During first week of September, many Northeast Tennessee bass anglers are looking forward to the best bass fishing of the year. And it probably won’t get under way for another month.
In the meantime, area TVA reservoirs will be holding onto their summer heat for a while longer.
Rex Pendergrass at Watson’s Marine in Bluff City reported that Justin Mayle and Matthew Hobbs won the last Watson’s night tournament on Watauga Reservoir this past Saturday with five fish at 18.23 pounds.
“Spinnerbaits and jigs was about everything I heard,” said Pendergrass, who is dreaming of October and November.
“The night spinnerbait bite only gets better from here on out. That fall spinnerbait bite at night, that’s one of my favorite things to do. Those are some of the most brutal strikes you’ll get all year. It’s insanity,” he said.
While spinnerbaits and jigs ruled the leaderboard, Pendergrass got into a couple of bruisers just before dark on deep-diving crankbaits in the 15-20 foot range. That bite hasn’t entirely faded yet.
On the fly fishing beat, Clint Lensgraf at Mahoney’s Sportsmans Paradise in Johnson City reports that the Watauga and South Holston tailwater rivers have been fishable “at least part of the time” this week.
“They had been leaving it on in the morning for a while, which gave you until mid to late afternoon to fish wading. But the TVA has been running both quite a bit for the last couple of days,” Lensgraf said.
Midges have been productive patterns on both rivers. A Rusty Brown Zebra Midge has been fishing nicely, as have smaller Pheasant Tail and Split Case nymphs in Sizes 18-20.
“For whatever reason, a Flash Back Pheasant Tail on a curved shank hook has been pretty good lately. That’s on both rivers,” he said. “I think the curve might make the nymph look more like it’s swimming.”
Water levels have decreased a bit on the mountain trout streams, but water levels are still above-average for early September — more like a mid to late spring flow.
Get out there. It’ll be good. Throw something yellow.
Or a terrestrial pattern, like an ant, beetle, or even a little pink or green inchworm, Lensgraf suggested.
Austin Wilson at Lake View Dock on South Holston Lake reports that daytime trolling anglers have put away the lead core line and are sticking with the downriggers.
“The last I heard, they were catching rainbows at 90 to 100 feet,” said Wilson.
“Some guys like a little crankbait — something like a Shad Rap — behind the downrigger. There are others who like the spoons.”
The preferred crankbaits have been shad colored with purple highlights — which apparently more closely resembles an alewife.
There has been at least one angler (originating from the Douglas Lake area) who has enjoyed some success trolling for walleye in the daytime. But nobody knows how he’s doing it.
“He doesn’t want to give out his secrets,” Wilson said.
George Thwaites is a Sports and Outdoors Writer for the Kingsport Times-News. E-mail trophy fish photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KTNSptsThwaites.