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Free Tips...
Click to enlargeSmallmouth Bass Fishing in North Alabama

If you dream of gorilla-sized smallmouth, then the Tennessee River in north Alabama will make your dreams come true. Anglers catch 3- and 4-pound smallmouth almost daily.A 5-pound smallmouth will raise the eyebrows of tourists, but the locals will shrug it off. A 6-pound smallmouth will get you some respect. Catching a 7-pound smallmouth will get you, "Yeah, that's a good'un." If you take an 8-pound smallmouth, someone may say, "I had a buddy catch one that size last year." A 9-pound smallmouth will get you, "Bubba, you need to mount that one." If you catch a 10-pound smallmouth, everyone on the reservoir will tell you, "Take that one to the meat market and weigh it. You may have a new state record."

Click to EnlargeYes, that's right, a state record. Alabama's smallmouth record stands at 10 pounds, 8 ounces. Owen F. Smith of Fairfield, Alabama, caught the champion bass on October 8, 1950. But many believe other record-breaking 10-pound-plus-smallmouth bass swim the Wheeler Dam tailrace and the Wilson Dam tailrace, both on the Tennessee River.

"I've had four or five fish on that I believe may have broken the state record," says Jerry Crook, of Birmingham, Alabama, one of America's greatest smallmouth fishing guides.

But if the smallmouth don't bite, Crook leads his clients to largemouth bass, white bass, catfish or saltwater striped bass.

Click to EnlargeA member of Pradco's Favorite Fishing Guide Program, Crook explains, "I can catch fish for folks and keep rods bent if the fishermen are willing to fish for what's biting when they come to fish with me."

Crook guides on Wilson and Pickwick lakes all year.Even in the coldest weather, Crook says he can catch smallmouth and largemouth bass and sauger.

From late September until the first week in November, you can catch 10 smallmouth in a day of fishing that average weighing 5 pounds per smallmouth. I've caught that size stringer before and so has Crook. On a good day, most anglers on the Tennessee River consider 10 smallmouth that weigh a total of 40 pounds not that big of a deal. In my opinion, the Wheeler Dam tailrace provides the best smallmouth fishing in America.

Click to EnlargeDuring the cool months if you want to catch largemouths, fish off the current with spinnerbaits or large shad minnows. Anglers often take 4- to 6-pound largemouth in this region. If you're lucky, you may find an 8 pounder.

Best Bet: Fish for what's biting. Call Jerry Crook at (205) 608-0933 to learn what's biting best during the weekyou plan to fish. If you want to have the premium chance tocatch the most and biggest fish of your life, book a trip with Crook. Call early. He's often booked well in advance -- especially when the big smallmouth bite!



Other Free Tips Available Throughout the Week

Day One - Recipes from the Master Chef
Day Two - Smallmouth Bass Fishing in North Alabama
Day Three - Fishing for Flounder
Day Four - Lake Purdy
Day Five - Early Season Deer Hunting Tips

For more tips from the pros
visit Night Hawk's Free Tips page.