John's Journal... Entry 1
John's Journal... Entry 4
SMALLMOUTH AND MONSTER CATS
The Wheeler Dam tailrace has heated up. As the weather cools down, the fishing will catch fire.
Last week, Heather Blackburn, Jerry Crook and I sampled some of the best tailrace fishing in the world. We caught cats, smallmouth, white bass and largemouth. The fishing should steadily get better as fall approaches.
From late September until the first week in November, you could 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. The Wheeler Dam tailrace provides the best smallmouth fishing in America. These waters have yielded a 10-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth, the state record.
During the cool months if you want to catch largemouths, fish off the current with spinnerbaits or large shad minnows. Anglers often find 4- to 6-pound largemouth in this region. If you're lucky, you may find an 8 pounder.
If you like cats, you can catch 100 pounds of cats in a day with three anglers fishing. If you fish aggressively and become a fishing machine, you may catch 100 pounds by yourself. Wheeler homes big cats, also. Look at this monster blue cat that Heather Blackburn holds, caught last week. Each fall, as the big blues continue to bite better, fishermen take 50- to 60-pound cats at Wheeler Dam. For a mess of cats for a Friday night fish-fry, you can't beat Wheeler Dam tailrace.
Best Bet: Fish for what's biting. Call Jerry Crook at (205) 608-0933 and find out what's biting best during the week you plan to fish. If you want to have the premium chance to catch the most and biggest fish of your life, book a trip with Crook. Call early. He's often booked well in advance -- especially when you'll find the big smallmouth are biting!