Fish report: Look for bass chasing bait fish – The Tennessean

To report the most up-to-date information on fishing in the Midstate, The Tennessean has asked for contributions from several avid anglers. They will report on their latest trips as well as offer tips. To add a report, contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or morgan@tennessean.com.

• Melvin Stewart on the Cumberland River: Tuesday I had the opportunity to fish during above-average temperatures. After two days of heavy rains, the river is 2 feet above summer pool, muddy and 50 degrees. I traveled to Ashland City. Bass will naturally shift to clearer water in search of bait fish. I found the bass next to a bank where the water was less murky. In winter or summer, if there is no bait fish, move on. I caught two keeper bass using a slow retrieve on a white lipless crank bait. Visit MelsFishingTales.com.
• Paul Neighbours Jr. on Old Hickory Lake: I fished with Woody Tillery over the weekend in the Bluegrass area of Old Hickory Lake. The crappie are starting to move into the shallows. I also picked up five catfish in about 7 feet of water. All of my fish were caught on minnows. I’m still hearing stripers are being caught at the Gallatin Steam Plant along with tilapia and crappie.
• Brian Carper guide service on Percy Priest: The last seven days have offered some exciting fishing. The water temperature is now in the low to mid 50s at 4.5 feet below summer pool. The upper end of the lake is clear after the previous week’s rain and mid-lake is stained as the mud works down lake. The bass have finally been consistently active. Last Saturday and Sunday, dozens of bass including 3.5-pound largemouths were caught in the backs of creeks on top water lures. Alabama rigs, jerk baits, crank baits in craw pattern have been effective in 3-5 feet throughout the entire lake. Focus on primary and secondary points as well as boulder rocks. The crappie have been productive on the upper end of the lake near wood in 2-6 feet. Casting 1/16-ounce jigs and floats with live minnows have been successful. For more information check out www.briancarper.com
• Chris Snow on Center Hill: Fishing has remained steady for the past few days. Bass are being caught on crank baits, jigs and the Snow spinner in the new bluegill pattern. Water temperatures remain around 50 degrees and there is some good water color in the Falling Water River area. For more information contact Chris at snowspinbaits.com.

• Joey Monteleone on the headwaters of Percy Priest Lake, a small pond and a TWRA managed lake: Surface water temperatures vary by day. All species of fish remain active and continue to move and are feeding according to weather migrating toward winter. Crappie are close to deep cover around wood, large submerged trees and secondary objects. Offshore cover, downed trees, large rock and other stationary objects are holding bigger fish along with deeper bottom contours, structure, points, creek channels and ledges. Bass continue to hit the white skirted half-ounce single Willowleaf spinner baits especially in discolored waters. Heavier jigs (half ounce or more) in crawfish patterns Texas craw and darker shades in murky water, trailed by a soft plastic Rage Craw color No. 140 watermelon meat, a leadhead and baby Rage Tail craw in Bama craw color is producing in clear water situations. Also suspending jerk baits in light color patterns (clown or sexy shad, gold black back) are catching bass. Vary the retrieve with a series of twitch and long pause retrieves. Crappie and bluegill are hitting tubes and curly tail grubs using a slow steady return. Black/chartreuse, red/chartreuse and other bright color combinations on light line and 1/8-ounce leadheads are best. Catfish have been hitting extremely well on nightcrawlers, live shad, skip jack, chicken livers or commercial baits. Try a swivel on a 12-inch leader, 2-inch on weights and a circle hook (No. 3) tied to the end of the leader line, fished around heavy cover in lakes and river systems for channel, blue and flathead cats. The moon phase will be full moon on Jan. 13.

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