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.


Elk Hunt Winners, Commercial Fishing Proposals Made At August TFWC Meeting

The participants in Tennessee’s 2016 elk hunt were announced at the August meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission which concluded Friday. The TFWC was also presented a preview of next year’s 2016-17 proposed commercial fishing regulations, and update on recommendations for cervid deer carcass importations as they pertain to states with chronic wasting disease.   ... (click for more)

Master Gardeners Of Hamilton County Offer Free Class Saturday

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, add to their outreach programs with free monthly gardening classes open to the public.  The topic will be “Rain Gardens” presented by master gardener Mike Payne on Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon.  MGHC classes take place at the UT Extension, Agricultural Service Center, 6183 ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Orders Walker County To Pay Erlanger $8,705,000, Plus Interest; Question Of Attorney Fees And Expenses To Go To Jury

Federal Judge Harold Murphy, in a 63-page ruling handed down Tuesday, ordered Walker County, Ga., to pay the Erlanger Health System $8,705,000, plus interest, on the Hutcheson Hospital debt. Judge Murphy, of Rome, Ga., said the question of attorney fees and expenses owed Erlanger by Walker County should be decided by a jury trial. Walker County and Catoosa County earlier agreed ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

Problems With The Proposed Apartments In Lookout Valley

I am deeply troubled at the way in which this proposal has been handled. The blatant disregard for the residents of Kelly's Ferry Road and the wishes of the Lookout Valley Area Plan (which was adopted by the city in 2003) by Chip Henderson and Tommy Austin amazes me. Yes, there was a meeting of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood association in August, but it wasn't on its normal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)