KQ View Post
    Those are awesome! Looks like a great day was had by all.

    Tennessee... the Athens of the south.
    Uh....no. Nashville is the Athens of the South. The rest of TN, not so much.

    Looks like the lower Caney. Did you get a sauger? Lot of sauger and walleye in that stretch.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KQ View Post
    Those are awesome! Looks like a great day was had by all.

    Tennessee... the Athens of the south.
    KQ posting in the fishing forum ? FKNA !!! Go check out the Wydaho Circle Jerk thread. We talk about you in that thread.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Uh....no. Nashville is the Athens of the South. The rest of TN, not so much.

    Looks like the lower Caney. Did you get a sauger? Lot of sauger and walleye in that stretch.
    No, not the Caney. After the thrill of catching those stripers though, I went ahead and booked a trip for next April with that guide because he said that was the best time for stripers on the lower Caney. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Uh....no. Nashville is the Athens of the South. The rest of TN, not so much.

    Looks like the lower Caney. Did you get a sauger? Lot of sauger and walleye in that stretch.
    oops - forgot to put the city name before the state
    Kindness is a bridge between all people

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    No, not the Caney. After the thrill of catching those stripers though, I went ahead and booked a trip for next April with that guide because he said that was the best time for stripers on the lower Caney. Hopefully the weather cooperates.
    Yeah, my stepmom caught a 35 pounder down there. Mostly, we went there to catch sauger and walleye. Ever eat sauger? Probably the best eating freshwater fish around.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry View Post
    KQ posting in the fishing forum ? FKNA !!! Go check out the Wydaho Circle Jerk thread. We talk about you in that thread.

    LOL!! Hey! I'm a renaissance woman.
    Kindness is a bridge between all people

    Dunkin’ Donuts Worker Dances With Customer Who Has Autism

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Yeah, my stepmom caught a 35 pounder down there. Mostly, we went there to catch sauger and walleye. Ever eat sauger? Probably the best eating freshwater fish around.
    Never had sauger. I have heard that you can catch them in the Cumberland right here in town. Might have to give it a whirl sometime.

  12. #12
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    I might have caught a striper or two in the Caney Fork. 44 pound piggy Merebs dragged in courtesy of the Caney.

    April and May are during the striper's attempted breeding run up out of Hickory Lake into the Cumberland and Caney Fork rivers, and always produce big fish. Book more than one day. Let me know when you are going to be there.

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    In order to properly convert this thread to a polyasshat thread to more fully enrage the liberal left frequenting here...... (insert latest democratic blunder of your choice).

  13. #13
    That is an armload.
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  14. #14
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    The water is drying up down there. The lake in DandridgeClick image for larger version. 

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    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
    ― Milton Friedman

  15. #15
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    Dry and hot
    In order to properly convert this thread to a polyasshat thread to more fully enrage the liberal left frequenting here...... (insert latest democratic blunder of your choice).

  16. #16
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    That was nice.

  17. #17
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    ya knows ive gotton my share of the poopfish to eats a fly
    aint thrown to many grassies
    and thankfully the ones we got out here are sterilized
    but they dont gits fooled easily
    strong work
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
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    ski on in eternal peace

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post
    ya knows ive gotton my share of the poopfish to eats a fly
    aint thrown to many grassies
    and thankfully the ones we got out here are sterilized
    but they dont gits fooled easily
    strong work
    I think that was the best damned fight I've ever had in freshwater. That thing pulled like a tank. 4 separate runs.

    Regarding water levels, yeah, TN and much of the southeast had virtually no rain in September, and plus they usually generate a bit more this time of the year continuing for a few months to bring the lakes down to "winter pool" which then gives some slack for to accommodate winter/spring rains. It's more noticeable in the lakes in the eastern part of the state where dropoffs are much more abrupt because the terrain is all hills and hollers. What you see in that picture is certainly more than usual, but not by all that much actually.

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