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Archive for June, 2010

GUNTERSVILE, Ala. – If you’ve ever wanted to experience a crankbait or deep jig bite, now’s the time to do it on Guntersville Lake.

I suspect you could do the same on some of the other Tennessee River impoundments. Fishing has been on fire on the lower end of Pickwick Lake this year, and the addition of “grass’ in the lake is helping. There absolutely is no doubt whatsoever that some vegetation helps fish, their fry and forage species survive the spawn and grow bigger.

Chickamauga reportedly is turning on pretty well, too. If you’re not familiar with it, Chick is in Chattanooga and is the lake above Nickajack in the Tennessee River chain. Vegetation is returning to Chick, as well, including coontail. Word is anglers have been catching some decent bass working a Spook or topwaters over the coontail and swimming a jig through or over it.

But the deep bite on Guntersville is the ticket right now. It’s red hot. Typical for summer, of course, with bass and forage species – mostly shad – ganged up on channel ledge drops, points and humps anywhere from 12-20 feet (or more). Sometimes they move around a bit and you have to locate them. Other times, there’s a sweet spot of hard bottom – maybe with mussel shells – where they stay. If TVA is generating water through the dam, the current helps pinpoint the fish and get them to feed a little better.

Hadley Coan and I fished recently in The Orthopaedic Center’s 11th annual “Coaches Kickin’ Bass” big bass tournament on Guntersville. The four-hour derby is part of the TOC’s bigger tournament a day later and this year they had almost 200 coaches and trainers from more than 31 high schools and colleges. The tournament is a big “thank you” event to them from the TOC staff and it’s a fantastic event.

Coan and I didn’t catch anything big, probably a 4.75-pounder was our biggest. We didn’t even weigh ’em in because if you don’t have a 6-plus or 7-pounder, you might as well not come to the scale. But we had a good time catching some solid chunks.

Coan was on fire with a Strike King football jig and Rage Craw chunk, dragging it slowly with an occasional small hop. He caught spots and largemouths. I was throwing a Strike King 6XD in Tennessee Shad and digging a trench with it. The 6XD gets deep in a hurry thanks to a specially-designed lip. Word is Strike King may have some new “XD” toys to introduce in a few weeks at ICAST, the annual fishing trade show.

I love catching crankbait bass, whether it’s on a small one or large deep-diving bait. They just mimic forage so well and, if put in the right area, typically result in a bite. It’s fun to be churning a bait along, feeling it bump the bottom and then it just goes mushy. Or you get that definite “whomp!” Or you stop the retrieve for a second after bumping a stump or coming off a break and a fish demolishes it.

My rod of choice lately is one from Crowder Rods, a 7-foot fiberglass rod combined with a Revo SX reel and 10-pound Vicious Fluorocarbon. It’s a good combo, light and agile, and will fling a big crankbait a long way.

If you’re into deep summer fishing, there’s no better time to do it and Guntersville, Pickwick or Chickamauga might just be the place.

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