Topwater Time On The Tennessee

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - by Scott Fiedler
Chilly autumn mornings and vibrant foliage mark a magical season for sports enthusiasts across the Valley.  And for a Tennessee River angler, a school of shallow-running shad can be as exhilarating as a throwing a Hail Mary pass into an end zone. In each case, there’s a potential for a big score.

Yes, it’s topwater time on the Tennessee—the wonderful fish-slamming window where amateur and professional anglers can dance topwater lures across the surface to take advantage of bass feeding frenzies.

The phenomenon occurs each year as cooler temperatures force baitfish into the shallows where the water is warmer.
As gizzard shad and other minnows rise to the surface, hungry bass follow, ready to ambush their prey. 

“Things are looking up, literally!” John Justice, TVA Fisheries biologist, says. “When forage fish congregate and move up, predator fish come with them. The whole migration pattern congregates fish into a smaller area, and that makes them easier to catch.”

Club tournament veteran, Clay Deason, of Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee is getting in on the action. Deason says the first sign of the strong topwater bite came with a two-day cold snap as TVA lowered water levels to prepare for rain dumped by September’s Hurricane Florence. 

Today, however, the massive strike is consistent. Deason says it’s hard to predict how long the fishing field days will last, but he’s sure it will be “game over” once water temperatures fall into the mid to low 50s—or at least until spring.

“Bass are gorging themselves right now and putting fat on for the winter. A bass’ metabolism slows way down in the colder months, and they’ll go days sometimes without eating,” he says. “Right now they’re really aggressive and fun to catch on topwater. I’m having a ball!” 

Bethel University angler and 2018 National Bassmaster Champ, Garrett Enders, believes it’s not just the shallow baitfish that make this period the easiest time for beginners and pros alike to catch monster bass.

“There are just not a whole lot of people out on the lake this time of year,” he says. “I guess everybody’s scratching the hunting itch.”

For those who do want to wet a line, Enders recommends his favorite topwater baits—the Evergreen Show Blower, Reaction Innovations Vixen, One Knocker Spook and the Whopper Plopper. For fishing a Tennessee River reservoir with grass or lily pads, a traditional frog is always a tool in Enders’ tournament-winning arsenal.

According to TVA, the region’s reservoirs attract visitors from around the world, generating about $12 billion to the Tennessee Valley—including angler on the hunt for big bass prey.

2018-19 Gun Hunting Season For Deer Opens Nov. 17

Tennessee State Parks Host Free Hikes The Day After Thanksgiving

Waterfowl Season Opens In Georgia On Nov. 17


Tennessee’s 2018-19 gun hunting season for deer opens Saturday, Nov. 17. Deer gun season has the traditional opening date of the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. During gun season, sportsmen ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at all 56 state parks the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23. “Tennessee’s state parks are once again offering the opportunity to get outdoors ... (click for more)

With waterfowl hunting season opening Saturday, Nov. 17, duck and goose hunters across Georgia should find similar wetland conditions to last year, according to experts with the Georgia Department ... (click for more)


Outdoors

2018-19 Gun Hunting Season For Deer Opens Nov. 17

Tennessee’s 2018-19 gun hunting season for deer opens Saturday, Nov. 17. Deer gun season has the traditional opening date of the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. During gun season, sportsmen may also use muzzleloader or archery equipment. The season will continue through Jan. 6, 2019. The second Young Sportsman Hunt is Jan. 12-13. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969 is ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks Host Free Hikes The Day After Thanksgiving

Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at all 56 state parks the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23. “Tennessee’s state parks are once again offering the opportunity to get outdoors the day after Thanksgiving to engage in healthy, fun activities,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “It’s a chance to explore ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Longtime CARTA Board Chairman Steve Jett Steps Down

After 38 years of service to CARTA, longtime board chairman Steve Jett said Thursday it was time to step aside in favor of young leadership. Vice Chairman John Bilderback, who is director of data and quality at Signal Centers, will step up to chairman. Mr. Jett was appointed to the board of the transit agency in 1980 by Mayor Pat Rose. He submitted his resignation to Mayor ... (click for more)

Man Injured Early Thursday Morning When Tree Falls On House

A man was injured early Thursday morning when a tree fell on his house. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around 3:30 a.m. and responded to 7317 Elaine Circle with several fire companies. Battalion Chief David Thompson Jr. said the department's Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) was requested in case a rescue was needed, but the entire family, including two ... (click for more)

Opinion

County Commissioners, Stop Pandering And Lead - And Response

There is no shortage of public need in Hamilton County, and only a limited amount of revenue and capital bond issues. I cannot admire or appreciate an elected Hamilton County Commission that leads by warm and fuzzy kitty emotions over real and tangible needs. As Commissioner Tim Boyd correctly stated, there is immediate and emergent need for police and fire training facilities. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Lamar Rants

Being a child of the South, I’ve marveled at our funny sayings for all of my life. I’ve been at a football game and heard a disgruntled fan in the stands say of his team’s quarterback, “That boy couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.” I’ve been at the Sunday supper table and heard, “I’m of a mind each one of his sermons is better than the next.” And I’ve sat in a Saturday morning ... (click for more)