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Posted by jd on December 07, 2001 at 10:05:27:

Started out Thursday at Warrenton bridge with minnows trying to catch crappie. TVA was pulling too much water and current was too high under bridge. Thought I was going to head out into the fog and go to the river bridge, but ended up at Guntersville Boat Mart (opposite direction) and decided that was one of the stupidest things I had ever done on the water. At one point I had to turn off the boat and listen for cars. Then I got smart and trailered the boat and headed to G-ville dam.

My acquaintances that fish regularly said that Wednesday was a BIG day for stipe fishing "the wall" drifting crawley bottoms and shad. So I was a day late, how bad could it be? hehe I guess those that fish dams know that an hour can be the difference between daylight and dark. TVA had the turbines wide open so I was only able to net 3 crawley bottoms that washed up on top of the end of the wall. Since that water was so swift, I tried minnows and jigs around the rock pile at the sand bar and had no takers. Finally, TVA slowed down the water, but they were scheduled to stop generating in less than an hour. Due to boats already in "key spots" around the powerhouse, I could not be too selective in where I fished. As a hint, let me just say that I hooked one fish on 6 lb test line and spinning reel and after about a five minute struggle, the fish finally got to the other side of the wall out of the current where two other boats were sitting. I knew it would get in their lines if I did not pull and chase it back downstream. I had my rod as far out as I could reach at the end of the wall while the beast was stripping line and I was trying to untie the boat when it suddenly pulled loose. I am guessing it was a big striper, but like to dream about an 8 pound smallmouth. Some might say it was a big drum, but the way it was stripping line after 5 minutes, I doubt it! I had been bumping bottom earlier with crawley bottoms on a three way swivel with about a 3/4 ounce lead. I decided to drop the rig off the side of the boat (not on the bottom) while I was fishing the 1/8 ounce red jig with chartreuse tail tipped with a minnow - the same rig that had hooked the fish that sent me into orbit. Before you know it, the rod laying in the boat with the crawley bottom rig is bouncing and I pulled up a 3 pound smallmouth. I had let my other crawley bottoms die because I was not changing the water. I can't imagine how I got so distracted. :) These critters can be difficult to keep alive especially when you put them in a small bucket with 3 dozen minnows. With time running out, I was casting the small jig and forcing myself to have the patience to let it drop. It did not take long until a landed a sauger. Another bite or two in the next few minutes, and then as quick as it had started, it was over. TVA stopped generating and the sun came out at the same time. Straight from fishing heaven to fishing hell. That is the way it goes when fishing dams. One day is a feast, and the next day is a famine. And from hour to hour, you always gotta hope that it either changes, or stays the same. If only I could be in charge of the dam for a few days in the spring and fall ....

As for the tall tales... a man on the ramp when I was leaving said that he had caught 8-10 smallmouth using crawley bottoms. Also, I heard that last week many sauger were caught on the north side bank.

I wish I could tell more, but in my experience, it takes lots of timing/luck and perseverence when fishing below TVA dams. I grew up near g-ville dam and have fished there for 18 years. I have decided that TVA is like a women... can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em. They can make or break your day, and change in a flash with no warning.

Good luck!

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