Fish report: Warmer water heats up the bass bite – 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: Day by day, figuring out where fish might be is sporadic. Even though we’ve had above-average temperatures, the bass are still fairly deep. I fished Saturday in Cheatham County. The bass were holding right at the edge of a huge creek channel close to deep water. I fished a long drawn-out point where bait fish could be ambushed. It’s encouraging to know the bass are feeding. I caught two nice keepers on a white lip-less crank bait. Visit MelsFishingTales.com.
• Brian Carper guide service on Percy Priest: The last several days have offered extremely warm temperatures, raising the lake temperature to near 60 degrees in some areas in the upper end. Down lake is between 48-50 degrees and clear. Although the temperature has risen dramatically, the bass bite seemed to be tough over the weekend. Down lake, Alabama rigs, shad-colored crank baits and top water lures have been successful near points, boulder rocks and wood off the main channel. Up lake, the water clarity is poor with less than a foot in the main channel. Smaller fish are being caught (upper lake) on crank baits, jigs and top water lures. If you’re thinking about fishing the upper end, try chartreuse-colored crank baits and spinner baits for the most success. The next seven days appear to continue with the warm temperatures. This should put the fish into a near spring-like pattern. The crappie have moved in 2-5 feet of water as well. Scattered lay-downs, stumps and brush piles are holding crappie and can be caught on minnows fished under a float or jigs on a 1/16-ounce jig head. Crappie Magnets with solid or brighter colors have been productive up lake, and more translucent colors have been productive down lake. For more information, check out www.briancarper.com.
• Paul Neighbours Jr. on Old Hickory: I fished three days in a row on the lake and came home with 56 catfish. If you have a boat, follow the seagulls. They know where the bait fish are, and under them are the cats. Try using a slip float, fishing 5 feet deep in 11-15 feet of water. The crappie are in there with them as well. These were all caught near the dam.
• Chris Snow on Center Hill: Fishing remains good especially up river. The water has warmed a few degrees, and the water is stained because of the recent rains. Crank baits, jigs and spinner baits are all working best right now. Walleye fishing is picking up some with a few being caught around the sand bar area. Trolling cats paws and silver buddies are the baits to use. For more information, contact Chris at snowspinbaits.com.
• Tim Tighe on the lower half of Cheatham Lake: As of Monday afternoon, Sycamore Creek is 49-50 degrees and the main lake is 48 degrees. Both are stained but not muddy. Visibility is 1-1.5 feet. I have been catching most of my fish on Strike King chrome with a black back Red Eye Shad. Ordinarily this time of year I would be using jerk baits, crank baits or swim baits, but the low visibility gives me less confidence in these tools since we are more dependent on sight due to very little sound generation. If the water clears up, these would be my baits of choice. The other important thing I learned this week is the importance of my electronics. Similar to the fall season, if I did not find shad and fish on my electronics, I caught very few fish. When I did find these concentrations, I did very well. Where these concentrations are depth-wise is also critical since the fish are not as active and won’t chase as well. When you figure the correct depth range, count your bait down to the proper depth and yo-yo it right through the middle of the school for best results. I also learned that the concentrations have moved slightly from day to day. It may have only been 300-400 yards, but if I had not noticed this on my electronics, I may have completely missed the bite. Currently the concentrations have been in the main creek channel, but this could change with the approaching warm temperatures.
• Ken Campsey on Percy Priest: After being off the water for some time due to unforeseen circumstances, I made my return by spending a day with Brian Carper. He taught this old dog some new tricks. We spent time on electronics and then fished. We had 11 bass, nine keepers and our best five weighed a total of 21.30 pounds. We fished Percy Priest, finding reasonably clear water temperatures in the mid-50s. Seemingly simple details such as speed and cadence of retrieve impacted our ability to catch fish. I was able to return to the lake a few days later and fish some different areas. While I did not duplicate our previous results, I was able to utilize the new information to put myself in a position to be productive.

• Joey Monteleone on the head waters of Percy Priest and a small pond: Surface water temperatures vary by day because of wind and warm weather rains. Bass are staged in sharp depth changes (3-7 feet) on points, off shore cover. Stationary objects are holding bigger fish along with deeper bottom contours, structure, points, creek channels and ledges. Fish are chasing schools of bait fish and bass are biting on a basic pattern of spinners, crank baits and jigs or soft plastics. Crawfish colors and neutral patterns for jigs and soft plastics, half-ounce jigs trailed by Rage Craws, suspending jerk baits in lighter color patterns (clown or sexy shad, gold black back) are catching bass also. Catfish are biting night crawlers in creek channels and deeper drop-offs. Crappie are active and hitting soft plastics in shallower spots 10 feet and less. Water color is clear to slightly murky and higher levels from recent rains. Surface waters for the most part in the high 40s and in some places the 50s due to warmer weather, rain and winds. Typical of winter, the afternoon bite seems to be better. The next major moon phase is new Jan. 27.

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