First Paddlefish Catch Becomes State Record For Hawkins County Resident

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gene Armstrong decided to try paddlefish angling for the first time on Cherokee Lake. Little did the Hawkins County native know his first catch of the species would etch his name into the Tennessee State Anglers Record Book.

Mr. Armstrong landed what the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has certified a Class A (Sport Fishing Method) state record 95-pound paddlefish. It measured 69.6 inches in length.

The 20-year old Mr. Armstrong decided to go out for a Saturday evening fishing trip on April 12 at the Horseshoe Bend section of the lake. He was set for some bank fish fishing, not too far from his home in the Church Hill community.

The outing began on a good note as he quickly caught a pair of hybrid striped bass. His good start propelled him to make the effort to give catching a paddlefish a shot.

“I had never fished for a paddlefish, so I thought it was a good time to give it a try,” Mr. Armstrong said. “I did not know what to expect, but certainly it turned out well.”

Fishing in what Mr. Armstrong estimated to be 60-70 feet of water, he used a three-prong treble hook on a 20-pound test line. He quickly got some contact and what began was an approximately 45-minute ordeal as he worked to land what proved to be his trophy fish.

“The pole was bent over pretty good,” Mr. Armstrong said. “There was a time when I thought it was going to break, but luckily it didn’t.”

Mr. Armstrong got the fish on the bank at around 5:30 p.m. Several other fishermen were in the area, and ironically, one was the angler who was the record holder prior to Mr. Armstrong. Stephen Criss was the holder of the record, with his catch of 81 pounds, 12 ounces on March 4, 2012. It was Mr. Criss who suggested they weigh the fish. After it was weighed, the process began to getting the catch certified as the new state record.

Mr. Armstrong had the fish weighed on a certified scale at the Hawkins County Farmers Co-Op in Rogersville. Bart Carter, Region IV TWRA fisheries coordinator, inspected the fish and the submission was made to the TWRA Fisheries Division in Nashville.

The paddlefish is the second largest fish caught for the Class A section of the record book. Only a blue catfish weighing 112 pounds caught at Lock C on the Cumberland River by Robert F. Lewis stands larger.

The Class B paddlefish record is 120 pounds held by John T. Johnson. It came on the Blue Hole section of Center Hill Lake in 1982. Class B includes those methods other than rod and reel.

Criteria to be considered for a state record fish can be found in the 2014 Tennessee Fishing Guide. The guide is available at hunting and fishing agents, TWRA regional offices, or online at the TWRA website, tnwildlife.org.


TFWC Updated On Chronic Wasting Disease, Boating Statistics, Endangered Species, And Budget Process

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard updates on chronic wasting disease (CWD), Tennessee’s In Need of Management, Threatened, and Endangered Wildlife Listing, boating statistics, and budget process during its July meeting. The two-day session concluded Friday and was held at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Chuck Yoest, assistant ... (click for more)

TVA Finalizes Environmental Reviews Of Proposed Reservoir Land Management Plans

The Tennessee Valley Authority has released the final Environmental Impact Statement for reservoir land management plans for eight TVA reservoirs in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee:  Chickamauga, Fort Loudoun, Great Falls, Kentucky, Nickajack, Normandy, Wheeler, and Wilson. "The plans are an important part of how TVA manages its public lands, and will help ensure a long-term, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Considering Property Tax Increase Of Just Under 10 Cents

Soddy Daisy officials are considering a property tax increase of just under 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.   A possible vote on the increase is set for the next meeting of the Soddy Daisy Commission on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m.   The current tax rate is 1.3524, but the new certified rate after the recent reappraisal is 1.2559.   ... (click for more)

Police Find Large Cache Of Meth, $23,134 Cash On Hensley At Motel Near Hamilton Place; Police Say He Was Supplier To Rossville Man Who Died In June 29 Overdose

Chattanooga Police said they found Michael Wade Hensley with a large cache of meth, a loaded handgun and $23,134 cash after being summoned to a motel near Hamilton Place Mall last Wednesday. Police said they believe that Hensley, 41, was the supplier for a 36-year-old Rossville man who died of an overdose on June 29. Hensley is now facing federal charges of possession of meth ... (click for more)

Can Franks Road Be Next? - Councilman Ledford Says Yes It Can

It was great to hear that something is finally getting done about Northpoint Boulevard. Now, Mr. Ledford, can we please do something about getting Franks Road fixed? Mickey Spence * * * Yes, Franks Road can be next. Since day one on the job, I have focused on roads in District 4 that need immediate attention. I am happy to report that working together with Mayor ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chik-fil-A Commits To East Ridge And Camp Jordan Development

In less than three weeks after a plan that could enhance Camp Jordan in East Ridge was announced, it has been learned that a Chik-fil-A restaurant will break ground at Jordan Crossing this fall. While developers John Healy, Matt Woods and Ethan Woods cannot make a public comment, the news is every bit as profound as James Earl Jones saying, “If you build it, they will come,” in ... (click for more)