Scenic City Fishing Charters announces an expansion of its services with eight fully-licensed guides to serve anglers who want to explore the bounties of the Tennessee River in the Chattanooga area.
In business since 2006, Scenic City Fishing Charters provides guided trips fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trophy catfish, crappie, walleye, yellow perch and other species.
Officials said, "Chickamauga Lake has been pronounced one of the best bass fishing lakes in the United States in recent years, thanks largely to an aggressive Florida largemouth bass stocking program by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Three Scenic City Fishing guides – Capt. Ben Hayes, Capt. Chris Peters and Capt. Hensley Powell – all specialize in largemouth bass trips.
"The Tennessee River has also always been known as a 'catfish factory,' producing blue catfish that average between five and 10 pounds, with catfish of 50-pounds and up always a possibility. Four Scenic City Fishing guides – Capt. Richard Simms, Capt. Sam Simons, Capt. Joe Jellison and Capt. Ty Konkle - specialize in catfishing.
"The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has also conducted an aggressive walleye stocking program on the Tennessee River in recent years and Capt. Scott Lillie specializes in putting those tasty fish in the livewell.
Besides a state guide license, all fishing guides who operate on navigable waters in the United States are required to hold a U.S. Coast Guard Captain's License. It is a very arduous and expensive process. Scenic City Fishing Charters is one of the few guide services in the Southeast region with eight fully-licensed guides available, making it one of the largest, fully-licensed, professional fishing operations in the State of Tennessee."
About the captains:
Born in Chattanooga, Capt. Simms began his career in conservation as a game warden for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before becoming a wildlife photographer and public relations officer for TWRA. Along came children and the desire to come back to Chattanooga, leading to a second career as a professional broadcast news journalist for a Chattanooga television station and freelance outdoor writer. Capt. Simms created Scenic City Fishing Charters in 2006, guiding part-time in the beginning. He gave up his television career in 2014 devoting himself to the guide business full-time. "Scenic City Fishing Charters truly is a labor of love for me," said Capt. Simms. "Chattanooga city and business leaders have done an awesome job developing our riverfront. But our desire is to get folks off of dry land and out onto the water. It is one thing to see giant fish in the Tennessee Aquarium. It is another experience altogether to see one on the end of your line."
Capt. Ben Hayes is the primary traditional bass guide (using artificial lures) for Scenic City Fishing Charters. He caught his first bass when he was six years old. Chickamauga has been his home lake for nearly thirty years and he says it has been very exciting to see it grow into one of the finest bass lakes in the country. Capt. Hayes loves to help others catch the big bass, guiding all abilities of fishermen... from Mom's and Dad's taking their young children on their first bass fishing trip, to seasoned tournament anglers.
Capt. Simons is a teacher, guiding part-time when he's not in the classroom. His peers in education circles call him "The Fishing Teacher." He and Capt. Simms became friends in 2009 when they teamed up for one of Capt. Simons' student outings, rewarding top performing students with a fishing trip. Soon afterwards Capt. Simons decided guiding was the perfect way to spend his days away from the classroom "educating" others about the bountiful fishing opportunities on the Tennessee River.
Captain Ty Konkle is perhaps the best trophy catfish guide for Scenic City Fishing Charters with what often seems to be an uncanny ability to find river monsters. He considers himself "a student of all things catfish." He even keeps a huge aquarium stocked with Blue and Flathead Catfish in his home. He loves catching numbers and is certainly good at it, but given the choice he likes to "go big or go home." He says that's why the phrase, "It's called fishing, not catching!” is sometimes true.
Capt. Joe Jellison actually started out as a client of Scenic City Fishing Charters. Now the student has become the teacher. Like Capt. Simons, Capt. Jellison is a teacher, guiding part-time, fulltime during the summer and during other breaks from the classroom. His catfishing exploits are known far and wide thanks to his incredibly popular YouTube Channel called Chatt Cats Fishing with more than 116,000 subscribers, garnering national, if not worldwide notoriety.
Capt. Chris Peters runs traditional largemouth bass trips on Chickamauga Lake. When he's not on the water chasing bass, Capt. Peters serves his community battling blazes as a fulltime firefighter. Capt. Peters grew up on Chickamauga Lake where he cut his teeth as a young tournament angler fishing local tournaments. He has consistently placed high on the leader board of Chattanooga Bass Association Tournament Trail and other tournament trails along the Tennessee River System.
Capt. Scott Lillie gets in on the Spring crappie action, but he really specializes in trolling techniques using downriggers, planer boards, and directional divers. He catches a wide variety of fish including walleye, trout, yellow perch and bass on when and where he is fishing. Lillie cut his teeth learning to troll for trout and salmon on the Great Lakes. He grew to love the very specialized trolling techniques and has transferred his skills to Tennessee. He says, “These tools allow us to present our baits in water that is impossible to fish using traditional techniques.” Lillie can carry up to three anglers targeting a variety of fish. Sit back in his roomy Tracker Pro Guide 175, relax and enjoy a unique fishing trip with Capt. Lillie.
The newest member of the Scenic City Fishing team, Capt. Hensley Powell, is long-time tournament angler locally and nationally, having fished in 35 FLW/MLF tournaments with one championship and seven Top 10 finishes. He lives in Whitwell, Tenn. just over the mountain from his home water of Chickamauga Lake. He is typically on the water at least three days a week. He specializes in bass fishing but says he is also looking forward to running some crappie fishing trips in winter and early spring. He is also willing to do "Electronics Training Trips." Currently Capt. Powell guides primarily Friday - Sunday. He fishes out of a Phoenix bass boat and is sponsored by several companies including Mercury, Lowrance, Power Pole, Cashion Rods and several other major manufacturers.
"Visit the Scenic City Fishing Charters web page at www.ScenicCityFishing.com to learn more about its services and guides. Be sure to check out our extensive, up-to-date photo galleries where every photo is specifically dated so you know exactly what their clients are catching and when," officials said.