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.


World-Class Highliner Takes Sport To New Heights In Chattanooga

Local world-class highliner Edward Yates will rig lines of great heights on the Tennessee Aquarium peaks and then walk across them as a unique feature of RiverRocks 2014. “I have always loved the Tennessee Aquarium and this has been a dream of mine for my life,” said Mr. Yates. “There has never been an urban highline event like this before. The symmetry of the Aquarium’s ... (click for more)

Star Party At Cloudland Canyon Park Is Nov. 1

The Barnard Astronomical Society is conducting Star Party at Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event  is hosted by Friends of the Park and Cloudland Canyon Park Staff. The first part of the program will be at the Canyon overlook, near the Interpretative Center, beginning at 4 p.m., where there will be at least 1 telescope for solar observations. ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)