Fishing report: Bass are striking cranks, jerks and jigs – 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: I traveled upstream from Cleese’s Ferry and had a great weekend of fishing. I believe this season will be abundant. The water fell two degrees due to the cold snap. The river was 48 degrees and the bass were holding in deeper water. They were hitting motionless jerk bait. I caught a beautiful five-pounder and three keeper river bass. Remember to adjust your presentation and lure. Visit melsfishingtales.com.

• Brian Carper guide service on Percy Priest: The last week on Percy Priest has been very productive. The bass have been biting up-lake in the river off the mud flats around wood. Crank baits, rattle traps, and top water lures have been successful. Down-lake has been productive when you can get into the right pattern. However, it can be a very slow day until you find the bass on the lower end. Alabama rigs and jerk baits have been the ticket. The crappie have been biting well between Fate Sanders and Jefferson Pike Bridge. Fishing brush piles in 10-16 feet of water, stumps, brush piles off the mud flats are effective. Casting Crappie Magnets in chartreuse and clear or tight-lining minnows 2-3 feet off the bottom has been effective. Lastly, the hybrid fishing has been phenomenal. Both trolling and casting plastic shad baits has produced quantity and quality fish in the 5-15 pound range. These hybrid have been suspended in 10-20 feet of water mid-lake. For more information visit www.briancarper.com.

• Chris Snow on Center Hill: The lake has been rising all week. Steady rains have colored up the water. Some good fish are being caught using crank baits and jigs along creek channel banks. The spotted bass are being caught on the lower end of the lake using small finesse jigs and the shakey head worm. Walleye fishing has slowed some, but a few are being caught trolling cats paws in the upper portion of the lake. For more information contact Chris at snowspinbaits.com

• Ken Campsey on Percy Priest: I continue to find a variety of fish in the middle of the lake area. My best fish last time out hit a jerk bait on a main lake point. I like the Rogue jerk baits in the chrome with black back and orange throat. Still catching fish on the shakey heads, though the quality dropped off some on this last trip. Water temperatures remain in the high 40s to low 50s. Water clarity is good. Just a quick reminder licenses and boat registration will expire soon. Check yours and insure you are up to date before heading to the water.

• Tim Tighe on the lower half of Cheatham Lake: As of Monday afternoon, Sycamore Creek is 46 degrees as is the main lake. Both are slightly stained in the main channel, but not muddy. Visibility is two feet near the shoreline, which is better than I have seen it for at least a month. The Harpeth River is also much better in relation to clarity, but a few degrees cooler especially as you go further up into it. The only thing that has changed in the last week is slightly lower water temperatures due to the recent cold front and slightly better clarity. I have been catching most of my fish on Strike King chrome with a black back Red Eye Shad and with the clearer water, jerk baits and crank baits. I have caught a few flipping a jig, but most of the bait fish and fish are in the channels in the creeks and the main lake. I do not anticipate this changing until the water temperature rises above 50 degrees. If you are fishing ponds or small bodies of water this is not as important because they have limited choices. Cheatham Lake is 67 miles long with another 37 miles of river and creeks so we have close to 100 miles of fishable water. If we do not become proficient at finding them first and just start blind casting we will have many fruitless hours on this body of water. 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 and location-wise is very critical since the fish are not as active and won’t chase as well and it is rare that they are in the exact same location on a daily basis. It may have only been a short distance, 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. We have talked on numerous occasions about the variability in this body of water and it appears significant rain is coming this way, which could change numerous key factors. The fish must adjust and we must adjust with them to achieve success.

• Joey Monteleone on the headwaters at Percy Priest: Surface water temperatures are stable, but can change with a strong dose of wind and unpredictable weather. Bass are being found in channels and secondary bottom contours and depth changes on points, just off flats and off shore objects.  Fish remain scattered. Crappie, catfish and bass are all feeding, with the afternoon bite being better. Bass are on basic patterns and crankbaits and finesse jigs or soft plastics are producing best. The smaller finesse jigs and 4-5 inch finesse worms are drawing strikes consistently with crawfish colors and neutral patterns drawing the majority of the clear water strikes. Medium running square-bill crank baits in shad patterns are hot for bass in 4-10 feet of water. Suspending jerk baits in lighter color patterns are also a good choice under winter conditions. Catfish are biting night crawlers and commercial bait in and around creek channels and deeper drop-offs. Crappie are active. Water color is mostly clear to slightly murky. Surface waters are in a constant state of flux in the 40s in some spots and the 50s in others. At this time of year generally the afternoon bite is better. The next major moon phase is full Saturday.

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