Day two of our four day excursion started more than early, it started at 2:30 am on Wednesday, November 3. Bottom line is that we just didn’t get any sleep the night before because the day on Lake Lanier had been such a blast, its hard to come down from something like that.
We were looking at a four hour drive to meet our guide on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee at a launch that was more than a little difficult to find, especially in the dark. The target species for the day was to be small-mouth bass which neither “The Kid” nor I have ever caught.
We made it to the launch to find a 19 ft. bass boat waiting with our guide, launched the boat, fired up the big motor and headed for our first spot. Our guide supplied everything including rods and reels. It never occurred to my son or me while arranging the trip to ask whether or not the guide had any bait-casters in left hand retrieve.
Come to find out, he didn’t. Well, one more first for the trip, using a bait-caster with right hand retrieve. Up to this point, I have always used my own equipment which means that all my casting reels have left-hand retrieve. I am right handed and am much more comfortable setting the hook with my strong hand.
No matter, we started casting small buzz-baits to the shore. It didn’t take long at all, I had a blow up on my buzzer within a couple of minutes but missed the fish thanks to a spastic attempt at setting the hook with my left hand. Oh well, we were sure that we would get more chances and I would work on that hook set.
Unfortunately, the weather we had experienced in Georgia seemed to follow us up to Tennessee. It was cold, windy and there were some sprinkles. We tried several more spots without a single boil on the buzzers. At this point our guide decided to change up our approach and we started pitching soft plastics to rock banks. We were getting some bites and catching some small large-mouths but still couldn’t seem to find the key to getting the smallies to bite. We kept working at it but still didn’t get anything but large mouths, one small spot and our guide managed one six-inch smallie.
About one o’clock with our trip winding down, our guide announced that if we had the time he had another spot in mind that didn’t hold smallies but did tend to hold a lot of white bass. Since this was another species that neither my son or I had ever caught, we decided to take a chance at it and motored over to the cove. Approaching the long relatively narrow cove we saw schools of shad on the surface being herded and eaten by bass.
We changed lures to a small metal spoon called a gay blade and started casting both to the bank and through the schools of shad as they hit the surface. It didn’t take long for one of us to feel the first bite. These little white bass absolutely crushed the little blade baits when they hit. It was amazing how hard they hit and we all started catching fish.
All we did the rest of the day was leave the trolling motor on low and move in and out of that same cove as the bass were herding the shad. We lost count of the number of fish that we caught and had a great time. None of the white bass where extraordinarily large but they were aggressive, willing to bite and wound up being a couple of hours of non-stop action to end our trip to Tennessee.
Once again, the weather made it necessary to alter our original plans but having a good guide that had enough
knowledge of the water and the species available made for a great day and we still managed to catch a species of fish that we had never before caught.
We had a four hour drive back to Georgia and of course recounted the day on the way back. Once again, the lesson of the day was that you have to be willing to be a little bit adaptable and willing to make the changes that may sometimes be required to turn a slow day into a good day of fishing. Because in the final analysis, there will probably be many more opportunities for you to catch a specific species but you can’t let that pursuit spoil what could be a wonderful trip.