Chattanooga Fishing Report - Sept. 22

Monday, September 23, 2013 - by Ted Wells
- photo by Ted Wells
Seasonal Autumnal Greeting.
The discerning reader will note that we have not been fishing for a couple of weeks.  The reason is that we are being worked to death.  I did get out there that last weekend in August and got myself sunburned and caught two small catfish who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What I had done was put in at Sullivan's Landing around 10 am, then motored all the way up to my usual spot, several miles up just below Raccoon Mountain, about 30-yards off a mimosa tree.
  It is well past 250 feet deep there.  I don't remember how I found it, but I did, and there I have caught many, many fish, some bigger than the boat.  I got there with a trolling motor.  The trip upriver was certainly pleasant, beautiful, gorgeous, and all, and then I fished, immediately caught the two little cats, and then I sat there for a while just enjoying being there.  I was worried about how long the battery would hold up, so I headed back down the river about 4pm.  Things were going fine for about 75% of the way, and then I heard the motor change tunes.  It never completely stopped, but I did use the paddle to help it out a lot, and I was glad I was going down river.  Lesson: Never fish downstream of where you need to end up!  Things happen.
It is a reasonable question to ask why I would put in at Sullivan's when I intended to fish within 75 yards of the boat ramp at TVA Raccoon Mountain, especially since I happen to live on top of that mountain.  The reason is because of construction, there is no parking at the TVA boat ramp.  They tell me they will be done this fall.  I thought it was fall already.  Whatever, I am not going to make an issue of it.
Today being a Sunday, I thought I would try the Raccoon Mountain ramp again, and there was room to park, so I put in there.  I have made minor modifications to the boat to try and make it easier to recover the boat without getting wet, and today all that went better.  Not perfect, but better.
The weather was wondrous, the sky was blue, and within 20-minutes of putting in and anchoring, my 9-foot Silstar bent double--I mean something hit it hard.  I was slow getting the rod out of the rod holder (a new addition, by the way), and the fish got off after 5 or 6 cranks.  I decided the treble hook was too small and changed it for a larger stainless steel one.  For provisions I had brought only pistachios, and found I was lacking in that area.
The current was pretty swift, probably due to yesterday's rains, and because my boat is kind of low in the water, I kept the knife out in case I needed to sever the anchor line.  It was  another wonderful day to be on the water.  The little homemade boat continues to earn it's keep, and I have learned to wash it down after every fishing trip to keep it from stinking.  I admit I was a bit intimidated by the idea of putting in a drain plug, because the low part of the boat is in the center.  So I didn't put one in.   What I do instead is use a big sponge to get the rinse water out of the boat and then I put a fan on it.  The first time I took it out I didn't clean it up and I noticed it was drawing flies--not good.
About a week ago, I received my official TRWA registration!  I have not put the numbers on the boat yet, but I've got them. 
A couple days before that I got a large envelope with a bunch of funny stamps on it from New Zealand with the plans for the next boat inside.  At first glance they were intimidating, but then I started looking at them frame by frame....there are five frames which make up the skeleton of the boat, and the rest is a lot of work, but not hard to figure out.  This boat will weigh about 200# and have a hauling capacity of 1500#.  Looking forward to doing this one.  Hopefully I will measure more and cut less.  It will also be fast and fun!  I may try and do one or two of the frames before December, but intend to build it in January. 
For every day you fish, you extend your life by a day.  Maybe with the right boat, I will live forever.
Until next time,
Tight Lines.
Ted R. Wells
- Photo2 by Ted Wells

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